Chapter II: General Explanations (Section 6 – 52A)

Section 6: Definitions in the Code to be understood subject to exceptions.—

Throughout this Code every definition of an offence, every penal provision, and every illustration of every such definition or penal provision, shall be understood subject to the exceptions contained in the Chapter entitled “General Exceptions”, though those exceptions are not repeated in such definition, penal provision, or illustration.

Section 7: Sense of expression once explained.—

Every expression which is explained in any part of this Code, is used in every part of this Code in conformity with the explanation.

Section 8: Gender.—

The pronoun “he” and its derivatives are used of any person, whether male or female.

Section 9: Number.—

Unless the contrary appears from the context, words importing the singular number include the plural number, and words importing the plural number include the singular number.

Section 10: “Man”. “Woman”.—

The word “man” denotes a male human being of any age; the word “woman” denotes a female human being of any age.

Section 11: “Person”.—

The word “person” includes any Company or Association or body of persons, whether incorporated or not.

Section 12: “Public”.—

The word “public” includes any class of the public or any community.

Section 13:

[Definition of “Queen”.] Omitted by the A. O. 1950.

Section 14. “Servant of Government”.—

The words “servant of Government” denote any officer or servant servant continued, appointed or employed in India by or under the authority of Government.

Section 15:

[Definition of “British India”.] Rep. by the A. O. 1937.

Section 16:

[Definition of “Government of India”.] Rep., ibid.

Section 17: “Government”.—

The word “Government” denotes the Central Government or the Government of a State.

Section 18: “India”.

India” means the territory of India excluding the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Section 19: “Judge”.

The word “Judge” denotes not only every person who is officially designated as a Judge, but also every person.

who is empowered by law to give, in any legal proceeding, civil or criminal, a definitive judgment, or a judgment which, if not appealed against, would be definitive, or a judgment which, if confirmed by some other authority, would be definitive, or

who is one of a body or persons, which body of persons is empowered by law to give such a judgment.

Section 20: “Court of Justice”.—

The words “Court of Justice” denote a Judge who is empowered by law to act judicially alone, or a body of Judges which is empowered by law to act judicially as a body, when such Judge or body of Judges is acting judicially.

Section 21: “Public servant”.—

The words “public servant” denote a person falling under any of the descriptions hereinafter following, namely:

Second.Every Commissioned Officer in the Military, Naval or Air Forces of India;

Third.Every Judge including any person empowered by law to discharge, whether by himself or as a member of any body of persons, any adjudicatory functions;

Fourth.Every officer of a Court of Justice 1(including a liquidator, receiver or commissioner) whose duty it is, as such officer, to investigate or report on any matter of law or fact, or to make, authenticate, or keep any document, or to take charge or dispose of any property, or to execute any judicial process, or to administer any oath, or to interpret, or to preserve order in the Court, and every person specially authorised by a Court of Justice to perform any of such duties;

Fifth.Every juryman, assessor, or member of a panchayat assisting a Court of Justice or public servant;

Sixth.Every arbitrator or other person to whom any cause or matter has been referred for decision or report by any Court of Justice, or by any other competent public authority;

Seventh.Every person who holds any office by virtue of which he is empowered to place or keep any person in confinement;

Eighth.Every officer of the Government whose duty it is, as such officer, to prevent offences, to give information of offences, to bring offenders to justice, or to protect the public health, safety or convenience;

Ninth.Every officer whose duty it is as such officer, to take, receive, keep or expend any property on behalf of the Government, or to make any survey, assessment or contract on behalf of the Government, or to execute any revenue-process, or to investigate, or to report, on any matter affecting the pecuniary interests of the Government, or to make, authenticate or keep any document relating to the pecuniary interests of 1[the Government], or to prevent the infraction of any law for the protection of the pecuniary interests of the Government;

Tenth.Every officer whose duty it is, as such officer, to take, receive, keep or expend any property, to make any survey or assessment or to levy any rate or tax for any secular common purpose of any village, town or district, or to make, authenticate or keep any document for the ascertaining of the rights of the people of any village, town or district;

Eleventh.Every person who holds any office in virtue of which he is empowered to prepare, publish, maintain or revise an electoral roll or to conduct an election or part of an election;

Twelfth.Every person

  1. in the service or pay of the Government or remunerated by fees or commission for the performance of any public duty by the Government;

  2. in the service or pay of a local authority, a corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act or a  Government  company  as  defined in section 617 of  the Companies  Act, 1956 (1 of 1956).

Section 22: “Movable property”.

The words “movable property” are intended to include corporeal property of every description, except land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which is attached to the earth.

Section 23: “Wrongful gain”.

Wrongful gain” is gain by unlawful means of property to which the person gaining is not legally entitled.

“Wrongful loss”.

“Wrongful loss” is the loss by unlawful means of property to which the person losing it is legally entitled.

Gaining wrongfully/Losing wrongfully.—

A person is said to gain wrongfully when such person retains wrongfully, as well as when such person acquires wrongfully. A person is said to lose wrongfully when such person is wrongfully kept out of any property, as well as when such person is wrongfully deprived of property.

Section 24: “Dishonestly”.

Whoever does anything with the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person, is said to do that thing “dishonestly”.

Section 25: “Fraudulently”.—

A person is said to do a thing fraudulently if he does that thing with intent to defraud but not otherwise.

Section 26: “Reason to believe”.—

A person is said to have “reason to believe” a thing, if he has sufficient cause to believe that thing but not otherwise.

Section 27: “Property in possession of wife, clerk or servant”.

When property is in the possession of a person’s wife, clerk or servant, on account of that person, it is in that person’s possession within the meaning of this Code.

Explanation.A person employed temporarily or on a particular occasion in the capacity of a clerk  or servant, is a clerk or servant within the meaning of this section.

Section 28: “Counterfeit”.

A person is said to “counterfeit” who causes one thing to resemble another thing, intending by means of that resemblance to practise deception, or knowing it to be likely that deception will thereby be practised.

Explanation 1.It is not essential to counterfeiting that the imitation should be exact.

Explanation 2.When a person causes one thing to resemble another thing, and the resemblance is such that a person might be deceived thereby, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the person so causing the one thing to resemble the other thing intended by means of that resemblance to practise deception or knew it to be likely that deception would thereby be practised.

Section 29: “Document”.—

The word “document” denotes any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks, or by more than one of those means, intended to be used, or which may be used, as evidence of that matter.

Explanation 1.It is immaterial by what means or upon what substance the letters, figures or marks are formed, or whether the evidence is intended for, or may be used in, a Court of Justice, or not.

Explanation 2.Whatever is expressed by means of letters, figures or marks as explained by mercantile or other usage, shall be deemed to be expressed by such letters, figures or marks within the meaning of this section, although the same may not be actually expressed.

Section 29A: “Electronic record”.

The words “electronic record” shall have the meaning assigned to them in clause (t) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000).

Section 30: “Valuable security”.—

The words “valuable security” denote a document which is, or purports to be, a document whereby any legal right is created, extended, transferred, restricted, extinguished or released, or whereby any person acknowledges that he lies under legal liability, or has not a certain legal right.

Section 31: “A will”.

The words “a will” denote any testamentary document.

Section 32: Words referring to acts include illegal omissions.

In every part of this Code, except where a contrary intention appears from the context, words which refer to acts done extend also to illegal omissions.

Section 33: “Act”. “Omission”.

The word “act” denotes as well as series of acts as a single act: the word “omission” denotes as well a series of omissions as a single omission.

Section 34: 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.

Section 35: When such an act is criminal by reason of its being done with a criminal knowledge or intention.—

Whenever an act, which is criminal only by reason of its being done with a criminal knowledge or intention, is done by several persons, each of such persons who joins in the act with such knowledge or intention is liable for the act in the same manner as if the act were done by him alone with that knowledge or intention.

Section 36: Effect caused partly by act and partly by omission.

Wherever the causing of a certain effect, or an attempt to cause that effect, by an act or by an omission, is an offence, it is to be understood that the causing of that effect partly by an act and partly by an omission is the same offence.

Section 37: Co-operation by doing one of several acts constituting an offence.

When an offence is committed by means of several acts, whoever intentionally co-operates in the commission of that offence by doing any one of those acts, either singly or jointly with any other person, commits that offence.

Section 38: Persons concerned in criminal act may be guilty of different offences.

Where several persons are engaged or concerned in the commission of a criminal act, they may be guilty of different offences by means of that act.

Section 39: “Voluntarily”.—

A person is said to cause an effect “voluntarily” when he causes it by means whereby he intended to cause it, or by means which, at the time of employing those means, he knew or had reason to believe to be likely to cause it.

Section 40: “Offence”.—

Except in the Chapters and sections mentioned in clauses 2 and 3 of this section, the word “offence” denotes a thing made punishable by this Code.

In Chapter IV, Chapter VA and in the following sections, namely, sections 64, 65, 66, 67, 71, 109, 110, 112, 114, 115, 116, 117,118, 119 and 120 187, 194, 195, 203, 211, 213, 214, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 347, 348, 388, 389 and 445, the word “offence” denotes a thing punishable under this Code, or under any special or local law as hereinafter defined.

And in sections 141, 176, 177, 201, 202, 212, 216 and 441, the word “offence” has the same meaning when the thing punishable under the special or local law is punishable under such law with imprisonment for a term of six months or upwards, whether with or without fine.

Section 41: “Special law”.

A “special law” is a law applicable to a particular subject.

Section 42: “Local law”.

A “local law” is a law applicable only to a particular part of India.

Section 43: “Illegal”. “Legally bound to do”.

The word “illegal” is applicable to everything which is an offence or which is prohibited by law, or which furnishes ground for a civil action; and a person is said to be “legally bound to do” whatever it is illegal in him to omit.

Section 44: “Injury”.

The word “injury” denotes any harm whatever illegally caused to any person, in body, mind, reputation or property.

Section 45: “Life”.

The word “life” denotes the life of a human being, unless the contrary appears from the context.

Section 46: “Death”.

The word “death” denotes the death of a human being unless the contrary appears from the context.

Section 47: “Animal”.

The word “animal” denotes any living creature, other than a human being.

Section 48: “Vessel”.

The word “vessel” denotes anything made for the conveyance by water of human beings or of property.

Section 49: “Year”. “Month”.

Wherever the word “year” or the word “month” is used, it is to be understood that the year or the month is to be reckoned according to the British calendar.

Section 50: “Section”.

The word “section” denotes one of those portions of a Chapter of this Code which are distinguished by prefixed numeral figures.

Section 51: “Oath”.

The word “oath” includes a solemn affirmation substituted by law for an oath, and any declaration required or authorised by law to be made before a public servant or to be used for the purpose of proof, whether in a Court of Justice or not.

Section 52: “Good faith”.

Nothing is said to be done or believed in “good faith” which is done or believed without due care and attention.

Section 52A: “Harbour”.

Except in section 157, and in section 130 in the case in which the harbour is given by the wife or husband of the person harboured, the word “harbour” includes the supplying a person with shelter, food, drink, money, clothes, arms, ammunition or means of conveyance, or the assisting a person by any means, whether of the same kind as those enumerated in this section or not, to evade apprehension.


1. ‘Intent to defraud’ and ‘Intent to deceive’

S. Dutt (Dr.) v. State of U.P., AIR 1966 SC 523 : “……… a mere acting to one’s discomfort or discomfiture would not suffice. For the present it is sufficient to say that the words “with intent to defraud” in the section indicate not a bare intent to deceive but an intent to cause a person to act or omit to act, as a result of deception played upon him, to his disadvantage. This is the most extensive meaning that may be given to the expression “with intent to defraud” in our Penal Code and the words “but not otherwise” clearly show that the words “intent to defraud” are not synonymous with the words “intent to deceive” and require some action resulting in some disadvantage which but for the deception, the person deceived would have avoided.”

2. Admissibility of a document procured improperly

Magraj Patodia v. R.K. Birla, (1970) 2 SCC 888: “……..the fact that a document was procured by improper or even illegal means will not be a bar to its admissibility if it is relevant and its genuineness proved. But while examining the proof given as to its genuineness the circumstances under which it came to be produced into Court have to be taken into consideration.….

3. Ingredients of Section 34

Surendra Chauhan v. State of M.P., (2000) 4 SCC 110: “Under Section 34 a person must be physically present at the actual commission of the crime for the purpose of facilitating or promoting the offence, the commission of which is the aim of the joint criminal venture. Such presence of those who in one way or the other facilitate the execution of the common design is itself tantamount to actual participation in the criminal act. The essence of Section 34 is simultaneous consensus of the minds of persons participating in the criminal action to bring about a particular result. Such consensus can be developed at the spot and thereby intended by all of them. (Ramaswami Ayyangar v. State of T.N. [(1976) 3 SCC 779 : 1976 SCC (Cri) 518] ) The existence of a common intention can be inferred from the attending circumstances of the case and the conduct of the parties. No direct evidence of common intention is necessary. For the purpose of common intention even the participation in the commission of the offence need not be proved in all cases. The common intention can develop even during the course of an occurrence. (Rajesh Govind Jagesha v. State of Maharashtra [(1999) 8 SCC 428 : 1999 SCC (Cri) 1452] .) To apply Section 34 IPC apart from the fact that there should be two or more accused, two factors must be established: (i) common intention, and (ii) participation of the accused in the commission of an offence. If a common intention is proved but no overt act is attributed to the individual accused, Section 34 will be attracted as essentially it involves vicarious liability but if participation of the accused in the crime is proved and a common intention is absent, Section 34 cannot be invoked. In every case, it is not possible to have direct evidence of a common intention. It has to be inferred from the facts and circumstances of each case.”