Section 337 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!
This section must be read in conjunction with sections 336 and 338 of the Code. The concept of rashness and negligence have been discussed in detail under the comments of section 304-A of the Code. Section 337 is attracted only when hurt is caused by doing a rash or negligent act which endangers human life or personal safety of others. Intention is absent under this section.
Where a bus driver suddenly applied brakes while driving and the bus collided with a pole, he was not held guilty under this section as no one was injured. Where a hakim performed an eye operation with an ordinary pair of scissors and stitched the wound by an ordinary needle and thread as a result of which the eye was almost permanently damaged, he was held guilty under this section.
Where the accused drove his lorry rashly or negligently causing an accident with a jeep as a result of which an occupant of the jeep was injured, the accused was held liable under this section. Similarly, where rash or negligent driving and failure to apply brakes in time by a bus driver resulted in two deaths and injuries to others, the driver was held guilty under sections 304-A and 337 of the Code.
Where a wife administered a love potion to her husband by mixing it in his food so that he would become more docile and would not quarrel with her, and the potion was prepared by her lover and a friend of his from dhatura seeds and she did not know about its contents, as a result of which the husband became ill but later recovered, the wife was held guilty under this section, the lover under section 307 read with section 109, and the lover’s friend under section 328 read with section 109 of the Code.
A car driver abruptly opened the car door and knocked down a cyclist, and a lorry coming from behind ran over him. It was held that the death being the direct result of the running over by the lorry, its driver alone could be convicted under section 304-A while the car driver, though somewhat negligent, could be convicted only under section 337 of the Code.
The offence under section 337 is cognizable, bailable and compoundable if permitted by the court trying the case, and is triable by any magistrate.