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Criminal law (Indian Penal code)

B.Vijaya lakshmi
 Index
 1. Introduction
 2. Difference between Tort and crime
 3. Importance of Mensrea
 4. Motive relevancy
 5. Intention and motive
 6. stages of crime
 7. Application of the Code
 8. Important Definitions
 9. Punishments
 10. General defences
 11. General offences
 12. Specific offences
Criminal law (Indian Penal
1. Introduction
Indian penal code is the code of conduct and behaviour of persons in general. The law
expects every individual living in the society to behave in a particular ethical manner. The
intention of the legislators would be no person’s unethical, immoral behaviour should lead
to any problem or discomfort to other co livings in the society.
In society we find different people with different temperaments, different attitudes,
different tastes and situations but still coordinating and cooperating with each other to
derive common benefit.
But still we find, sometimes some people with different behaviour for selfish motives
keep doing certain unwanted and unwarranted acts resulting in humiliation to others. So to
set right the behaviour of such people IPC was enacted.
 All persons have the right to enjoy the society in equal manner and in happy
 No person in order to draw self benefits should opt for any illegal methods or
illegal approaches to meet their goals.
 When people are yielding to such unwanted and unsocial methods, there
comes the requirement for the state to set right their behaviour thorough some
legal weapons which we usually find them in the form of statutes.
 In that manner only IPC was framed.
 IPC was drafted by Lord Macaulay who was the Chairman of the First law
commission under the Charter of 1834 ,under the Charter Act,1833. however, it
had been put to several amendments from time to time as per the requirements
and necessities of people.
 IPC consists of total 511 sections divided into 23 chapters.
 IPC is purely a substantive piece of legislation just like Indian Contracts
Act,1872, TP Act,1882 etc., and lays downs what ought and what ought not to
be done by a person.
 When a person does any criminal wrong, an action may be taken against him
by resorting to procedural mechanisms like Crpc and Evidence. Crpc is
Criminal Procedure Code,1973 which deals with procedural process to be
followed in order to take legal action before the judiciary. Another procedural
mechanism is Evidence. It is known that no case is going to sustain before the
law court if it is not supported by any piece of evidence. So to deal with those
cases with valid and invalid evidences, our legislators have enacted Indian
Evidence Act,1872. It deals with different kinds of evidences which are
admissible and inadmissible before the law court to substantiate the
 Definition of crime in General
 Crime in general means anti social behaviour. It is in other words an act or omission which is
prohibited under any law of land. The word crime means and connotes the meaning that doing acts
which are forbidden under the law. It is treated as a public wrong or wrong against the state. Every
country shall have its own rules and regulations to govern its people. Where the persons who violate
those rules and regulations can be treated as criminals. State owes a duty to look after the welfare of
its people, therefore, it is prescribing a code of conduct to all its people to follow. People of the
country are duty bound to follow the strictures passed by the state. If people deviate from such code
of conduct, an action will be taken against such violators and be penalised as per the criminal law
proceedings of the country. Such crimes may be against person or property. For example killing
another human being (Murder), or committing rape are crimes against persons, committing theft or
dacoity may be examples for crimes against property. However every crime may not have the
punishment. It is only few crimes which are considered as offences will get the punishments under
the law of land.
 2.Difference between tort and crime
 (1) Tort is a civil wrong whereas crime is a criminal wrong. Tort is a private wrong. It means it is a
wrongful act committed by a person towards a particular individual or individuals. It does not
necessarily involve any mental element to do it. Tort in other words is violation of civil rights or
legal rights of other individuals causing some monetary loss or economic loss to them. Whereas
crime is a public wrong. It is considered as offence against the state. Here violation of rights or
duties question does not arise.
 continued…
 (2) when a tort is committed, the injured party has to move to the civil court to get redress or
relief. But when crimes is committed, the state shall move to the court. It means initiation of
legal proceedings in the former will be taken by the individual but where as in the latter, state
will initiate the legal proceedings.
 (3)Under Tort, the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff that is upon the person who moves to
the court and alleges against the defendant(wrong doer). Under Crimes, the burden of proof
lies on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused.
 (4) Under Tort, the remedy available to the injured party is unliquidated damages. Some times
there may be injunction orders or mesne profits depending upon the facts and circumstances
of the case. In Crimes, the remedy to the victim be rare. But the convicted person will be
awarded punishments in the form of imprisonments may be rigorous or simple depending
upon the case
 (5) To constitute the word Tort, mensrea will not be considered. It means the mental element
of the wrong doer is not important to consider. Whereas for the commission of crime, mensrea
is only the criteria for fixing the punishment. If the mind of the accused is not at wrong, then
he may not get the punishment. But in torts, the courts be looking into the matter only whether
the wrong doer has violated the rights of the injured party or not.
These are the essential differences between tort and crime.
 So IPC deals with wrongs which are criminal in nature. However it will not cover the wrongs
which are purely civil in nature. The wrongs which are civil are covered under branch of torts
and also under other civil laws. The procedural mechanism for civil wrongs is provided under
CPC,1908 with the help of Evidence rules under Indian Evidence Act
 In IPC, there is no definition to the word “Crime”. Though the subject is Law of Crimes, but
the code has not defined the word crime but defined the word “Offence” (Sec.40)
 The reason behind it is the word crime is wider in its area and covers huge and vast instances
which may be considered to be crimes. but it becomes cumbersome to drag the guilty to the
court and inflict punishment. The notion of the crime as discussed earlier is different under
different situations and at different places. So there is definitely a need to limit or restrict its
wide area to a limited one to derive fruitful results. Hence the code was drafted with restrictive
notion and pooled only some wrongs which are criminal in nature in the public view are
considered and defined as offence. Every criminal conduct may be a crime but it may not be an
offence. A person who breaks the law of the land only said to have committed an offence.
 It means every country shall have its own rules and regulations meant for its people to be
followed. The deviation from the same results in offence. So in other words, the persons who
are committing acts prohibited under law of land of any country will only be considered as an
offence, otherwise no.
 For example, Bigamy is an offence as per Indian Penal Code. But if we see the Muslim personal
laws, Bigamy is not an offence since their systems will allow marrying 4 wives at a time.
 The nature of wrongs committed by people be viewed differently by different people in
different ways in different countries differently. It means the same act may appear to be a crime
to some people but it may not amount to be the same by others.
 Widow marriage was used to be a crime as per customary practices of Hindu law but it is not so
as per the statutory law. So the notion of crime varies from people to people and country to
country and time to time
 All offences are crimes. But all crimes are not offences. A crime becomes an offence only if it is
listed in the Code as an offence.
 An act or omission becomes an offence only when it is listed under IPC as an offence with
corresponding punishment clause.
 IPC is applicable to all persons. The persons mentioned here may be natural persons or artificial
 Every act or omission which is an offence be punishable as per IPC, provided the offence is
committed on Indian land. Commission of offence on Indian territory is important to apply IPC
 Important General principles for the application of Indian Penal Code
 Indian penal code is applicable to all people including citizens and non citizens
 It is applicable to all types of persons may be natural persons or artificial persons
 It is applicable to all types of acts or omissions which are prohibited under the Code
 Every act or omission cannot be dragged under IPC unless, that particular act or omission
is regarded as an offence under the code.
 Though some acts or omissions appear to be crimes but still cannot be classified as
offences and no punishment can be given if such act or omission could not be traced in
the list of offences of IPC. For example, not properly treating elders with proper food and
shelter or clothes, ethically and morally may be wrong, but the code has not treated such
act as an offence.
 IPC is applicable to all types of commissions and omissions taking place on Indian
territory. It means place of commission of the act or omission is important. If the offence
is not taking place on Indian territory, IPC cannot be applied. If the offence is taking
place on foreign land and committed by Indian national but still IPC cannot be applied.
 In those cases, the prosecution can be conducted by the foreign government, though the
person is Indian National. It means to convey the meaning that the nationality of the
individual is not the criteria to apply IPC. Only place of offence is considered.
 continued..
 Indian Penal Code is a general piece of legislation and therefore be applied in general to all
people under all general circumstances. But this general law may not be applied when there
are specific and special legislations to deal with specific nature of people. The specific
nature is being attributed to those people because some special nature of duties are being
discharged by them. For example, Indian Army Navy, and Indian Air Force are those such
special personnel who will discharge special functions but not general in nature. If those
people commit any wrongs while discharging their official duties, they be prosecuted under
the special enactments specially framed by the parliament(Indian Army Act,1950 and Navy
Act,1957 etc.,) to have speedy disposals. They be prosecuted before special courts which
are specially constituted but not before regular courts.
 Wherever special laws are applicable, general law will not come into picture.
 So IPC is the consolidation of list of offences with prescribed punishments. As briefed earlier,
it consists of 511 sections divided into 23 chapters. For the convenient study, it is broadly
categorised into 6 parts.
 The 6 parts are: (i) Introduction (Sections 1-5)
(ii) Definitions (Sections 6-52A)
(iii) Punishments (53-75)
(iv) General defences (76-106)
(v) General offences (107-120A&B)
(vi) Specific offences (121-to end)
Before discussing the above, let us know the importance of some general implicatons in the code.
 In the this regard general we need to stare at the following
 3. Importance of mensrea
 Mensrea means having evil intention, ill intention, criminal intention or bad intention. There is
a quotation in criminal law that is Actus nonfacet reum nis mensitrea. An act becomes a crime
if it is coupled with mensrea. It means an act will not become a crime unless and until it is
coupled with ill intention. An act may be physical act or deed. An act includes omission also. It
means omitting to do something which ought to be done may also amount to crime if it is not
done. For example, where if a person is asked by a police to give the address of an accused
who is suspected to have committed a crime living in that vicinity, knowingly and wantonly if
the person is not giving the address as sought by the police then the person has committed one
the offences given in the code. If a person with ill intention and bad intention did some
wrongful act, such an act becomes a crime otherwise no. If an act is done without any malafide
intention or ill intention but still if resulted any harm to others, then it may amount to civil
wrong but not crime. And accordingly a civil suit may lie to claim damages.
 Let us understand the importance of mensrea in the form of an equation
 Act + Mensrea = Crime
 Act – Mensrea = Civil wrong ( Tort)
 So mensrea is must to constitute the word crime or offence.
 4. Motive Relevancy
 Motive has no relevancy in crimes. Motive means ulterior aims. The object of doing
something. The purpose and ultimate object sought to be derived by a person commonly
understood as motive. It is in otherwords,what the criminal ultimately sought in his
mind to achieve. It means, suppose, A and B are good business partners since a long
time. But after a period of time some issues developed between them. A has been trying
to find out an opportunity to take over the entire business for which he has been
planning to kill B. One fine day he killed B. Here we can find two elements, they are
Motive and intention. Motive is taking over the business because of tugs and killing the
person is the intention. Sometimes motives may be good but the intentions adopted to
reach to the motives may be wrong making the whole thing as crime.
 Example1: A has committed theft of a loaf of bread from a shop to feed his child who
had been starving of food for the past two days who is 2 year old. Here the motive is to
feed the boy and satisfy his hunger. That is good only. But the intention adopted to reach
his goal is bad that is stealing. It has made the whole act the as an offence. That is theft.
 So motive is not the criteria in criminal law, we are looking into only the immediate acts
employed to reach to the ultimate aims. That only will be taken into consideration to
decide whether the act amounts to offence or not.
 Example2: A and B are wife and husbands got married 4 years ago. For the past one year they
are quarrelling with each other and B, the husband been beating A the wife and she been put to
so much humiliation. C, the brother of A, wanted to save her sister and finally killed his brother
in law B. Here the motive of C may be good that is to protect and save his sister. But to reach to
that motive, he resorted to bad mechanism that is killing. It is an offence under IPC i.e.
Murder(Sec.302) . So motive is not the criteria in criminal law, we are looking only into the
immediate intentions employed to reach to the ultimate aims. That only will be taken into
consideration to decide whether the act amounts to offence or not.
 Therefore motives are different and intentions are different. Motive has no relevancy in
criminal law but for few exceptions but intentions be overly emphasised
 4. Intention and Motive
 Intention may be defined as the application of the mind to draw the immediate results. Driving
the mind to do the next immediate things to derive the desired result can be called as Intention.
In other words resorting to immediate action plan to get the result. For example, A and B are
rivals. They met on a public place. The moment, they have seen each other, A has searched for a
strong weapon to hit B. accordingly he picked up a rod nearby, and hit him on the vital part of
the body resulting in his death. It is an offence. Here, the intention of the person can be clearly
drawn. That is to kill. It could be inferred from the situation, what type of weapon he took, and
on what part of body he has hit. So they are conveying the meaning that he has strong intention
to kill. Motive may be killing. But to get it done, he employed such a powerful weapon and
struck on a vital part. That is enough to constitute the offence of Murder.
 Let us take one more example Mr.A wanted to kill B, a young boy backed up by so much
property and since having no parents and other siblings. To kill him, A has purchased some
poison from the shop and mixed it in a cup of milk and offered to B. B drank and subsequently
died because of poisonous milk. Here, the intention of A is very clear in drawing his mind.
Purchasing poison, mixing it in milk and offering to B are clearly revealing his intention to kill
B. so it is an offence of murder.
 In the same example, if A without knowledge offered the poisonous milk to B, A cannot be
punished for murder since he had no intention to kill B.
 So intention plays a vital role in fixing punishment upon the accused.
 However, the word ‘intention’ is a mental element. It is not in explicit mode. One has to struggle
to draw the mental attitude of the person. It is not that easy to draw the mental element of the
person associated with him. If any act is done through some words spoken, it may be easy to
draw his mind. If not so, it is a big task for the prosecutors to prove it and drag the guilty to
behind the bars.
 Therefore, to draw such intentions of the persons, the investigating officers will usually focus on
the surrounding circumstances, the accused person’s back ground, his or her local area, his or her
brought up conditions, his/her friends and enemy circle everything be gathered to draw his
mental intentions.
 5. Stages of Crime
 Till now, discussed as to the importance of Intention in the commission of crime.
 Now let us see whether merely having intention in the mind to commit a crime does
constitute an offence?
 Merely having intention in the mind to commit a crime cannot drag him to the court.
 So the law has laid down certain stages in the commission of a crime and to determine at
which stage the guilty can be punished. All the stages may not receive the
let us go to the stages of crime.
 Stages of crime:
1. Intention
2. Preparation
3. Attempt
4. and Actual commission
 Now let us see the first stage that is “Intention”. Intention means having some
feelings or having some thoughts. It is not punishable stage. It is because merely
having some ill intention without any further act to make it practical does not
constitute any offence. Intention is simply a mental feeling. Mere feelings can not
be punished. In pursuance of our feelings some overt act should have been done.
Then only it constitutes crime.
 For example, if Mr.A is having some vengeance against B and thought of killing
him if he gets a chance. But though number of chances have come, he never tried.
So law cannot punish him merely having intention in his mind to kill.
 Second stage is “Preparation”. Preparation means doing some act in furtherance of
one’s intentions. Where the person is accumulating some equipment or gathering
some material for the commission of an offence, then also it is not punishable in
all the cases but punishable for certain kind of offences. For example, A bought
poison to give to B and kept it in a cupboard. But he never applied. A is not
 But the offences like waging war against the state under Sec.121, commission of
dacoity under Section 391, preparation to commit counterfeit coins etc., are
punishable at the preparation stage itself.
 The third stage is “Attempt”. It means, after framing some thought in the mind, and
after accumulating some material for the commission of the offence, where the person
has gone one step further and did some act in course of the commission of the offence
but unfortunately could not get it materialised, is the stage of Attempt. So under
Attempt, he put every effort to commit the crime but unfortunately could not finish the
offence. For example, A standing behind the bush with a loaded rifle pointed at X who
is standing at a distance and enjoying the scenery. The moment A triggered, X got
lightly injured but escaped. But the bullet hit a bird and thereby killed. In this instance,
A has committed the offence of Attempt to Murder. Almost all attempts where IPC has
prescribed in the specific sections are punishable. But certain attempts which are not
covered under the respective sections, IPC is penalising them under Section
 The last stage is “Actual commission”. It is always punishable only. Actual commission
is nothing but literally committing the act. Once the physical act is done, automatically
it attracts punishment under the code provided it is done with mensrea.