Indian Penal Code
|The Indian Penal Code, 1860|
|Citation||Act No. 45 of 1860|
|Territorial extent||Whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir|
|Enacted by||Parliament of India|
|Date enacted||6 October 1860|
|Date assented to||6 October 1860|
|Date commenced||6 October 1860|
Indian Penal Code (IPC, Hindi: भारतीय दण्ड संहिता) is the main criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code, intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law. It was drafted in 1860 and came into force in colonial India during the British Raj in 1862. It has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions. In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the IPC is known as Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
After independence, Indian Penal Code was inherited by Pakistan (now called Pakistan Penal Code) and Bangladesh, formerly part of British India. It was also adopted wholesale by the British colonial authorities in Burma, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and remains the basis of the criminal codes in those countries.
During the Moghul rule courts administered the "Sharia" to the exclusion of Hindu law. Islamic law gave way to English criminal law with the increase of British influence in the Indian subcontinent. Before 1860, The English criminal law, as modified by several acts was administered in the Presidency-Towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.
The draft of the Indian Penal Code was prepared by the First Law Commission, chaired by Thomas Babington Macaulay. Its basis is the law of England freed from superfluities, technicalities and local peculiarities. Elements were also derived from the Napoleonic Code and from Edward Livingston's Louisiana Civil Code of 1825. The first final draft of the Indian Penal Code was submitted to the Governor-General of India in Council in 1837, but the draft was again revised. The drafting was completed in 1850 and it was presented to the Legislative Council in 1856 but it did not take its place on the Indian statute book until a generation later, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The draft then underwent a very careful revision at the hands of Barnes Peacock, who later became the first Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, and the future puisne judges of the Calcutta High Court, who were members of the Legislative Council, and was passed into law on 6 October 1860. The Code came into operation on 1 January 1862. Unfortunately, Macaulay did not survive to see his masterpiece come into force, having died near the end of 1859.
The objective of this Act is to provide a general penal code for India. Though not an initial objective, the Act does not repeal the penal laws which were in force at the time of coming into force in India. This was so because the Code does not contain all the offences and it was possible that some offences might have still been left out of the Code, which were not intended to be exempted from penal consequences. Though this Code consolidates the whole of the law on the subject and is exhaustive on the matters in respect of which it declares the law, many more penal statutes governing various offences have been created in addition to the code.
Indian Penal Code, 1860, sub-divided into twenty three chapters, comprises five hundred and eleven sections. The code starts with an introduction, provides explanations and exceptions used in the code, and covers a wide range of offences. The Outline is presented in the following table:
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Chapter XVI||Sections 299 to 377||Of Offences affecting the Human Body
|Chapter XVII||Sections 378 to 462||Of Offences Against Property
|Chapter XVIII||Sections 463 to 489||Of Offences relating to Documents and Property Marks
|Chapter XIX||Sections 490 to 492||Of the Criminal Breach of Contracts of Service|
|Chapter XX||Sections 493 to 498||Of Offences Relating to Marriage|
|Chapter XXA||Sections 498A||Of Cruelty by Husband or Relatives of Husband|
|Chapter XXI||Sections 499 to 502||Of Defamation|
|Chapter XXII||Sections 503 to 510||Of Criminal intimidation, Insult and Annoyance|
|Chapter XXIII||Section 511||Of Attempts to Commit Offences|
- Section 377 had been interpreted to suppress the rights of sexual minorities in India. This section has been termed as the biggest hurdle in dealing with control of 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 can not be used to punish an act of consensual sexual intercourse between two adult males. This was incorrectly termed by many people[who?] including reputed media houses[which?] as amendment of this section which it was not. The case is pending in Supreme Court since then.
- Section 377- Gay Sex is Crime Delhi High Court judgment Date of Judgment-19.08.2009– 2009  [Journal of Criminal Cases] JCC Page No. 1787. In The High Court of Delhi— Hon’ble Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, Hon’ble Dr. Justice S. Murlidhar
- Naz Foundation Vs. Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors.
- Section 377—Unnatural Offence-Constitution of India—Article 12—Universal Declaration of Human Rights—Article 17-International Covenant of Civil and Political rights- Article 1-2- European Convention on Human Right—Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 as amended in 1936—Tamil Nadu Government M.S. No. 199 dated 21.12.2006– Recognizing Aravanis [Hijras] discrimination of society—Sexual Offence Act, 1967
- petitioner NGO challenged constitutionality of Section 377, stating it violates Article 21, 19, 15,14 through civil writ petition—founded upon the plea that Section 377 infringes said articles when sexual acts between consenting adults in privates—held—So far consensual sexual acts of adults in private Articles 21, 14, 15 of Constitution of India is violative
- Section 377 will continue to govern non-consensual penile non-vaginal sex involving minors. Sexual Offenders Act, 1967—Decriminalized homosexuality act of sodomy between consenting adults [above the age of 21 years]
- Section 377 versus Constitution of India, Article 21—section infringes right to life, protection, dignity, privacy. Any law interfering with the personal liberty of a person must satisfy triple test propounded under Articles 14,19, 21 of the Constitution
- Human dignity forms part of our constitutional culture—Constitution did not refer right to privacy expressly but can be traced under Article 21
- right to life—Right to privacy is a part of right to life- right to privacy to be implicit in the right to life and the liberty guaranteed to the citizen of India by Article 21. It is a right to be left alone [1994  SCC page 632] invasion on that precinct is breach of privacy
- Section 377 denied a person's dignity and criminalises his/her core identity covenant solely on account of his/her sexuality thus violates Article 21 of the Constitution of India
- Section 377 as it stands denies a gay person's right to full personhood which is implicit in notion of life under Article 21 Constitution of India
- Section 377 grossly violates the right to privacy and liberty embodied under Article 21 in so far criminalises consensual sexual acts between adults in private.
- Constitution of India Article 21 & 12 and The International Convent on Economic, Social and Cultural rights V. Section 377 and HIV/AIDS prevention. Indian Constitution in the light of Article 12 of the International Convent, as held by Supreme Court, the right to health inhered in the right to life under Article 21.
- Section 377 acts as a serious impediment to the successful public health and intervention—Due to fear of law, same-sex behaviour persons kept invisible—unreachable—pushing the cause of infection underground making it very difficult for public health workers to access
- Sexual Practice of MSM/ gay community are hidden because they are subjected to criminal action.
- Section 377, 172, 375. Law Commission of Report of India, 1972 Section 172—Sexual Offence. Commission recommended deletion of Section 377 be effective recommended amendments in Section 375 along with Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 as well as Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
- Constitution of India Article 14 v. Section 377: Article 14 forbids class legislation but not reasonable classification public morality. Not a province of criminal law. *Section 377 makes no distinction between 'acts engaged in public sphere' and 'acts engaged in private sphere' or between consensual and non-consensual acts between adults. Consensual acts between adults in private dos not cause any harm to anybody
- Public animus—Disgust towards a particular social group/ vulnerable society is not a valid ground for classification under Article 14. Section 377 targets homosexual community asa class.
- National AIDS control Organisation [NACO] specially stated that enforcement of Section 377 adversely contributed to pushing the infection underground, making risky sexual practice go unnoticed and hampering prevention of HIV/AIDS.
- State interest must be legitimate and relevant for legislation to be non-arbitrary and proportionate towards achieving state interest
- Referring Declaration of People on Equality 2008—Equal Right Trust—Court held Section 377 has effect of viewing all gay men as criminals. They are subjected to extensive prejudice. Discrimination caused to MSM & gay community is unfair and in breach of Article 14 of Constitution of India.
- Constitution of India—Article 15 & Section 377: Right to equality is found under Article 14 and Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the several grounds enumerated including sex. Article 14 is analogous to genus while Articles 15 & 16 are analogous to species in Doctrine of Equality
- Sexual orientation is a ground analogous to sex and discrimination on the basis of Sexual orientation is not prohibited under Article 15.
- Article 15 incorporates the notion of horizontal application of rights—validity of a legislation is tested by clause contained in Article 14 and 15 and the burden of proof is on the state.
- Relying on 2008 SCC 1: Anuj Garg's Case, where a law discriminates on any of the prohibited grounds, the law must be tested not merely against the reasonableness under Article 14 but must be subject to strict scrutiny
- Section 377 criminalises acts of sexual minorities and runs counter to constitutional values. Discriminates against MSM/GAY men solely on sexual orientation. What is considered to be cornerstone of our constitution
- Section 377 is in application to sexual acts of consenting adults in private discriminates against a section of people solely on their sexual orientation. Amounts to prohibition on the grounds of sex
- It has been held that Section 377, in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private is concerned, violates Articles 21,14, 15 of Constitution of India
- Section 377 will continue to govern non-consensual penile, non-vaginal sex and penile non-vaginal sex involving minors
- It is clarified that amendments will not result in re-opening of criminal cases involving Section 377 that have already attained finality.
Words & Phrases
- Adult—Everyone 18 years of age or more.
- Consent—Persons below 18 years would be presumed not to be able to consent to a sexual act.
- Carnal Intercourse—is used in Section 377, and distinct from expression "sexual intercourse" in Sections 375 & 497.
- Carnal—To do with the flesh or body.
- Gay Community—Men who have sex with men [MSM], homosexuals.
- Unnatural—not according to nature; for example, according to nature the orifice of the mouth is not meant for sexual/carnal intercourse.
- Unnatural Offence—Unnatural sexual acts has no rational nexus to the classification created between procreative and non-procreative sexual acts.
- LGBT—Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender.
Decriminalization of Suicide Attempts
- Section 309 metes out punishment for an unsuccessful attempt to suicide. In September 2011, Government of India indicated that it is considering to amend this section and to decriminalise suicide attempts. The Government was responding to a PIL filed in the Supreme Court.
Criminal Justice Reforms
In 2003, the Malimath Committee submitted its report recommending several far-reaching penal reforms including separation of investigation and prosecution (similar to the CPS in the UK) to streamline criminal justice 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 European systems.
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. Nicholas Phillips, Justice of Supreme Court of United Kingdom applauded the efficacy and relevance of IPC while commemorating 150 years of IPC. Modern crimes involving technology unheard of during Macaulay's time fit easily within the Code mainly because of the broadness of the Code's drafting.
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 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 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.
- "history of IPC is provided in comments".
- "Preamble of IPC".
- Times of India (22 September 2011). "Attempt to commit suicide may cease to be crime soon". Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "IPC Reform Committee recommends separation of investigation from prosecution powers (pdf)" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- "IPC's endurance lauded".
- Henry Scholberg, The return of the Raj: a novel, NorthStar Publications, 1992, "... People were saying, 'Twenty plus Four equals Char Sau Bees.' Char Sou Bees is 420 which is the number of the law that has to do with counterfeiting ..."
- Star Plus, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge – Jokes Book, Popular Prakashan, ISBN 978-81-7991-343-7, "... Tazeerat-e-hind , dafa 302 ke tahat, mujrim ko maut ki saza sunai jaati hai ..."
- Alok Tomar, Monisha Shah, Jonathan Lynn, Ji Mantriji: The diaries of Shri Suryaprakash Singh, Penguin Books in association with BBC Worldwide, 2001, ISBN 978-0-14-302767-6, "... we'd have the death penalty back tomorrow. Dafa 302, taaziraat-e-Hind ... to be hung by the neck until death ..."
- D. P. Mishra, Great masters of Indian cinema: the Dadasaheb Phalke Award winnersGreat Masters of Indian Cinema Series, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 2006, ISBN 978-81-230-1361-9, "... Badti Ka Naam Dadhi ( 1975), Chhoti Si Baat ( 1975), Dafa 302 ( 1 975), Chori Mera Kaam ( 1975), Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka (1975) ..."