A battery may be defined as the actual striking of another person or touching him in rude, angry, revengeful or insolent manner. Battery is the actual application of force to the person of another done without justification in a rude, angry manner.
In Gole Vs. Turner Holt O. J. observed:
First, that the least touching of another in anger is a batiery. Secondly, if two or more meet in a narrow passage and without any violence or design of harm, the one touches the other gently it will be no battery. Thirdly, if any of them use violence against the other, any struggle about the passage to that degree as may do hurt, will be a battery.
Therefore, in order to constitute a battery, there must be actual contract. It does not matter whether the force used is applied directly or indirectly to a human body itself or to anything held in contract with it, nor whether with the hand or anything in it or with a missile.
According to Winfield “Pulling away a chair, as practical joke, from one who is about to sit on it is probably an assault until he reaches the floor, for while he is falling he reasonably expects that the withdrawal of the chair will result in harm to him. When he comes in contact with the floor, it is a battery,”
It should be noted that a battery includes an assault.
Essential ingredients of Battery
The following are the essential ingredients:
(i) the force must have been used to the plaintiff either to his body or bringing an object with his body.
(ii) that the force must have been used intentionally. Therefore, touching a person merely to call his attention or jostling one another in a crowd is not a battery. A friendly clap on the back of a person may be excused on the ground of implied consent but not the hostile or rude hand.
Battery is an offence under Section 350 of the Indian Penal Code.
Difference between Assault and Battery
(i) Battery includes assault. But assault does not include battery.
(ii) In case of assault, actual contact is not necessary while it is necessary in case of battery. But every laying on in hands is not a battery. The party’s intention must be considered. In the words of Sir Fredrick Pollock “The application of unlawful force to another constituties the wrong called battery in action which puts another of instant fear of unlawful force, though no force be applied, is the wrong called assault.”
(ii) An assault is an attempt at battery.