Battery as a Tort
According to the law, ‘A tort is a civil wrong where there is an infringement of a legal right and the compensation which are awarded in this case is in the form of unliquidated damages as it depends on the situation to situation’. That is the reason which may be considered why our laws for torts are largely uncodified and is totally based on precedents. In plain words, there is nothing which can be predicted before hand as the mentality of people changes from time to time. Nobody knows that what thing may result next that is why our law is largely based n the precedents and also the damages which are awarded is unliquidated that is which are not fixed.
One such tort is in the form of battery. If we go by the literal meaning, it is very different from the context in which it is talked about in law. Because a battery means a device containing an electric cell or a series of electric cells storing energy that can be converted into electrical power but in the context of law battery means intentionally touching or applying force on an individual or the things which are related to that individual without his or her consent to harm. It is different from assault because assault means threatening but without applying actual force. There is no physical contact. For example: If a person stands and tighten his fist with a lot of anger and express words, this would amount to assault whereas when that person will punch some another individual, it will lead to battery. That is the reason normally battery is preceded by assault but whatever the case may be, nothing is universal. It is a general concept that normally assault and battery goes one by one but there is also a battery without assault and an assault without a battery. Also, it is known as trespass to a person because it violates the individual’s autonomy.
If we see, there are two types of battery:
Criminal Battery- In the case of a criminal battery, intentions plays a very significant role. When the person touches or applies force on some another person with the intention of seriously harming him or her or killing that person, then that would amount to criminal battery. The reason behind it is when an offence is considered to be as a criminal offence, intention plays a very major role. That is the mental part or mens rea.
Civil Battery- The case of civil battery is known and recognized in the law of torts because that constitutes a civil wrong. When the person has actually no intention to hurt or kill or harm some another person but eventually commits an act which results in harming. Here, the defendant had an idea that his act may hurt the plaintiff but he or she didn’t do it intentionally.
The essentials of a battery are Intention, Contact, Harm and no lawful justification. And the main and foremost thing is that is performed without the consent of that person. Sometimes, the defendant may argue that it was done out in self defense where he knew that he is going to harm and with the intention to harm but it was done so. It was purely done to protect his or her own body. And the essentials in this case are that the threat which the defendant got was unlawful and there was reasonable fear of harm present. There was no provocation by the accused and the defendant didn’t have any other option to save himself or herself. Other defenses are Defenses of property and the case of consent where the plaintiff voluntarily agreed to that.
Therefore, battery is a trespass to the person and that is why it is recognized under law. Various remedies are also present to placate the people so that they are not at the back hand.