Indian criminal law is the law relating to criminal conduct in India.

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Indian criminal laws are divided into three major acts i.e. Indian Penal Code, 1860,[1] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,[2] and Indian Evidence Act, 1872.[3] Indian Penal Code is a Substantive Law[4] that defines rights and duties etc. Code of Criminal Procedure defines the rules with which substantive laws can be enforced. Besides these major acts, special Criminal Laws are also passed by the Indian Parliament, i.e., NDPS, Prevention of Corruption Act, Food Adulteration Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, The Defence of India Act, etc. thousands of minor laws are made in India.


The Indian Penal Code, formulated by the British during the British Raj in 1860, forms the backbone of criminal law in India. Jury trials were abolished by the government in 1960 on the grounds they would be susceptible to media and public influence. This decision was based on an 8-1 acquittal of Kawas Nanavati in K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra, which was overturned by higher courts.[citation needed]

The Indian Penal Code was drafted the first law commission under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay in 1837. Jurists, judges, and professors made revisions in 1850, presented in legislative council in 1856, passed in 1860, and was enforced in 1862.[5] Lord Macaulay issued clarification for the people of India for implementation of this code, because people were of the view that rule of Capital Punishment will be misused against them.[citation needed] Furthermore, citizens were against foreign rule over Indian people. Indian Penal Code has been praised to be far-sighted, masterpiece of a law, with almost all kinds of crimes that can be committed by a human, being included in it in one go. It has been thoroughly embedded in the Indian conscience[5]

Issues with IPC

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Recent Progress

Malimath Committee had faced criticism for its drawbacks, notably that the standard of evidence be reduced from “beyond reasonable doubt” to “clear and convincing”.[6][7] In the winter session of parliament, Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra said the committee had been, "constituted under the chairpersonship of the Vice Chancellor, National Law University, Delhi to suggest reforms in the criminal laws".[citation needed] He further said that the suggestions that will be received and the report of the committee will be examined by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with all stakeholders.[8]


  1. ^ Indian Penal Code, 1860
  2. ^ Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
  3. ^ Indian Evidence Act, 1872
  4. ^ "Substantive Law". Indian Kanoon.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b c Perspective : 160 years of Indian Penal Code | 01 January, 2022, retrieved 2 January 2022
  6. ^ Deepalakshmi, K. (17 January 2018). "The Malimath Committee's recommendations on reforms in the criminal justice system in 20 points". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Reform with caution: On criminal laws reform". The Hindu. 11 July 2020. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Centre Has Set Up Panel To Reform Criminal Laws: Junior Home Minister". Retrieved 2 January 2022.