The Right to Kill: The Case of the Battered Women

About the Author

Mr. Shreyas Gupta & Saurabh Misra
IInd Year Law Student,
Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat



The current law of self-defence within the definitions of the Indian Penal Code is so narrowly defined, that it fails to argue for the case of battered women, who have lost the basic integrity to function as an autonomous individual. The paper calls for a review of the doctrine of self-defence so as to extend it beyond the boundaries of mere physical harm. A need for change in the current regime is looked upon using the case of the battered women. The idea of psychological self-defence is introduced, explained and justification is sought for the same using constitutionality of the current law and the proposed law. The proposed psychological self-defence doctrine is given a thorough explanation and reference is drawn from common law jurisdictions that have positively identified the issue and amended their law respectively. The example of the battered women is used throughout the paper to exemplify the problem with the current self-defence law. It is used further to substantiate the need for a change within the current doctrine of self-defence.

Keywords: Self-defence, Battered Women, Psychological Self-defence, Constitutionality, Common law jurisdictions.


The area of Provocation Law, owing to the current judgements in the common law scenario, has evolved up to a level to include the idea of battered women, even though in such cases,                   a reasonable amount of time passes between the act/s of provocation and the actual commission of the crime. The basic difference lies in the fact that the Provocation in the case of battered women is not sudden and grave but is gradual and spread over a long period of time. The criminal act committed by the battered women is not the result of a sudden                      one-time provocative act done by the male counterpart. The provocation in such cases constitutes of a series of repeated attacks on her and escalated forms of mental, emotional and moreover physical torture and abuse.

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July 19, 2016

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