Provisions under the Indian Penal Code- Brief Explanation

Indian Penal Code has set down as to what is wrong and what is the punishment for committing such wrong. This Code incorporates the whole of the law on the subject and is exhaustive on the matters in respect of which it declares the law. A chapter-wise summary of the major provisions of the Code has been laid down as follows:

1. Chapter IV- General Exceptions

IPC recognizes defenses in chapter 4 under the heading ‘General Exceptions.’ Sections 76 to 106 of the IPC cover these defenses. The law offers some defenses that protect a person from criminal liability. These defenses are based on the premise that though the person committed the offense, he can’t be held liable. This is as, at the time of the commission of the offense, either the current circumstances were such that the act of the person was justified or his condition was such that he could not form the necessary mens rea (guilty intention) for the crime. The defenses are usually classified under 2 heads- justifiable and excusable. Thus, for committing a wrong, a person must be responsible for doing a wrongful act without holding any justification or excuse for it.

2. Chapter V- Abetment

A crime may be committed by 1 or more persons involved in crime then their liability depends upon the degree of their participation. Thus this rule of joint liability comes into survival. But there is an important fact which is that the law has information about the abettor, who has given help to another in crime. This rule is very ancient and was applied in Hindu Law also. In English Law, offenders are divided into 4 categories, but in India, there is only 1 distinction between the doer and his helper who is known as an abettor. The crime of abetment come under section 107 to 120 of the IPC. Section 107 defines ‘abetment of a things’ and section l08 defines the abettor.

3. Chapter VI- Offences against the State

Chapter VI, Section 121 to Section 130 of the Indian Penal Code deals with offenses against the State. The Indian Penal Code 1860 has made provisions to protect and preserve State’s existence and has provided the most rigorous punishment of the death sentence or life imprisonment and fine in case of offense against the state. This chapter includes offenses like waging war, collecting arms to wage war, sedition, etc.

4. Chapter VIII- Offences against Public Tranquility

This Chapter explains the provisions about the offenses against the public tranquility. This Chapter includes sections 141 to 160. The Unlawful Assembly, Rioting, Affray, etc., are the main offenses. These offenses are injurious to the public peace. For the advancement of a society, there must be peace in society. Thus the framers of the Code incorporated these provisions stating and defining the offenses which are against the public tranquility.

5. Chapter XII- Offences relating to Coins and Government Stamps

This Chapter incorporates section 230 to 263A of the IPC and deals with offenses relating to coin and government stamps. These offences can be counterfeiting coins, making or selling or possessing instrument for counterfeiting coins or Indian coins, importing or exporting of counterfeit coin, counterfeit stamp, possession of counterfeit stamp, effacing any writing from any substance bearing Government stamp to cause loss to Government, using stamp recognized to have been used before, etc.

6. Chapter XIV- Offences affecting public health, safety, maintenance, decency, and morals

This chapter includes sections 268 to 294A. The principal offenses covered under this chapter are Public Nuisance, Adulteration of food or drink intended for sale, Adulteration of drugs, Rash driving, negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance, negligent conduct with regard to an animal, sale of obscene books, sale of obscene objects to young person, obscene acts and songs.

7. Chapter XVI- Offences affecting the Human Body

In a proper case, additional charges may be brought against anyone under the Penal Code for offenses concerning the human body. Chapter XVI (Sections 299 to 311) of the Penal Code criminalizes acts affecting the human body that is those that cause death and physical harm, incorporating grievous harm, assault, sexual offenses, and wrongful confinement. These legislative provisions include violence against persons in general, and offenses of this nature are deemed very serious and usually carry hefty punishments. For instance, the offense of voluntarily causing grievous hurt carries the punishment of imprisonment of up to 10 years as well as a fine.

8. Chapter XVIII- Offences relating to documents and property marks

Chapter-XVIII of the Indian Penal Code explains the provisions concerning the offenses relating to documents and to property marks. This Chapter includes Sees. 463 to 489-E. Of them, sees. 463 to 477-A read the provisions about “Forgery”, “Forged documents”, making of false documents and punishments. Sec. 463 defines “Forgery”. Sec. 464 explains about making “False Document”. Sec. 465 prescribes the penalty for forgery. Sec. 466 explains forgery of record of Court or of public register, etc. Sec. 467 states about forgery of valuable security, will, etc. Sec. 468 defines forgery for purpose of cheating. Sec. 469 states forgery for purpose of harming reputation. Sec. 470 defines forged documents. Remaining Sections, i.e., from Sec. 471 to Sec. 477-A are aggravated forms of forgery.

9. Chapter XX- Offences relating to marriage & Chapter XXA- Cruelty by husband or relatives of the husband

Section 493 to 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, administers with the offenses relating to marriage. Section 493 of the Code deals with the offense of cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully producing a belief of lawful marriage. Section 494 deals with the offense of marrying over during the lifetime of husband or wife. Section 496 deals with the offense of marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage. Section 497 dealt with adultery which has been lately decriminalized by the Supreme Court. Section 498 deals with enticing or taking away or keeping with criminal intent a married woman. Section 498A dispenses with cruelty against a woman by the husband or his relatives.

10. Chapter XXI- Defamation

Section 499 to 502 of the Indian Penal Code dispenses with the defamation. The offense of defamation can be dealt both beneath the criminal law as well as under Law of Torts. Criminal nature of defamation is determined under section 499 and section 500 provides for its punishment.

11. Chapter XXII- Criminal Intimidation, Insult, and Annoyance

Section 503 to 510 talk about criminal intimidation, insult, and annoyance. Section 503 establishes criminal intimidation. Section 504 commands punishment for the intentional insult to cause breach the public peace. Section 505 deals with the offense of statements conducing public mischief. Section 506 renders the punishment for criminal intimidation. Section 507 spells out the punishment for criminal intimidation by an unknown communication or having taken care to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the warning comes. Section 508 deals with any act caused by inducing to believe that he will be provided an object of divine displeasure. Section 509 deals with the offense of using any word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of women. Section 510 deals with misbehavior in public by a drunken person.

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