ACCIDENT IN DOING A LAWFUL ACT :
Section 80 provides that 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. A is at work with a hatchet; the head files 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. The essential ingredients to constitute a justifiable plea ofaccident or misfortune are :
(1) that the act was done by accident or misfortune ;
(2) that it was done without any criminal intention ;
(3) that it was the doing of a lawful act ;
(4) in a lawful manner;
(5) by lawful means; and
(6) with proper care and caution.
If has been held that where two persons went out to shoot animals and agreed to take up certain position in the jungle and lie in wait, but after a while the accused heard a rustle and believing it to be an animal fired in that direction but the shot killed his companion, the Case was held to be one of pure accident, although the gun used was an unlicensed one. But where the accused was engaged in a fight in which a woman intervened, whereupon the accused aimed a blow at her, but it accidentally killed the infant she was carrying, it was held that the. case was not protected by the provisions of Section 80 as the assault on the woman was a wrongful act.
Section 511, lays down that “whoever attempts to commit an offence punishable by this Code with imprisonment for life or imprisonment, or to cause such an offence to be committed, and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offence, shall, where no express provision is made by this Code for the punishment of such attempt, be punished with imprisonment of any description provided for the offence, for a term which may extend to one-half of the imprisonment for life or, as the case may be, one-half of the longest term of imprisonment provided for that offence, with such fine as provided for the offence, or with both.
The points which require proof under the above section are
(1) that the accused attempted to commit some offence punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment; or that he attempted to cause such an offence to be committed ;
(2) that in attempting to do the above act he did some act towards the commission of the offence.
(a) A makes an attempt to steal some jewels by breaking open a box and finds after so opening the box, that there is no jewel in it. He has done an act towards the commission of theft, and therefore is guilty under the above section.
(b) A makes an attempt to pick the pocket of Z by thrusting his hand into Z’s pocket. A fails in the attempt in consequence z’s having nothing in his pocket. A is guilty of an offence under the above section.