This section removes an impediment in the right of private defence. The impediment is the doubt in the mind of the defender as to whether he is entitled to exercise his right even when there is a possibility of some innocent persons being harmed by his act. The section says that in the case of an assault reasonably causing an apprehension of death, if the defender is faced with such a situation where there exists risk of harm to an innocent person, there is no restriction on him to exercise his right of defence and he is entitled to run that risk.
In other words, with the presence of innocent persons in situations where one is entitled to exercise his right of private defence there is no curtailment in one’s right and he is entitled to use force even at the risk of causing harm to those innocent persons. The only condition is that he can do such a thing only when there is an apprehension of death. If the apprehension is of any other kind but not of death, this section does not give him such a right.
The illustration to the section aptly illustrates the point. The section nowhere mentions that this right is restricted to private defence of body only. Therefore, it applies to cases of both body and property but it must always be shown that there is an assault which reasonably causes the apprehension of death and only then is this right of private defence available.