The first Chapter in the Indian Penal Code, 1860, basically set off the tone of the Code by incorporating provisions as to the nature of the offences. This Chapter, along with the Preamble, covers the extent of the Act and its applicability.
To make the Code more coherent and also to decrease the chances of misinterpretations, the Code is generally explained without prejudice. This Chapter deals with explaining definitions of the subject matter which the courts need to deal with during the course of proceedings. This is the precise reason why the Code, for fluidity and for less hassles has defined every aspect, “generally”.
The very essence or the “ends” to this Code is the part where the crime is culminated with pronouncement of a punishment or lessening of it. Taking its cue from all the theories (viz. Reformative/ Retributive/ Deterrent/ Preventive) of punishment, this chapter metes out the perfect semblance to it and thus is one of the most important parts of the entire Code.
The general and the popular notion is that a person is presumed to know the nature and the consequences of the act that he does and therefore is responsible, directly for it. However, being students of law and also being well aware of the actual state of affairs, we, more often than not know that various kinds of acts will not necessarily lead to culpability of the said individual. This chapter thus deals with the acts (exceptions) which are exempted from the category of offences in the Code. Two types of exceptions are considered here: A) excusable and B) justifiable exceptions. These will be dealt in a detailed manner further.
No criminal act is done in isolation and since every crime is against the State, each cog to the wheel responsible for a crime should be broken down. Hence, comes the concept of abetting, in lay man terms: of ‘assisting’. The provisions in this chapter not only defines who an abettor is, but also sets out the punishment one faces when he/she is so crucial to the crime so much that it was like he/she who actually committed the crime and not the person who is in picture.
This chapter emphasizes on the importance of “meeting of minds”, however for either an illegal act or a legal one with illegal means. This chapter further explains the necessary requirements to fulfill criminal conspiracy and talks about the punishment, too.
Every crime is against the society at large and the involvement of State is thus justified. However, few acts are done just to make the crumble and create a system of anarchy and chaos throughout. Time and again, it has been since how some sections of the society try to disrupt the peace and disregard the State either due to personal vendetta or via some external instigation. To make sure that the machinery of the State remains intact and not fall into the hands of anti-state establishments. Even though some sections in these chapters are of archaic nature, the very essence of protecting the form and body of the State should not be underestimated.
Our country’s defence forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) are responsible for protecting us from both external and internal threats to the nation. It is in this light, any act done to destabilize these establishments by criminal doings amounts to culpability.
To make sure every citizen and other members of the general public, don’t feel the terror in their minds by the uncouth behaviour of a select few, this chapter deals with provisions to make sure that no one who tries to destroy the peaceful nature of the public shall be exempted.
Public servants are the harbingers of peace and tranquility in any democratic country. The trust of the citizenry is vested upon these public servants and thus when they act in an illegal capacity or try to abuse their power, either by graft or undue influence, the relevant provisions of this chapter are attracted.
Elections are the big cultural, bigger than life even in any democracy where the public are the sole maker/breaker of their fate. Hence, anything done to mar the image of a sanctimonious face of the elections is frowned upon. This Chapter, very comprehensively and in plain language elucidates the offences thus caused by either a candidate or any other vital cog in the election machinery.
The public vests its powers in the lawfully appointed authorities and any step against in contradiction to their orders would result in contempt. Contempt of the lawful authority is basically non approval and raises the very question of disregarding the authorities. This Chapter, thus, in total consists of provisions which would attract culpability as enumerated in the Code. Non-compliance of the lawful authorities should not be tolerated since it raises doubts in the minds of the citizenry and dents confidence of the aggrieved.
Every accused person who has done an act to attract punishment-since evidence is vital for prosecution- and has tampered with the evidence should be culpable for the same. Speedy and smooth rendering of justice includes procurement of true evidence. Therefore, this Chapter, focuses on bringing speedy end to the trial, any abrogation is met with culpability.
This Chapter talks, in essence, talks about counterfeiting either coins or government stamps. Since counterfeiting either of the either coins and government stamps create a havoc for the public and the governments alike, it carries with it punishments under the Code. Rising cases of counterfeits have been detected over the recent past and to curb the menace it creates on the exchequer, the provisions mentioned in this Chapter are of utmost importance.
Fraudulent measures partaken in transactions involving weights are dealt herewith. Thus, a person, relying upon such practices will be culpable enough to the extent of his fallacy.
CHAPTER XIV: OF OFFENCES RELATING TO THE HEALTH, SAFETY, CONVENIENCE, DECENCY AND MORALS (SECTION 268 – 294A)
Public health and life is the main priority of the State. Our laws will always be in consonance with keeping the public safe of any external stimuli which might put it under jeopardy. To ward off such behaviour of others and protect the public, and ultimately the society, at large, the provisions of this Chapter safeguards the rights of the public.
India, as given in its Preamble is a Secular country. Every religion is respected here and so is everyone’s right of practicing their own religion. However, being so emotionally attached to religion inherently, few among the citizens try to abuse it and cause disrupt peace. Everyone’s right to practice their own religion nowhere implies to demean someone else’s, whatever the excuse be.
In this Chapter, we shall see the range of crimes and their punishments for the grievous acts done involving the human body.
Any wrongful gain of property by anyone over someone’s legitimate claim to that said property ( wether movable or immovable ) sans consent is taken into consideration in this Chapter.
This Chapter extends the scope of the Code to properties which are both tangible and intangible (including Intellectual Properties). The basic aim and objective of this Chapter is to involve the culpability of persons in this tech savvy day and age, where counterfeiting of documents, intellectual properties, etc. is super easy and profitable.
A contract, is in itself between two persons. However, any abrogation resulting in wrongful gain to one and wrongful loss to another person, coupled with a criminal intent, will result in punishment.
Home is a place, that cellular abode to any person where the seeds to his life is laid down. To protect the sanctity and the sanguine environment, both at home and the society, any offence committed during/prior to wedlock is bad in law.
Added via the 1983 Amendment, this Chapter aims at tackling the vice of dowry deaths which is still prevalent in modern day India. The introduction of the provisions in this Chapter gave a new “dimension” to the concept of cruelty and walking on a tightrope with the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, this Chapter aims at eradicating the menace of dowry infused deaths in the country.
One of the most intriguing Chapter in this Code, Defamation is both a tort as well as a crime. A gift from the colonial past and still holding the roots of our ageing criminal justice system, the offence of defamation and its punishment has been facing a lot of flak from academicians and other members of the society due to its reach.
This Chapter deals with any threats given to a person by someone which might injure his person, property or reputation. Similarly, disrupting the public harmony by intentionally provoking any person is also covered under this Chapter. Any misbehaviour caused by a drunken person in public, resulting in the ultimate disruption of peace is also covered in this Chapter.
Taking prospective action and also deter the perpetrators, the Code, with the help of this Chapter makes even the attempting of any criminal act as being bad in law. Since the criminal jurisprudence resolves around both the mental and physical acts, the provision in this Chapter tries to decipher the criminal liability based even on “attempt” and not necessarily the act coming into fruition.