(i) The accused must be under the state of intoxication at the time of doing an act.

(ii) He, by reason of intoxication, must not know the nature of his act, or he must not know that his act is wrong or contrary to law.

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(iii) The intoxicant is given to him without his knowledge or against his will.

Without his knowledge or against his will

The use of the words ‘without knowledge or against his will’ in the proviso clause of this section indicates that the defence is available when either of the two requirements, that is to say, lack of knowledge or against his will, is proved.

The intoxication is without one’s knowledge if he does not know about the existence of the intoxicant, such as where someone mixes an intoxicant in the milk which the accused drinks under the impression that he is drinking milk only. On the other hand, the intoxication is against someone’s will when he is forced or coerced to take the intoxicant, such as where some people by force inject an intoxicant into the body of the accused.

The section does not require that both these requirements be proved. The proof of either of these two suffices provided the other requirements of the section are satisfied. It is apparent from the proviso clause that voluntary intoxication is not a defence under this section. In Dedekula Khabala Saheb v. State of A.P.? both the accused and the deceased were drunk and started quarrelling. The accused was beating and dragging the deceased at the time of the incident.

On seeing the wife and son of the deceased approaching the accused hit the deceased on the head by a stone resulting in his death. It was held that voluntary drunkenness is no defence and thus the accused was guilty under section 304, Part I for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The only situation where voluntary intoxication may also negative liability is where such intoxication has made the accused a person of unsound mind in which case the defence of unsoundness of mind under section 84 of the Code may apply. A common example of such an alcoholic disease is known as delirium tremens which is caused by habitual drinking for a long time. Consequently, unsoundness of mind produced by voluntary or involuntary drinking may be a defence under section 84 of the Code.

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