Section 44 of the Indian Penal Code 1860.
The word “injury” denotes any harm whatever illegally caused to any person, in body, mind, reputation or property.
An injury is simply an act contrary to law.1) The word ‘injury’ has been given a wide meaning in this section. The word injury includes any harm illegally caused to the property of any person and is not restricted to an injury to the person only. A false charge laid before the police against a person and never intended to be prosecuted in Court, may obviously subject the accused party to very substantial injury as defined in s. 44.
Where a person promises to speak favourably to a person in authority and to do his best to induce him to do something, and in consideration of this promise receives money, his act does not amount to causing ‘injury’, and the accused cannot therefore be charged of having practised extortion.
The offence of criminal intimidation would not be committed if the threat was to ruin a person by cases and not false cases because the harassment, although caused from an improper motive could not be caused illegally and as such would not bring the offender within the definition of ‘injury’.
The recourse to a civil Court cannot amount to causing an illegal harm.
A false charge laid before the police and never intended to be prosecuted in Court, may obviously subject the accused party to very substantial injury as defined in this section.
The term property means something in existence and that it cannot, with any propriety, be applied to the reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit for the loss of which an action is maintainable by the representation of a deceased person. In a case where the widow of a man who has been drowned by the criminal act of another, can be said to suffer an ‘injury’, the magistrate awarded compensation under the Criminal Procedure Code for the loss sustained by the wife through her husband’s death, it was held by the Madras High Court that compensation could not be awarded to her, and Shepherd, J. held as follows: “ If the claim of the widow in such a case is maintainable it must follow that the master of a servant, who has been disabled or put in wrongful confinement, may equally apply for compensation to be paid out of the fine inflicted on the offender. In my opinion it would be putting an undue strain on the language of the section to hold that it refers to and includes actions which may be brought on account of loss of service. ” But a contrary view has been held by the Chief Court of Punjab. The Calcutta High Court, however, in Morgain's case preferred to follow the dissentient judgment of Benson, J. in Yalla Gangulu's case.
Now, under s 357, CrPC compensation is payable to any person for any loss or injury caused by an offence, if it is recoverable by such person in civil court. And under cl (c) of the same section, when any person is convicted of any offence for having caused the death of any person or having abetted the omission of such an offence the compensation is payable not only to the widow but to all the persons who are, under the Fatal Accidents Act 1855, entitled to recover damages from the person sentenced 'for the loss resulting to them such death'.
Excommunication may, in some cases, give a cause of action for a civil suit, but not for a criminal case.