Section 318 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!
The section requires secret burial or disposal in any other manner of the dead body of a child. The child might die either before or during or after its birth, and this shows that time of its death is of no consequence. There must be intentional concealment or endeavour to conceal the birth of such child on the part of the offender.
The burden of proving a case under this section remains as usual on the prosecution. Where there was no evidence to show that the accused teenaged tribal girl was pregnant and delivered a child which was secretly disposed of, and pain in her private parts was also not established during a medical examination soon after the alleged delivery, this section could not be held to be attracted.
Where the dead body of a child was left in a public place this sections would not apply as this could not amount to secret disposal of the body. Similarly, where the accused gave birth to a child in a village jungle and soon after the birth it died and the accused left it there, this could not be held to be a secret disposal under this section. Delivering a dead child in the compound of her house by the accused mother and then leaving it there and telling no one about it is not an offence under this section.
The offence under section 318 is cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by court of session.
Sections 319 to 338 of the Code under the chapter dealing with offences affecting human body deal with defining hurt, grievous hurt, and voluntarily causing hurt or grievous hurt, and also with causing hurt or grievous hurt with a view to, or in course of, doing something.