Indian Penal Code: Structure, Offences and other Key details

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) acts as the official criminal code in India. It caters to a wide range of crimes from robbery to murder and sexual offences. It covers all the substantive aspects of criminal law that helps the Indian judiciary punish the accused who are found guilty.

The First Law Commission drafted this code under Thomas Babington Macaulay. It was presented to the Governor-General in council in 1937. After undergoing several revisions during the colonial era. This took another 20 years to prepare the final draft of this code. It became an act in 1860 and came into effect in 1862. However, it did not apply to all of India. Only the British Presidencies came under this code, and the Princely States were set free to have their judiciary.

Structure of the Indian Penal Code

The Indian Penal Code is segregated into 23 chapters which have 511 Sections. It provides clearly defines specific crimes along with their punishments.  A simplified structure of IPC is as follows:

Chapters Sections included Offence
Chapter I Sections 1 to 5 Introduction
Chapter II Sections 6 to 52 General Explanations
Chapter III Sections 53 to 75 Punishments
Chapter IV Sections 76 to 106 General Exceptions of the Right of Private Defence
Chapter V Sections 107 to 120 Abetment
Chapter VA Sections 120A to 120B Criminal Conspiracy
Chapter VI Sections 121 to 130 Offences against the state
Chapter VII Sections 131 to 140 Offences related to the Army, Navy, and Air Force
Chapter VIII Sections 141 to 160 Offences against the public Tranquility
Chapter IX Sections 161 to 171 Offences by or relating to Public Servants
Chapter IXA Sections 171A to 171I Offences Relating to Elections
Chapter X Sections 172 to 190 Contempts of Lawful; Authority of Public Servants
Chapter XI Sections 191 to 229 False Evidence and Offence against Public Justice
Chapter XII Sections 230 to 263 Offences relating to coin and Government Stamps
Chapter XIII Sections 264 to 267 Offences relating to Weight and Measures
Chapter XIV Sections 268 to 294 Offences affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and Morals
Chapter XV Sections 295 to 298 Offences relating to religion
Chapter XVI Sections 299 to 377 Offences involving the Human Body

(Murder, Culpable Homicide, Kidnapping, Abduction, Slavery, Forced Labour, Hurt, Injuries to Unborn Children, Sexual Offences, etc)

Chapter XVII Sections 378 to 462 Offences Against Property

(Theft, Extortion, Robbery and Dacoity, Cheating, Fraudulent Deeds and Disposition of Property, Mischief, Criminal Trespass, etc.)

Chapter XVIII Sections 463 to 489 – E Offences relating to Documents and Property Marks

It includes offences relating to

  • Documents
  • Property and Other Marks
  • Currency Notes and Bank Notes
Chapter XIX Sections 490 to 492 Criminal Breach of Contracts of Service
Chapter XX Sections 493 to 498 Offences Relating to Marriage
Chapter XXA Sections 498A Cruelty by Husband or Relatives of Husband
Chapter XXI Sections 499 to 502 Defamation
Chapter XXII Sections 503 to 510 Criminal intimidation, Insult and Annoyance
Chapter XXIII Section 511 Attempts to Commit Offences


Non-Bailable and Bailable offences under the Indian Penal Code

Under IPC, there are both non-bailable and bailable offences. Here is a list showcasing the same,

Non Bailable Offences

  • (Section 121) Waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting the waging of war, against the government of India
  • (Section 124A) Sedition
  • (Section 131) Abetting mutiny or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or air-man
  • (Section 172) Absconding to avoid Service of Summons
  • (Section 232) Counterfeiting Indian coin
  • (Section 238) Import or export of counterfeiting Indian coin
  • (Section 246) Fraudulently diminishing weight of the coin
  • (Section 255) Counterfeiting of government stamp
  • (Section 274) Adulteration of drug
  • (Section 295A) A deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting religious beliefs
  • (Section 302) Punishment for murder
  • (Section 304) Punishment for Culpable homicide not amounting to murder
  • (Section 304B) Dowry death
  • (Section 306) Abetment of suicide
  • (Section 307) Attempt to murder
  • (Section 308) Attempt to commit culpable homicide
  • (Section 369) Abduction of a child under the age of 10 years
  • (Section 370) Trafficking of person
  • (Section 376) Punishment for Rape
  • (Section 376D) Gang rape
  • Section 377- Unnatural offence
  • (Section 379) Punishment for theft
  • (Section 384) Punishment for extortion
  • (Section 392) Punishment for robbery
  • (Section 395) Punishment for dacoity
  • (Section 406) Punishment for criminal breach of trust
  • (Section 411) Dishonestly receiving stolen property
  • (Section 420) cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property
  • (Section 489A) Counterfeiting currency notes or bank notes
  • (Section 498A) Husband or relatives of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty

Bailable Offences

  • (Section 140) Wearing soldier’s garb, sailor, airman
  • (Section 144) Punishment for unlawful assembly
  • (Section 154) Owner or occupier of land on which unlawful assembly is held
  • (Section 158) Owner or occupier land on which unlawful assembly is held
  • (Section 166) Public Servant disobeying direction under law
  • (Section 167) Public Servant framing an incorrect document
  • (Section 177) Furnishing false information
  • (Section 181) False statement on oath to public servants
  • (Section 186) Disobedience to order duty promulgated by public Servant
  • (Section 189) The threat of injury to Public Servant
  • (Section 191) Giving false evidence
  • (Section 195A) Threatening any person to give false evidence
  • (Section 203) Providing false information concerning an offence
  • (Section 210) Fraudulently making false claim in court
  • (Section 223) Escape from confinement or custody negligently suffered by a Public Servant
  • (Section 213) Taking gift to screen an offender from punishment
  • (Section 228) Intentionally insult or interrupt to public Servant sitting in judicial proceedings
  • (Section 264) Fraudulent use or false instrument for weighing
  • (Section 269) Negligent acts likely to spread infectious diseases dangerous to life
  • (Section 279) Rash driving or driving in a public vehicle
  • (Section 283) Danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation
  • (Section 292) Sale of an obscene book
  • (Section 297) Trespassing on burial places
  • (Section 304A) Punishment for causing death by negligence
  • (Section 309) Attempt to commit suicide
  • (Section 318) Concealment of birth by secret disposal of body
  • (Section 323) Causing hurt
  • (Section 349) Using force
  • (Section 354D) Stalking
  • (Section 363) Punishment for Kidnapping
  • (Section 417) Punishment for Cheating
  • (Section 426) Punishment for Mischief
  • (Section 447) Punishment for Criminal trespass
  • (Section 465) Forgery
  • (Section 477A) Falsification of accounts
  • (Section 489C) Possession of forged currency notes or banknotes
  • (Section 494) Marrying again during the lifetime of the husband or wife
  • (Section 496) Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage
  • (Section 498) Enticing or taking away, or detaining with criminal intent
  • (Section 500) Punishment for Defamation
  • (Section 506) Criminal intimidation
  • (Section 509) Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman
  • (Section 510) Misconduct in public by a drunken person

Although the Indian Penal Code has successfully punished criminals and has provisions for almost all possible crimes. But several sections have made it to the headlines many times. It includes Section 377, which deals with Unnatural Offence, Section 309, with Attempt to Commit Suicide and Section 497, which deals with Adultery.

Besides, to strengthen the country’s criminal laws, the process of amending them started after the Ministry of Home Affairs initiative. It will bring sweeping changes to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act.