HomeAmjad Khan v. The State (AIR 1952 SC 165)


A communal riot broke out between Sindhis and Muslims resulting in the loss of Muslim lives and even items in Muslim shops being scattered. The appellant attempted to close his shop due to the riot. However, a mob had already reached his brother’s shop which was adjacent to him and the brothers family came to his side of the shop to seek refuge. Due to this, the appellant got scared and fired two shots which resulted in the death of one Sindhi and injured three.


Whether there was any apprehension of death or grievous hurt?

Whether the force used was proportionate to the act which was apprehended?


Section 97 IPC, Section 102 IPC, Section 105 IPC.


The Court pointed out that Section 102 IPC holds that the right of private defence can be used the moment the apprehension begins, either from an attempt or a threat and it is not necessary that the harm or offence must have been committed. In this case, though the appellants shop was not looted, there was still a threat which caused apprehension as the mob had already reached the shop and several shops had been looted and lives lost due to the riot. As a result, the court held that the situation made it impossible for the appellant to inform public authorities. Thus, the Court held that the apprehension was reasonable.

Whether the force was proportionate to the danger apprehended?

The court held that the appellant had a private defence even to the extent of causing death. Since he had fired only two shots which killed only one person, the act of shooting was held to be proportionate to the danger apprehended.


Since the force used by the appellant was necessary given the circumstances, the Court held him not guilty and acquitted him.

68 Shantipally, Rajdanga Main Rd, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

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