What is the scope of the maxim of Doli Incapax?
Aarushi 08 April 2022
The maxim of “Doli Incapax” literally means incapable of wrong. This maxim liberates the children from any kind of criminal liability by stating that the children are incapable of doing wrong. The Indian Law under Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) states that any child who is below the age of seven years does not understand the consequences of their actions and thus they are not responsible for it. This maxim eliminates the factor of mens rea, which is an essential for any criminal prosecution. This maxim also relates to the Section 83 of the IPC which says that a child who is between the age of seven to twelve is not responsible for an act which they have committed if they do not have sufficient maturity to understand the consequences of such act committed.
Shyam Bahadur Koeri v. State of Bihar
In this case, a seven-year-old child was found with a gold plate about which he had not informed anyone. The Court held that since the child was below the age of seven years, he was unaware of the consequences of his action and applying the maxim of doli incapax he was entitled to the benefit of Section 82, IPC.
Ulla Mahapatra v. The King
In this case, the child who was eleven years old, held a knife in his hand and advanced towards the victim saying that he would cut him into pieces. The Court held the kid liable for murder, because the way he proceeded with the act showed that he was aware of the consequences of his act. Section 83 of the IPC only provides a defence when the child is clueless about the grievous consequences of his act, but this case was different and hence the child convicted.