Right of Self Defense | Section 34 to 44 of the BNS, 2023

Right of Self Defense

Right of Self Defense 

Every Person has a right of self defense against offences falling under theft, robbery, criminal trespass, mischief etc.

This right of self defense mainly against his own body, the body of another person, property etc.

Legal Provisions for Self Defense

The legal framework governing the right of self defense is provided by Sections 34 to 44 of the BNS.

Section 35 states that every person has the right to defend their body and property against any offense affecting the human body.

Section 44 extends this right to encompass the defense of others' bodies and properties.

These statutory provisions empowers the individuals to protect themselves and others.

Right of Private Defence of Body and of Property

The section 35 of BNS, 2023 talks about right of private defense which says that nothing is an offence when someone done in the exercise of the right of private defence.

The object of introducing this section in The Bharathiya Nyaya Sanhinta, 2023 to protect someone from criminal proceedings for the act done.

Section 35 of BNS, 2023

This section conferred right of private defence of body and of property.

The right of private defense is recognized and upheld in legal systems worldwide, including India, where it was earlier provided in Sections 96 to 106 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

This fundamental right allows individuals to protect themselves, their property, and others from unlawful aggression, thereby striking a balance between personal autonomy and societal order.

At its core, the right of private defense permits reasonable force to be used in response to imminent harm or threat to oneself, property, or others.

It serves to safeguard personal safety and security in situations demanding immediate action.

Conditions for the Exercise of the Self Defense

The exercise of the right of private defense is subject to specific conditions and constraints as delineated in the BNS.

Section 43 specifies that the right extends only to the use of necessary force to repel unlawful aggression.

This right starts as soon as reasonable apprehension of danger to the property commences and continues as long as such apprehension continues under given circumstances under this clause.

It mandates that any force employed must be proportionate to the perceived threat.

Supreme Court Judgment on Self Defense

The following important judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court which may held readers to understand self defense.

Responsibility towards Society

The right of self defence is not restricted to the particular person who is under attack. It extends to the society as a whole.

It is available to any member of the society who rises to the occasion. But it is wholly a social obligation without any legal overtones.

Case Reference : Kashi Ram v State of Rajasthan, (2008) 3 SCC 55

No Self Defense in Private Fight

Where both sides can be convicted for their individual acts, normally no right of self defense is available to either party and they will be guilty of their respective acts.

Where two parties come armed with determination to measure their strength and to settle a dispute by force and in the ensuing fight both sides receive injuries, no question of right of private defense arises. In such a case of free fight both parties are aggressors and none of them can claim right of private defense.

Case Reference : Amrik Singh v State of Punjab, 1993 Cr LJ 2857 :


In conclusion, the right of self defense is a crucial element of India's legal framework.

It ensures individuals can respond to threats within the boundaries of legality and reason. During police investigation individual should place all the evidences supporting his case.

As legal interpretations speaks about protecting individual rights and promoting a harmonious society where every person can live without fear of unlawful harm.

The law of arrest and bail clearly talks about the right to self defense of innocent person.