Feb 24, 2022

Hurting someone else is a Crime: What is the punishment?

In a case of gross negligence, twelve children were administered hand sanitiser drops instead of oral polio vaccine drops in a village in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. An inquiry is underway against three healthcare workers involved in the incident.


What recourse do patients have?


Under civil law, a patient can:

  • Complain to the State Medical Council/Medical Council of India, if the complaint is against a doctor.
  • File a case before a consumer court for deficiency in services against a doctor, healthcare worker or hospital in the District, State or National Consumer Commissions to receive compensation for the loss or injury suffered.
  • File a case before a civil court for damages.


Under criminal law, a patient can file a criminal complaint citing gross negligence or hurt, for invoking punishment against a doctor, healthcare worker or the person in charge at a hospital, in the form of imprisonment and fine. 


Anyone who causes the death of a person by doing any rash or negligent act can be punished with imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine. 


What are the different types of hurt punishable under criminal law?


Crime Punishment
Simple hurt – Intentionally/knowingly causing bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person.


Imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to Rupees one thousand.
Grievous hurt – Voluntarily causing:

  • Emasculation. 
  • Permanent deprivation of eyesight. 
  • Permanent deprivation of hearing. 
  • Deprivation of any member/joint.
  • Permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint. 
  • Permanent disfiguration of the head or face. 
  • Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth. 
  • Any hurt which endangers life or results severe bodily pain for twenty days.
Imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine.
Hurt using poison – Intentionally causing hurt by administering poison, or any intoxicating or unwholesome drug to any person. Imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine.
Grievous hurt using acid – Intentionally causing grievous hurt or deformity, or burning or disfiguring the body of a person, by throwing acid on that person.


Imprisonment for ten years up to life imprisonment, and a fine (paid to the victim).
Hurt to obstruct a public servant  – Intentionally hurting or preventing a public servant from discharging their duty. Imprisonment for up to three years and/or a fine.