Fighting In Public Place | Affray Under IPC

Fighting in public place constitutes affray, attracting 1 month imprisonment.


Have you ever seen 2 or more persons fighting in public place exchanging hot words and using force against each other . This might be there personal issue, may be one of them haven’t returned money borrowed from the other one or they have been reminded of any incident 5 years back. But this personal fight when happens in public place it constitute affray.

Affray Picture
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Section 159 of IPC deals with affray. Affray is derived from the French word “affrairer” which means to terrify. It means any public offence which causes terror to the public.

Ingredients of Affray

1. Two or more persons must fight .

2. They must fight in public place.

3. There must be disturbance to public peace by their fighting.

Two or more persons – This offence requires minimum 2 persons and can be more but when the persons are 5 or more it constitutes riot.

Fighting in a public place- Fighting should take place in a public place. A public place is not public place at all hours but it become public place when open to the public.

A court of law, hospital, church, temple are public places in the hours when public has the access to them.

When temple is close no person has the access to the temple and its adjoined campus and there 2 persons fighting will not constitute affray though there may be other offences being committed like causing hurt, grievous hurt or criminal force but not affray.

In case of fight, there must not only be exchange of abusive words, there should be exchange of blows. Fighting means “quarrel accompanied by use of little force” and there should be retaliation from both the sides. When one side is aggressive and other passive there is no fight.

There must be disturbance to public peace by their fighting- By such fighting there must be disturbance to public peace by their fighting. By such fighting there must be disturbance to public peace. Fighting should cause general alarm and disturbance.

Sec 160 of IPC talks about punishment for committing affray. It says whoever commits affray , shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month , or fine extending to 100 or both.

Case laws-

In Jagannath Shah (1937) O.W.N. 37 , two brothers were quarreling and abusing each other on a public road in a town and a large crowd gathered and traffic was jammed but no actual fight took place . It was held that no affray was committed in absence of actual fight.

In   Babu Ram , two persons attacked and overpowered a third one who merely defended himself. It was held that they were guilty of this offence as there was a fighting in public place notwith standing fact that the third person  only defended himself in the exercise of his right of private defence.


Reference :-  Indian Penal Code  S.N. MISRA .

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