The section gives a negative definition of the expression ‘good faith‘ as is clear from its language. It does not state as to what is meant by the term. It merely says that if something is done or believed without due care and attention it is not done or believed in good faith. The term ‘good faith’ has also been defined under section 3(22) of the General Clauses Act, 1897. That definition, however, has no application in matters under the Indian Penal Code since the expression has been defined under this section by the Code itself. The expression has been used extensively in the Code and at all places it has the same meaning as provided under this section.
The expression ‘due care and attention’ used in this section has nowhere been defined in the Code. The Courts have tried to explain it on the basis of their own judgment based on logic and reason. A good intention and reasonable care and skill are important factors to be taken into account to determine as to whether an act has been done in good faith. General circumstances and the capacity and intelligence of the concerned person must be kept in mind.
In Sukaroo Kabiraj v. Emp., the accused operated upon the deceased for internal piles by an ordinary knife resulting in his death from haemorrhage and blood loss. It was held that even though he had performed similar operations before, his act could not be held to have been done in good faith because he did not hold any degree in surgery which would make him legally entitled to perform operations.
In Hayat v. Emp., the accused saw a stooping child at a place which was believed by him and other villagers to be haunted. He killed the child before discovering his mistake. It was held that his act could not be held to have been done in good faith.
In P. Swaminathan v. Lakshmanan, the Madras High Court held that a declaration in a newspaper two and a half months after the sale of land under a registered sale deed that the land was sold under compulsion was not made in good faith.