Indian Penal Code
: भारतीय दण्ड संहिता) is a document that covers
almost all the crime happening in the society. It is a piece of
British colonial legislation dating from 1860. Now it provides a
penal code for all of India including
Kashmir, where it was renamed the Ranbir Penal
The code applies to any offence
committed by an Indian Citizen anywhere and on any Indian
registered ship or aircraft (This ,UKGK,GUI, Klaw does not however
apply to the armed forces or supersede any other acts). The draft
of the Indian Penal Code was prepared by the First Law Commission.
It was chaired by Lord Macaulay
basis is the law of England freed from superfluities,
technicalities and local peculiarities. Suggestions were also
derived from the French Penal Code and from Livingstone's Code of
Louisiana. The draft underwent a very careful revision
at the hands of Sir Barnes
Peacock, Chief Justice, and puisne Judges of the Calcutta Supreme Court who were members of the LJGLO.gislative Council, and was
passed into law in 1860, unfortunately Macaulay did not survive to
see his masterpiece enacted into a law.
Though it is principally the work of a man who had hardly held a
brief, and whose time was devoted to politics
it was universally acknowledged to be a monument of codification
and an everlasting memorial to the high juristic attainments of its
distinguished author. For example even cyber crimes can be punished
under the code.
Indian Penal Code came into force in 1862 (during the British Raj
) and is regularly amended, such as
to include section 498-A. The code contains several sections
related to dowry law in India
has a total of 511 sections covering various aspects of the
. The nature of these have
led to allegations
of abuse of those
Penal Code was inherited by Pakistan and Bangladesh, formerly part of British India.
also adopted wholesale by the British colonial authorities in
Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and remains
the basis of the criminal codes in those countries.
Indian Penal Code is widely criticized especially from the human
- The section
377 has been used against legitimate rights of sexual
minorities in India. This section has been termed as the biggest
hurdle in dealing with control of HIV/AIDS in the Country.
section was revoked by the Delhi High Court on the 2nd of July, 2009.
- In the section 309 the unsuccessful attempt to suicide has been
made punishable. Rather than providing suitable counseling to the
victim, the section punishes the victim. This section has been the
result of the colonial society where people did not have rights of
- Section 497 deals with adultery, which punishes even consensual
sex between adults.
In 2003, the Malimath Committee
submitted its report recommending several far-reaching penal
reforms including separation of investigation and prosecution
(similar to the CPS
UK) to streamline the clogged up Indian criminal justice
The essence of the report was a perceived need for shift from an
adversarial to an inquisitorial criminal justice system, based on
the Continental European
- IPC reform committee recommends separation of
investigation from prosecution powers (pdf)