Indian Penal Code
Indian Penal Code is the main criminal code
Criminal Code
A criminal code is a document which compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law...

 of India. It is a comprehensive code, intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

. It was drafted in 1860 and came into force in colonial India during the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in 1862. It has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions.

After independence, Indian Penal Code was inherited by Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (now called Pakistan Penal Code
Pakistan penal code
The Pakistan Penal Code usually called PPC is a penal code for all offences charged in Pakistan. It was originally prepared by Lord Macaulay with a great consultation in 1860 on the behalf of the Government of British India as the Indian Penal Code...

) and Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, formerly part of British India. It was also adopted wholesale by the British colonial authorities in Burma, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, Malaysia, Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, and remains the basis of the criminal codes in those countries.


The draft of the Indian Penal Code was prepared by the First Law Commission. It was chaired by Lord Macaulay. Its basis is the law of England freed from superfluities, technicalities and local peculiarities. Suggestions were also derived from the French Penal Code and from Livingstone's Code of Louisiana. The draft underwent a very careful revision at the hands of Sir Barnes Peacock, Chief Justice, and puisne Judges of the Calcutta Supreme Court
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

 who were members of the Legislative Council
Legislative Council
A Legislative Council is the name given to the legislatures, or one of the chambers of the legislature of many nations and colonies.A Member of the Legislative Council is commonly referred to as an MLC.- Unicameral legislatures :...

, and was passed into law on Oct 6,1860, unfortunately Macaulay did not survive to see his masterpiece enacted into a law.

The Indian Penal Code was submitted to the Governor-General of India in Council in 1837, but was not until 1860 that it took its place on the Indian Statute Book. Before 1860, The English Criminal Law, as modified by several Acts was administered in the Presidency-Towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

The Code is universally acknowledged as a cogently drafted code ahead of its time. It has substantially survived for over 150 years in several jurisdictions without major amendments. Modern crimes involving technology unheard of during Macaulay's time fit easily under the Code mainly because of the vagueness of the Code.

Classification of offences under the code

Indian Penal Code, 1860, covers large types of Offences and they are Classified into following types:

(Sections 1 to 511)
Chapter Sections Covered Classification of Offences
Chapter I Sections 1 to 5 Introduction
Chapter II Sections 6 to 52 General Explanations
Chapter III Sections 53 to 75 of Punishments
Chapter IV Sections 76 to 106 General Exceptions
of the Right of Private Defence (Sections 96 to 106)
Chapter V Sections 107 to 120 Of Abetment
Chapter VA Sections 120A to 120B Criminal Conspiracy
Added in 1913
Chapter VI Sections 121 to 130 Of Offences against the State
Chapter VII Sections 131 to 140 Of Offences relating to the Army, Navy and Air Force
Navy and Air Force: Added in 1927
Chapter VIII Sections 141 to 160 Of Offences against the Public Tranquillity
Chapter IX Sections 161 to 171 Of Offences by or relating to Public Servants
Chapter X Sections 172 to 190 Of Contempts of Lawful Authority of Public Servants
Chapter XI Sections 191 to 229 Of False Evidence and Offences against Public Justice
Chapter XII Sections 230 to 263 Of Offences relating to coin and Government Stamps
Chapter XIII Sections 264 to 267 Of Offences relating to Weight and Measures
Chapter XIV Sections 268 to 294 Of Offences affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and Morals
Chapter XV Sections 295 to 298 Of Offences relating to Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

Chapter XVI Sections 299 to 377 Of Offences affecting the Human Body
  1. Of Offences Affecting Life including murder
    Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

    , culpable homicide
    Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

     (Sections 299 to 311)
  2. Of the Causing of Miscarriage, of Injuries to Unborn Children, of the Exposure of Infants, and of the Concealment of Births (Sections 312 to 318)
  3. Of Hurt (Sections 319 to 338)
  4. Of Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement
    Confinement may refer to either* Civil confinement for psychiatric patients* Color confinement, the physical principle explaining the non-observation of color charged particles like free quarks* Solitary confinement, a strict form of imprisonment...

     (Sections 339 to 348)
  5. Of Criminal Force and Assault
    In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

     (Sections 349 to 358)
  6. Of Kidnapping
    In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

    , Abduction
    In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

    , Slavery and Forced Labour (Sections 359 to 374)
  7. Sexual Offences including rape
    Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

     (Sections 375 to 376)
  8. Of Unnatural Offences (Section 377)
Chapter XVII Sections 378 to 462 Of Offences Against Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

  1. Of Theft
    In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

     (Sections 378 to 382)
  2. Of Extortion
    Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

     (Sections 383 to 389)
  3. Of Robbery
    Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force or by putting the victim in fear. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear....

     and Dacoity (Sections 390 to 402)
  4. Of Criminal Misappropriation of Property (Sections 403 to 404)
  5. Of Criminal Breach of Trust
    Breach of Trust
    Breach of Trust is a Canadian alternative rock band originally from La Ronge, Saskatchewan. The band currently consists of vocalist Marty Ballentyne, guitarist Donovan Bruyere, bass guitarist Colin Cheechoo and drummer William Aubut...

     (Sections 405 to 409)
  6. Of the Receiving of Stolen Property (Sections 410 to 414)
  7. Of Cheating
    Cheating refers to the breaking of rules to gain advantage in a competitive situation. The rules infringed may be explicit, or they may be from an unwritten code of conduct based on morality, ethics or custom, making the identification of cheating a subjective process. Cheating can refer...

     (Section 415 to 420)
  8. Of Fraudulent Deeds and Disposition of Property (Sections 421 to 424)
  9. Of Mischief (Sections 425 to 440)
  10. Of Criminal Trespass
    Trespass is an area of tort law broadly divided into three groups: trespass to the person, trespass to chattels and trespass to land.Trespass to the person, historically involved six separate trespasses: threats, assault, battery, wounding, mayhem, and maiming...

     (Sections 441 to 462)
Chapter XVIII Sections 463 to 489 Of Offences relating to Documents and Property Marks
  • Of Property and Other Marks (Sections 478 to 489)
  • Of Currency Notes and Bank Notes (Sections 489A to 489E)

  • Added in 1958
    Chapter XIX Sections 490 to 492 Of the Criminal Breach of Contract
    A contract is an agreement entered into by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation, which may have elements in writing. Contracts can be made orally. The remedy for breach of contract can be "damages" or compensation of money. In equity, the remedy can be specific...

    s of Service
    Chapter XX Sections 493 to 498 Of Offences Relating to Marriage
    Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

    Chapter XXA Sections 498A Of Cruelty by Husband or Relatives of Husband
    Added in 1983
    Chapter XXI Sections 499 to 502 Of Defamation
    Chapter XXII Sections 503 to 510 Of Criminal intimidation
    Intimidation is intentional behavior "which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" fear of injury or harm. It's not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause terror or that the victim was actually frightened.Criminal threatening is the crime of intentionally or...

    , Insult and Annoyance
    Chapter XXIII Section 511 Of Attempt
    Attempt was originally an offence under the common law of England.Attempt crimes are crimes where the defendant's actions have the form of the actual enaction of the crime itself: the actions must go beyond mere preparation....

    s to Commit Offences


    1. The section 377
      Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code
      Chapter XVI, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is a piece of legislation in India introduced during British rule of India that criminalises sexual activity "against the order of nature." The section was read down to decriminalise same-sex behaviour among consenting adults in a historic...

       had been used against legitimate rights of sexual minorities in India. This section has been termed as the biggest hurdle in dealing with control of HIV/AIDS in the Country. But the Delhi High Court on 2 July 2009 gave a liberal interpretation to this section and laid down that this section cannot be used to punish the act of consensual sexual(anal) intercourse between two adult males. This was incorrectly termed by many people including reputed media houses as amendment of this section which it was not.The case is pending in Supreme Court since then.
    2. Section 309 metes out punishment for an unsuccessful attempt to suicide. Rather than providing suitable counseling, the section prefers to punish the victim.
    3. Section 497 deals with adultery, which punishes men even for consensual sex with another persons wife.
    4. Many of the Sections in the Indian Penal Code Monetary Fine amounts have become out dated for E.g.- Under Section 188 which is for Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant—Prescribes the fine amount to be only two hundred rupees.-- which in today's India can hardly have any deterrent effect upon any Criminal.

    In 2003, the Malimath Committee submitted its report recommending several far-reaching penal reforms including separation of investigation and prosecution (similar to the CPS
    Crown Prosecution Service
    The Crown Prosecution Service, or CPS, is a non-ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in England and Wales. Its role is similar to that of the longer-established Crown Office in Scotland, and the...

     in the UK) to streamline the clogged up Indian criminal justice
    Criminal justice
    Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

     system. .The essence of the report was a perceived need for shift from an adversarial to an inquisitorial criminal justice system, based on the Continental Europe
    Continental Europe
    Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

    an systems.

    Some other recent incidents have again pointed fingers at rewriting the Penal code.These are:-
    • Another case which came to light in 2009 thrown light on how the criminal justice system in India could be influenced by the powerful. A higher police officer who molested a minor in 1990 (the minor committed suicide after 3 years due to continuous persecution of her family by the police officer) got away with an imprisonment for just 6 months. (See Ruchika Girhotra Case
      Ruchika Girhotra Case
      The Ruchika Girhotra Case involves the molestation of 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra in 1990 by the Inspector General of Police Shambhu Pratap Singh Rathore in Haryana, India. After she made a complaint, the victim, her family, and her friends were systematically harassed by the police leading to...


    Popular references

    Some references to specific sections (called dafa'a in Hindi-Urdu, دفعہ or दफ़आ/दफ़ा) of the IPC have entered popular speech in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. For instance, conmen are referred to as 420s (chaar-sau-bees in Hindi-Urdu)) after Section 420
    Section 420
    Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code also used in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan has become a slang reference for a confidence trickster. Such criminals are called 420 in popular culture in those countries...

     which covers cheating. Similarly, specific reference to section 302 ("tazīrāt-e-Hind dafā tīn-sau-do ke tehet sazā-e-maut", "punishment of death under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code"), which covers the death penalty, have become part of common knowledge in the region due to repeated mentions of it in Bollywood
    Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

     movies and regional pulp literature. "Dafa 302" was also the name of a Bollywood movie released in 1975. Similarly, "Shree 420" was the name of a 1955 Bollywood movie starring Raj Kapoor.

    External links

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