The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Imperial Legislative Council
  • An Act to provide a general penal code for India
CitationAct No. 45 of 1860
Territorial extent India
Enacted byImperial Legislative Council
Enacted6 October 1860
Assented to6 October 1860
Commenced1 January 1862
Repealed1 July 2024
Committee reportFirst Law Commission
Amended by
see Amendments
Repealed by
Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita
Related legislation
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Status: Abrogated

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) was the official criminal code in the Republic of India, inherited from British India after independence, until it was repealed and replaced by Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) in December 2023, which came into effect on 1 July 2024. It was a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law. The code was drafted on the recommendations of the first Law Commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the chairmanship of Thomas Babington Macaulay.[1][2][3] It came into force in the subcontinent during the British rule in 1862. However, it did not apply automatically in the Princely states, which had their own courts and legal systems until the 1940s. The code was amended several times and was supplemented by other criminal provisions.

Litigation for all relevant offences committed before 1 July 2024 will continue to be registered under the IPC.[4]


The draft of the Indian Penal Code was prepared by the First Law Commission, chaired by Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1834 and was submitted to Governor-General of India Council in 1835. Based on a simplified codification of the law of England at the time, elements were also derived from the Napoleonic Code and Edward Livingston's Louisiana Civil Code of 1825. The first final draft of the Indian Penal Code was submitted to the Governor-General of India in Council in 1837, but the draft was again revised. The drafting was completed in 1850 and the code was presented to the Legislative Council in 1856, but it did not take its place on the statute book of British India until a generation later, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The draft then underwent a very careful revision at the hands of Barnes Peacock, who later became the first chief justice of the Calcutta High Court, and the future puisne judges of the Calcutta High Court, who were members of the Legislative Council, and was passed into law on 6 October 1860.[5] The code came into operation on 1 January 1862. Macaulay did not survive to see the penal code he wrote come into force, having died near the end of 1859. The code came into force in Jammu and Kashmir on 31 October 2019, by virtue of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, and replaced the state's Ranbir Penal Code.[6]

On 11 August 2023, the Government introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to replace the Indian Penal Code with a draft Code called the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS),[7]


The objective of this Act is to provide a general penal code for India.[8] Though not the initial objective, the Act does not repeal the penal laws which were in force at the time of coming into force in India. This was done because the code does not contain all the offences and it was possible that some offences might have still been left out of the code, which were not intended to be exempted from penal consequences. Though this code consolidates the whole of the law on the subject and is exhaustive on the matters in respect of which it declares the law, many more penal statutes governing various offences have been created in addition to the code.


The Indian Penal Code of 1860, subdivided into 23 chapters, comprises 511 sections. The code starts with an introduction, provides explanations and exceptions used in it, and covers a wide range of offences. The Outline is presented in the following table:[9]

INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860 (Sections 1 to 511)
Chapter Sections covered Classification of offences
Chapter I Sections 1 to 5 Introduction
Chapter II Sections 6 to 52 General Explanations
Chapter III Sections 53 to 75 Of Punishments
Chapter IV Sections 76 to 106 General Exceptions

of the Right of Private Defence (Sections 96 to 106)

Chapter V Sections 107 to 120 Of Abetment
Chapter VA Sections 120A to 120B Criminal Conspiracy
Chapter VI Sections 121 to 130 Of Offences against the State
Chapter VII Sections 131 to 140 Of Offences relating to the Army, Navy and Air Force
Chapter VIII Sections 141 to 160 Of Offences against the Public Tranquillity
Chapter IX Sections 161 to 171 Of Offences by or relating to Public Servants
Chapter IXA Sections 171A to 171I Of Offences Relating to Elections
Chapter X Sections 172 to 190 Of Contempts of Lawful Authority of Public Servants
Chapter XI Sections 191 to 229 Of False Evidence and Offences against Public Justice
Chapter XII Sections 230 to 263 Of Offences relating to coin and Government Stamps
Chapter XIII Sections 264 to 267 Of Offences relating to Weight and Measures
Chapter XIV Sections 268 to 294 Of Offences affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and Morals.
Chapter XV Sections 295 to 298 Of Offences relating to Religion
Chapter XVI Sections 299 to 377 Of Offences affecting the Human Body.
  • Of Offences Affecting Life including murder, culpable homicide (Sections 299 to 311)
  • Of the Causing of Miscarriage, of Injuries to Unborn Children, of the Exposure of Infants, and of the Concealment of Births (Sections 312 to 318)
  • Of Hurt (Sections 319 to 338)
  • Of Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement (Sections 339 to 348)
  • Of Criminal Force and Assault (Sections 349 to 358)
  • Of Kidnapping, Abduction, Slavery and Forced Labour (Sections 359 to 374)
  • Sexual Offences including rape and Sodomy (Sections 375 to 377)
Chapter XVII Sections 378 to 462 Of Offences Against Property
  • Of Theft (Sections 378 to 382)
  • Of Extortion (Sections 383 to 389)
  • Of Robbery and Dacoity (Sections 390 to 402)
  • Of Criminal Misappropriation of Property (Sections 403 to 404)
  • Of Criminal Breach of Trust (Sections 405 to 409)
  • Of the Receiving of Stolen Property (Sections 410 to 414)
  • Of Cheating (Section 415 to 420)
  • Of Fraudulent Deeds and Disposition of Property (Sections 421 to 424)
  • Of Mischief (Sections 425 to 440)
  • Of Criminal Trespass (Sections 441 to 462)
Chapter XVIII Section 463 to 489 -E Offences relating to Documents and Property Marks
  • Offences relating to Documents (Section 463 to 477-A)
  • Offences relating to Property and Other Marks (Sections 478 to 489)
  • Offences relating to Currency Notes and Bank Notes (Sections 489A to 489E)
Chapter XIX Sections 490 to 492 Of the Criminal Breach of Contracts of Service
Chapter XX Sections 493 to 498 Of Offences related to marriage
Chapter XXA Sections 498A Of Cruelty by Husband or Relatives of Husband
Chapter XXI Sections 499 to 502 Of Defamation
Chapter XXII Sections 503 to 510 Of Criminal intimidation, Insult and Annoyance
Chapter XXIII Section 511 Of Attempts to Commit Offences

A detailed list of all IPC laws which include above is here.[10]

Whoever, voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.[11]

Attempt to Commit Suicide – Section 309

The Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code deals with suicide attempts, whereby attempting to die by suicide is punishable with imprisonment of up to one year. Considering long-standing demand and recommendations of the Law Commission of India, which has repeatedly endorsed the repeal of this section, the Government of India in December 2014 decided to decriminalise attempts to die by suicide by dropping Section 309 of the IPC from the statute book. In February 2015, the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law and Justice was asked by the Government to prepare a draft Amendment Bill in this regard.[16]

In an August 2015 ruling, the Rajasthan High Court made the Jain practice of undertaking voluntary death by fasting at the end of a person's life, known as Santhara, punishable under sections 306 and 309 of the IPC. This led to some controversy, with some sections of the Jain community urging the Prime Minister to move the Supreme Court against the order.[17][18] On 31 August 2015, the Supreme Court admitted the petition by Akhil Bharat Varshiya Digambar Jain Parishad and granted leave. It stayed the decision of the High Court and lifted the ban on the practice.

In 2017 the new Mental Healthcare Act of India was signed. Section 115(1) of the act effectively decriminalised suicide, saying "anyone who attempts suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code."

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, officially decriminalized attempted suicide by not including an equivalent section to Section 309.[19][20]

Adultery – Section 497

The Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code has been criticised on the one hand for allegedly treating women as the private property of her husband, and on the other hand for giving women complete protection against punishment for adultery.[21][22] This section was unanimously struck down on 27 September 2018 by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in case of Joseph Shine v. Union of India as being unconstitutional and demeaning to the dignity of women. Adultery continues to be a ground for seeking divorce in a Civil Court, but is no longer a criminal offence in India.

Adultery was omitted under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita in 2024. However, BNS retains the essence of Section 498 from the IPC (Clause 84), which penalizes a man for enticing another man's wife to engage in intercourse with any person.[23]

Death penalty

Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (war against the Government of India), 132 (mutiny), 194 (false evidence to procure conviction for a capital offence), 302, 303 (murder, has been declared unconstitutional in the case of Mittu Singh vs State of Punjab), 305 (abetting suicide), 364A (kidnapping for ransom), 396 (dacoity with murder), 376A (rape), 376AB (rape on woman under twelve years of age), 376DB (gang rape on woman under twelve years of age), and 376E (repeat offender) have the death penalty as a maximum allowable punishment. There is ongoing debate about abolishing capital punishment.[24]

Criminal justice reforms

In 2003, the Malimath Committee submitted its report recommending several far-reaching penal reforms including separation of investigation and prosecution (similar to the CPS in the UK) to streamline criminal justice system.[25] The essence of the report was a perceived need for a shift from an adversarial to an inquisitorial criminal justice system, based on the Continental European systems.


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2024)

The code has been amended several times.[26][27]

S. No. Short title of amending legislation No. Year
1 The Repealing Act, 1870 14 1870
2 The Indian Penal Code Amendment Act, 1870 27 1870
3 The Indian Penal Code Amendment Act, 1872 19 1872
4 The Indian Oaths Act, 1873 10 1873
5 The Indian Penal Code Amendment Act, 1882 8 1882
6 The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882 10 1882
7 The Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1886 10 1886
8 The Indian Marine Act, 1887 14 1887
9 The Metal Tokens Act, 1889 1 1889
10 The Indian Merchandise Marks Act, 1889 4 1889
11 The Cantonments Act, 1889 13 1889
12 The Indian Railways Act, 1890 9 1890
13 The Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1891 10 1891
14 The Amending Act, 1891 12 1891
15 The Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1894 3 1894
16 The Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1895 3 1895
17 The Indian Penal Code Amendment Act, 1896 6 1896
18 The Indian Penal Code Amendment Act, 1898 4 1898
19 The Currency-Notes Forgery Act, 1899 12 1899
20 The Indian Penal Code Amendment Act, 1910 3 1910
21 The Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1913 8 1913
22 The Indian Elections Offences and Inquiries Act, 1920 39 1920
23 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1921 16 1921
24 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1923 20 1923
25 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1924 5 1924
26 The Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1924 18 1924
27 The Workmen's Breach of Contract (Repealing) Act, 1925 3 1925
29 The Obscene Publications Act, 1925 8 1925
29 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1925 29 1925
30 The Repealing and Amending Act, 1927 10 1927
31 The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1927 25 1927
32 The Repealing and Amending Act, 1930 8 1930
33 The Indian Air Force Act, 1932 14 1932
34 The Amending Act, 1934 35 1934
35 The Government of India (Adaptation of Indian Laws) Order, 1937 1937
36 The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1939 22 1939
37 The Offences on Ships and Aircraft Act, 1940 4 1940
38 The Indian Merchandise Marks (Amendment) Act, 1941 2 1941
39 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1942 8 1942
40 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1943 6 1943
41 The Indian Independence (Adaptation of Central Acts and Ordinances) Order, 1948 1948
42 The Criminal Law (Removal of Racial Discriminations) Act, 1949 17 1949
43 The Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1949 42 1949
44 The Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950 1950
45 The Repealing and Amending Act, 1950 35 1950
46 The Part B States (Laws) Act, 1951 3 1951
47 The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1952 46 1952
48 The Repealing and Amending Act, 1952 48 1952
49 The Repealing and Amending Act, 1953 42 1953
50 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1955 26 1955
51 The Adaptation of Laws (No.2) Order, 1956 1956
52 The Repealing and Amending Act, 1957 36 1957
53 The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1958 2 1958
54 The Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 43 1958
55 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1959 52 1959
56 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1961 41 1961
57 The Anti-Corruption Laws (Amendment) Act, 1964 40 1964
58 The Criminal and Election Laws Amendment Act, 1969 35 1969
59 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1969 36 1969
60 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1972 31 1972
61 The Employees' Provident Funds and Family Pension Fund (Amendment) Act, 1973 40 1973
62 The Employees' State Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1975 38 1975
63 The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 1975 40 1975
64 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983 43 1983
65 The Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 1983 46 1983
66 The Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986 43 1986
67 The Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Act, 1988 33 1988
68 The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 49 1988
69 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1993 42 1993
70 The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1995 24 1995
71 The Information Technology Act, 2000 21 2000
72 The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2003 24 2003
73 The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 25 2005
74 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005 2 2006
75 The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 10 2009
76 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 13 2013
77 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 22 2018
78 The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 34 2019

Stability and acclaim

The code has substantially survived for over 150 years in several jurisdictions without major amendments. Nicholas Phillips, Justice of Supreme Court of the United Kingdom applauded the efficacy and relevance of the IPC while commemorating its 150 years of existence.[28]

Cultural references

Some references to specific sections (called dafā/dafa'a in Hindi-Urdu, دفعہ or दफ़ा/दफ़आ) of the IPC have entered popular speech in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. For instance, con men are referred to as 420s (chaar-sau-bees in Hindi-Urdu) after Section 420 which covers cheating.[29] Similarly, specific reference to section 302 ("tazīrāt-e-Hind dafā tīn-sau-do ke tehet sazā-e-maut", "punishment of death under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code"), which covers the death penalty, have become part of common knowledge in the region due to repeated mentions of it in Bollywood movies and regional pulp literature.[30][31] Dafa 302 was also the name of a Bollywood movie released in 1975.[32] Similarly, Shree 420 was the name of a 1955 Bollywood movie starring Raj Kapoor.[33] and Chachi 420 was a Bollywood movie released in 1997 starring Kamal Haasan.[34]

See also


  1. ^ Universal's Guide to Judicial Service Examination. Universal Law Publishing. p. 2. ISBN 978-93-5035-029-4.
  2. ^ Lal Kalla, Krishan (1985). The Literary Heritage of Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir: Mittal Publications. p. 75. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Law Commission of India - Early Beginnings". Law Commission of India. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Curtains on old IPC, CrPC, Evidence law, new criminal codes come into effect from today". The Indian Express. 1 July 2024. Retrieved 2 July 2024.
  5. ^ "Historical Introduction to IPC (PDF)" (PDF).
  6. ^ Jammu and Kashmir reorganised into UTs of JK and Ladakh, security under centre's ambit, state constitution Ranbir Penal Code abolished. Firstpost.
  7. ^ "Legal experts hail Centre's move to revamp colonial-era IPC, CRPC, Indian Evidence Act".
  8. ^ "Preamble of the IPC".
  9. ^ B.M.Gandhi (2006). Indian Panel Code (2013 ed.). EBC. pp. 1–832. ISBN 978-81-7012-892-2.
  10. ^ "India penal code" (PDF). India code - a repository of state and central acts. Ministry of law and justice. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  11. ^ B.M.Gandhi (2006). Indian Penal Code. EBC. pp. 1–796. ISBN 978-81-7012-892-2.
  12. ^ "Delhi High Court strikes down Section 377 of IPC". The Hindu. 3 July 2009. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  13. ^ Venkatesan, J. (11 December 2013). "Supreme Court sets aside Delhi HC verdict decriminalising gay sex". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  14. ^ "SC decriminalises Section 377: A timeline of the case". The Times of India. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Supreme Court's decision on Section 377: Separate decision of 5 Judges [Read Judgement]". Archived from the original on 9 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Attempt to Suicide". Press Information Bureau. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Rajasthan HC says Santhara illegal, Jain saints want PM Modi to move SC". The Indian Express. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Rajasthan HC bans starvation ritual 'Santhara', says fasting unto death not essential tenet of Jainism". IBN Live. CNN-IBN. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  19. ^ "The 'new IPC' removes the punishment for attempting suicide — or does it? Here's what the proposed Nyaya Sanhita says". The Indian Express. 12 August 2023. Retrieved 4 July 2024.
  20. ^ "Decriminalising attempted suicide in India: the new penal code". Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy. Retrieved 4 July 2024.
  21. ^ "Wife is private property, so no trespassing". The Times of india. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Adultery law biased against men, says Supreme Court". The Times of India. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  23. ^ "The Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, 2023". PRS Legislative Research. Retrieved 4 July 2024.
  24. ^ Abrams, Corinne (3 September 2015). "The Reasons India's Law Commission Says the Death Penalty Should Be Scrapped".
  25. ^ "IPC Reform Committee recommends separation of investigation from prosecution powers (pdf)" (PDF). Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  26. ^ Parliament of India. "The Indian Penal Code" (PDF). Retrieved 7 June 2015. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  27. ^ The Indian Penal Code, 1860. Current Publications. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  28. ^ "IPC's endurance lauded". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  29. ^ Henry Scholberg (1992), The return of the Raj: a novel, NorthStar Publications, 1992, ... People were saying, 'Twenty plus Four equals Char Sau Bees.' Char Sou Bees is 420 which is the number of the law that has to do with counterfeiting ...
  30. ^ Star Plus, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge – Jokes Book, Popular Prakashan, ISBN 978-81-7991-343-7, ... Tazeerat-e-hind, dafa 302 ke tahat, mujrim ko maut ki saza sunai jaati hai ...
  31. ^ Alok Tomar; Monisha Shah; Jonathan Lynn (2001), Ji Mantriji: The diaries of Shri Suryaprakash Singh, Penguin Books in association with BBC Worldwide, 2001, ISBN 978-0-14-302767-6, ... we'd have the death penalty back tomorrow. Dafa 302, taaziraat-e-Hind ... to be hung by the neck until death ...
  32. ^ D. P. Mishra (1 September 2006), Great masters of Indian cinema: the Dadasaheb Phalke Award winnersGreat Masters of Indian Cinema Series, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 2006, ISBN 978-81-230-1361-9, ... Badti Ka Naam Dadhi ( 1975), Chhoti Si Baat ( 1975), Dafa 302 ( 1 975), Chori Mera Kaam ( 1975), Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka (1975) ...
  33. ^ "Shree 420" – via
  34. ^ Haasan, Kamal; Puri, Amrish; Puri, Om; Tabu (19 December 1997), Chachi 420, retrieved 3 April 2017

Further reading

  • C.K.Takwani (2014). Indian Penal Code. Eastern Book Company.
  • Murlidhar Chaturvedi (2011). Bhartiya Dand Sanhita,1860. EBC. ISBN 978-93-5028-140-6.
  • Surender Malik; Sudeep Malik (2015). Supreme Court on Penal Code. EBC. ISBN 978-93-5145-218-8.