17 Legal Provisions of IPC Everyone must know

Introduction

We encounter a lot of criminal activities around us on daily basis. Instances like passing nasty comments to a girl, snatching phones, drink and drive are something we all are familiar with. In a society like ours where we come across different criminal activities in our day-to-day life, statute like The Indian Penal Code becomes a backbone of criminal justice administration.

Indian Penal Code has covered substantive aspects of criminal law and has several provisions dealing with various offences. Other acts which come together for complete justice administration in criminal cases are The Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 and The Indian Evidence Act,1872.

Provisions of IPC that Everyone must know

Abetting a crime is equally punishable

Section 107

As per this provision, abetting an offence is equally punishable. A person abets a thing when he instigates any person to do that thing or engages with other person in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing and if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.

Fraudulent use of false instrument for weighing

Section 264

If any person fraudulently uses any false instrument for weighing, then he can be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. So, next time a shopkeeper tries to be over smart with you, then you know which section to tell him!

Public nuisance

Section 268

Public nuisance is an offence under section 268 of IPC. It is generally against the public as whole and not against any specific person. When a person commits any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public, then he is said to cause public nuisance. Examples of public nuisance are harboring vicious dogs, fireworks in the street, polluting the water streams etc.

Murder

Section 300

Murder is probably the first word which come in our mind when we think about crime. Murder as defined under IPC 300, is one of the most heinous crimes. It is punishable with either death or with life imprisonment and fine, depending on the nature and gravity of the offence committed.

A culpable homicide is considered as murder if:

  • The act is committed with an intention to cause death.
  • The act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury which the offender has knowledge that it would result in death.
  • The person has the knowledge that his act is dangerous and would cause death or bodily injury but still commits the act, this would amount to murder.
Exceptions

There are certain exceptions such as sudden and grave provocation, death caused while exercising right to self-defense, sudden fights, express consent and a public officer discharging his duties. In these cases, the death of a person is treated as culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In a leading case of K.M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra, a test was determined to recognize sudden and grave provocation. It is to be seen that whether any other reasonable man having the same capacity and belonging to the same class or sections of society if placed in the same situations as accused would also be provoked.

Rash and negligent act

Section 304 A

According to this provision, if a person causes the death of another person by doing a negligent or rash act which does not amount to culpable homicide, then he is liable for rash and negligent act. He shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of a maximum of two years, or with fine, or with both.

Essential elements for this offence are that there must be some duty on part of defendant which has been breached and death is the direct result of that negligence or recklessness.

For example, a person is carrying a baby and throw him on the ground which resulted in death. Now, the person may not have intention of killing the child but had sufficient knowledge about what could happen due to his act and hence liable for rash and negligent act.

Dowry death

Section 304B

Dowry is a common word in Indian society and so have become ‘dowry deaths’. Essential elements of this section are that a woman should have died of burns or other bodily injuries or “otherwise than under normal circumstances” within seven years of her marriage.

She should have suffered cruelty or harassment from her husband or in-laws “soon before her death” and such cruelty shall be in connection with demand for dowry. It is punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.

Abetment to suicide

Section 306

With the rising cases of suicide in our country, this provision has gained an immense importance in today’s scenario. Abet means to help, support, assist, instigate, intentionally aids or encourage someone to do something. It is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine. This offence is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Sessions.

Wrongful restraint

Section 339

If a person obstructs another person from moving one place to another where he has right to be, then it is said to wrongfully restraint a person. It means to prevent a person from moving in a direction in which he wants to and has a right to do so.

It is punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or which fine may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

Sexual harassment

Section 354A

If a man commits physical contact, advances unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures, a demand or request of sexual favors, shows pornography against the will of a woman or makes sexually colored remarks then it falls under this section dealing with sexual harassment of a woman. Punishment can range from imprisonment of one to three years or fine or both depending upon the gravity of the act.

Voyeurism

Section 354C

With rise in technology and accessibility to smartphones, offences like voyeurism have gained momentum. As per this provision, any man who watches or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed by any person, then such man is liable for the offence of voyeurism. It is punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than one year and extendable to three years and fine.

Stalking

Section 354D

We use the word ‘stalking’ very casually but it is a fact that stalking is an offence and attracts penal provisions. As per this provision, any man who follows or contacts or attempt to contact any woman to foster personal interaction even when the woman has clearly indicated about her disinterest or monitors the use of internet etc. is liable for stalking. It is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Rape

Section 375

  • As per section 375, a rape is said to have been committed when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman-
  • Against her will;
  • Without her express consent;
  • By obtaining her consent by force, or threatening to kill or hurt her or someone she cares about;
  • By making her believe that the man has been lawfully married to her;
  • By obtaining her consent during unsoundness of her mind, when she was intoxicated, or by providing any other substances that might affect her decision-making ability;
  • With or without her consent if she is under 16 years old, and 14 years old in case of Manipur.

This clause also states that mere penetration is sufficient to constitute sexual intercourse, which can be treated as rape.

Nirbhaya case was one of the leading cases which resulted in mass awareness regarding this issue and lead to several reforms. The scope of definition of rape was widened and forceful insertion of foreign objects was also included under its ambit. The punishment for rape depends upon facts and circumstances of each case ranging from imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 years, which may extend up to life imprisonment.

Theft

Section 378

Theft can be defined as dishonest removal of moveable property ‘out of the possession of any person’ without the consent of that person. Intention is one of the most important elements of theft and hence plays a major role while deciding the liability. It is punishable with either imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

Cheating

Section 415

In simple words, cheating is fraudulently or dishonestly deceiving a person to do or omits to do an act which results in harm or cause loss to that person in body, mind, reputation or property. All these elements should be connected with each other to constitute the offence of cheating. It is punishable with imprisonment for a term of one year or fine or both.

House trespass

Section 442

When a person trespasses into the property where a man resides and stores his belonging, then it becomes an aggravated form of criminal trespass i.e., house trespass. It becomes even more aggravated if its in night.

So, next time your neighbor trespasses your property, then you know now that which offense it is.

Defamation

Section 499

According to this law, any person who by spoken or written, signs or visible gestures creates or publishes any imputation on any person with an intention to harm the reputation of that person, then he is liable for the offence of defamation. Intention plays a major role in cases of defamation.

For example, if a friend spread false allegations about you which results in harm to your reputation and which in turn also impacts your business, then such case falls under the category of defamation.

Misconduct in public by drunk person

Section 510

If a person, in state of intoxication, in any public space or any other place which is a trespass , and conducts himself in a manner which is annoyance to any person in that place, then it is an offence under section 510 of the Indian Penal Code.

It is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 24 hours or fine or both.

General Defences

There are several defences available to a person in cases where he had no intention to do such unlawful act. Section 76 to 106 deals with these general defences. Some of the most used provisions are discussed below.

According to section 80, any act is not an offence which is done by accident or misfortune, without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful actwith proper care and caution and in a lawful manner by lawful means.

As per law stated in section 82, nothing is an offence committed by a child below seven years of age. So, even if a child below seven years of age kills someone, he won’t be liable.

According to section 84, any act done by a person who is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law by reason of unsoundness of mind, at that time of performing it, is not an offence.

As per provision of section 81, nothing is an offence merely by reason of its being done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause harm if it is done without any criminal intention to cause harm, and in good faith for the purpose of preventing or avoiding other harm to person or property.

Private defence is also one of the widely used exceptions. It is mentioned in section 96 to 106. There are several conditions which needs to be fulfilled as per each situation but it is essential that the act done in exercising this right of private defence should be reasonable.

Conclusion

The Indian Penal Code is highly detailed statute and contains various provisions and each provision holds a great importance in society and its functioning. The provisions discussed in this article are just general provisions about which every layman should be aware of so that he can exercise his rights freely.


What is IPC?

IPC stands for Indian Penal Code, 1860.

What is IPC about?

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.

Who is the father of IPC?

The code was drafted on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay who is considered as the father of IPC.

How many sections are there in IPC?

There are 511 Sections in IPC.

Why is IPC so important?

In a society like ours where we come across different criminal activities in our day-to-day life, statute like The Indian Penal Code becomes a backbone of criminal justice administration since they cover the punishment of various crimes and the various defences that are available.

Author

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    Ayesha is a final year law student from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. she has a keen interest in socio legal dimensions of various issues and likes to spread smiles.

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