INDIAN PENAL CODE (IPC) – INDIA CODE

What is IPC?

IPC (IPC full form Indian Penal Code) is the skeleton of the Indian criminal justice system. The Indian Penal Code 1860 is the main criminal code of India. Enacted in 1860, it is a comprehensive code designed to meet all substantive features of criminal law. The Act came into force in the year 1862 and since then amended many times. At present, the Act is enhanced by other criminal provisions. The Act was drafted on the recommendations of the first law commission established under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay in 1834.

IPC BARE ACT

IPC SECTION 1: Title and extent of operation of the Code

This Act shall be called the Indian Penal Code, and shall extend to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Note: The central Acts which were applicable to the rest of India before the Abrogation of Article 370 is now applicable in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

SALIENT FEATURES OF INDIAN PENAL CODE (IPC)

  • The code has 23 sections and 511 sections.
  • Indian Penal Code is a substantive law.
  • It follows the Lex Loci principle.
  • It includes illegal omissions also.
  • There are five kinds of punishments in the Indian Penal code.
  • The latest amendments were made in 2013 and 2018.

Elements that constitute a crime

The two elements that constitute a crime are mens rea and actus rea (criminal act + intention).

Actus Reus: The commission of a criminal act is known as actus reus. The word Actus Reus is a Latin term used to denote a criminal act. Every crime has two parts, the physical act of the crime (actus reus) and the mental act of the crime (mens rea). There are three elements of actus reus. They are

  1. Conduct
  2. Consequences
  3. Circumstances

That means

  • It is a physical component of a crime. There must be physical conduct
  • It has been defined as a result of human conduct as the law seeks to prevent.
  • It may be a positive act or negative (omission).

Mens Rea: Mens rea (criminal intent) is the guilty thought or mind. This means an intention to do something wrong like murder or theft. Mens rea is a necessary element to constitute a crime whether voluntary or purposeful. It is also defined as the defendant’s state of mind while committing an offence. It is also a necessary component to prove the criminal act in a court of law.

‘Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea’: An act does not make anyone guilty unless there is criminal intent or a guilty mind. It means without mens rea, there is no crime.

Mens rea in Indian Penal Code

  • Section 24: Dishonestly
  • Section 25: Fraudulently
  • Section 26: Reason to Believe
  • Section 35: Criminal /knowledge and Intent
  • Section 39: Voluntarily

These are important sections of IPC.

SIGNIFICANT SECTIONS OF INDIAN PENAL CODE BOOK

SECTION 53: KINDS OF PUNISHMENTS IN IPC

  1. Death Punishment
  2. Imprisonment for life
  3. Imprisonment: * Rigorous (involving hard labour) * Simple
  4. Forfeiture of property
  5. Fine
  6. Solitary confinement (Section 73 IPC)

SECTION 34: COMMON INTENTION

“Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention”

When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.

EXPLANATION: The provision lays down the principle of joint liability. It is a substantive offence under section 34. The Apex court has given a dimension to section 3 in the case of Shyamlal Ghosh v. State of West Bengal that it is a pre-oriented plan and acting in pursuance to the plan.

SECTION 149: COMMON OBJECT

“Every member of an unlawful assembly guilty of an offence committed in prosecution of the common object”

If an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, or such as the members of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of that object, every person who, at the time of the committing of that offence, is a member of the same assembly, is guilty of that offence.

EXPLANATION: Every member of an unlawful assembly is held liable for any criminal act done in the prosecution of a common object.

SECTION 420: Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property

Whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

EXPLANATION: Cheating is a criminal offence. It includes cheating by the dishonour of cheques, cheating by breach of contract, forgery etc. A person who commits the offence of cheating is legally responsible under section 420 IPC. When an offence of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code is committed, the person committing the offence shall be punished with imprisonment of 7 years and a fine. The punishment depends upon the seriousness of the crime.

SECTION 506: Punishment for criminal intimidation

Section 506 IPC states that Whoever commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both;

If a threat is to cause death or grievous hurt, etc- and if the threat is to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or 152[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute, unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or With fine, or with both.

Remarkably, S. 506 IPC punishes the offence of criminal intimidation that is defined in Section 503 IPC as under:

SECTION 503: Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of anyone in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.

A threat to injure the reputation of any deceased person in whom the person threatened is interested, is within this section.

EXPLANATION: Section 506 I.P.C. is bailable and non-cognizable in India except in the States where the applicability of this Section has been amended. In the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, The offence under Section 506 IPC is cognizable and non-bailable. The offence under Section 506 IPC is compoundable, i.e., the parties can negotiate this offence.

SECTION 375: Rape

Section 375 defines rape as sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or cheating or at a time when she has been intoxicated or is of unstable mental health and in any other case if she is below 18 years of age.

The offence is rape if it falls below the provided categories:

First: Against her will.

Second: Without her consent.

Thirdly- With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.

Fourth: With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifth: With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, because of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Explanation- Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.

Exception-

  1. If a woman doesn’t resist penetration physically, then it shall be regarded as sexual activity.
  2. A medical interference or procedure shall not be regarded as an offence of rape.
  3. Sexual intercourse by a man with his wife who is older than 18 years of age.

In the case of Mukesh & Anr. Vs. State for NCT of Delhi & Ors., the Supreme Court declared the death penalty to four of the accused among six. The minor boy who was a juvenile at the time of committing the offence was convicted by the Juvenile Justice Board. He was sent to the correctional home.

FAQs

What is the difference between sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code?

Section 375 defines rape and its grounds. Section 376 prescribes the punishment for rape.

What are the different stages of the crime?

  1. Intention or mens rea
  2. Preparation
  3. Attempt
  4. Completion of the Act.

What is Culpable Homicide?

Whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.

What are the ingredients of Abetment to suicide?

Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code provides for the offence of Abetment of Suicide. It provides -“If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with the imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

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