In Pakistan, Pakistan Penal Code is the major criminal law, which defines substantive offences and prescribes their respective punishments. This code also describes some specific circumstances in which crimes are though committed, yet offenders are exempted from punishments. In such circumstances, it is not intention or guilty mind, which constitutes crimes, but it is external force, which instigates mind to commit crimes.
In criminal Law, a settled principle is that no innocent should be punished even if thousand criminals escape. Here, explanation is that it is not just to punish someone who was controlled by a criminal as a puppet to do an illegal act. Like wise, there are certain circumstances, in which an apparent offender is exempted from major punishment or is entitled to just minor punishment. Such circumstances have been termed as General Exceptions in Pakistan Penal Code.
General Exceptions in the Light of Pakistan Penal code
In Pakistan Penal Code following are General Exceptions have been provided;
If an act is done by a person, who is bound by law to do it or who, by reason of mistake of fact and not by reason of mistake of law in good faith, believes himself/herself to be bound by law to do it, such act is not considered an offence.
(ii) Judicial Acts
Under Pakistan Penal Code, following General Exceptions have been provided in respect of judicial acts;
(a) Act of Judge
An act is not an offence, which is done by a judge when he/she acts judicially in exercise of any power which is given to him/her by law or which he/she believes in good faith to be given to him/her by law.
(b) Act Done Pursuant to Judgment or Order of Court
An act is not an offence, when it is done in pursuance of judgment or order of a court of Justice or which is warranted by judgment or order of a Court of Justice whilst such judgment or order remains in force.
(iii) Acts Justified By Law
An act is not an offence, when it is done by any person who is justified by law in doing it or who, by reason of a mistake of fact and not by reason of a mistake of law, believes in good faith himself/herself to be justified in doing it.
An act is not an offence, which is done by accident or misfortune, and which is done without any criminal intention or knowledge in doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with proper care and caution.
An act is not an offence, which is though done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause harm, yet it is done it is done without any criminal intention to cause harm, and in good faith for purpose of preventing or avoiding other harm to person or property.
An act is not an offence, which is done by a child under seven years of age.
(vii) Child’s Immaturity
An act is not an offence, which is done by a child, who is above seven years of age and under twelve years of age, and who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge nature and consequences of his/her conduct on that occasion.
An act is not an offence, which is done by a person who, at time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing nature of act or is incapable of knowing that he is ding what is either wrong or contrary to law.
Under Pakistan Penal Code, following General Exceptions have been provided in respect of intoxication,
(a) When intoxicated Person in Incapable of Judgment
An act is not an offence, which is done by a person who, at time of doing it, is, by reason of intoxication, is incapable of knowing nature of act or is incapable of knowing that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.
(b )When Intoxicated Person Does An Offence, which requires Particular Intent or Knowledge
In cases where an act done is not an offence unless done with a particular knowledge or intent, a person , who does the act in a state of intoxication, shall be liable to be dealt with as if he/she had the same knowledge as he/she would have had if he/she had not been intoxicated.
An act is not an offence, which is done with consent of victim or which is done for benefit of a person of twelve years age or a person of unsound mind through his/her guardian’s consent or which is done for benefit of a person without his/her consent.
Except murder and offences against State, which are punishable with death, an act is not offence; which is done by a person due to those threats, which cause apprehension of his/her death.
(xii) Private Defence
Pakistan Penal Code recognizes this principle that every person has right to defend his/her body and property. Therefore, private defence under Pakistan Penal Code is considered a General Exception to offences.
To conclude, it can be stated that General Exceptions, which have been provided in Pakistan Penal Code, are generally divided into excusable and justifiable exceptions. In excusable exceptions, guilty mind is completely absent while acts are not left excused, but are justified in justifiable exceptions.