An act without intention or an unexpected act can be called an Accident. It is a General Exception which exempts the accused from punishment in IPC. It is defined in Section 80 of the Code which reads thus: Nothing is an offence which is done by accident or misfortune, and without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with proper care and caution.
Thus the plea of Exception of Accident in IPC has to contain with the following ingredients:
  • The act happened as an accident or out of the control of the accused.
  • The act was not intented or happened without the knowledge of the accused.
  • The act was lawful and was doing in a lawful manner.
  • The act was done with proper care and caution.
It is clear that no amount of mens rea or guilty mind is presence in accident. Amount of negligence is to be separated from it.We can look at the illustration provided by IPC to the section. The illustration says thus: "A is at work with a hatchet; the head flies off and kills a man who is standing by. Here, if there was no want of proper caution on the part of A, his act is excusable and not an offence." Thus it is made clear by the illustration itself that if there was want of proper care and caution, his act will not be excused. If he does an illegal act by working with hatchet, then he could not claim the accident as a defence even though he had taken proper care and caution. The case is explained in a decision Jogeshwar v. Emperor where the accused was beating a person and the latter's wife with a child in his hand interfered and the child got a blow by accident and died. The accused in this case cannot take a plea of accident eventhough he had no intention to hit the child as he was doing an illegal act and the death of the child was connected with the illegal act.

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