Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Indian Penal Code

I have seen a lot of tamil movies involving court scenes where the judge will say, "the convict will be hanged to death as per section 302 of the Indian Penal Code" but never thought actually what the Indian Penal Code is all about, how it evolved, how many sections it has etc.

Thanks to Google, i had the opportunity to search and view the entire Indian Penal Code as Pdf(please find link below). Now, a quick glimpse at some of the interesting aspects of the Indian Penal Code.

Indian Penal Code, provides a penal code for all of India including Jammu and Kashmir, where it was renamed the Ranbir Penal Code(RPC)[No idea why it is called Ranbir Penal Code]. The code applies to any offence committed by an Indian Citizen anywhere and on any Indian registered ship or aircraft (This law 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. Its 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 Legislative 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 and literature, yet it 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 and has a total of 511 sections covering various aspects of the Criminal Law. The nature of these have led to allegations of abuse of those laws.

The Indian Penal Code was inherited by Pakistan and Bangladesh, formerly part of British India. It was also adopted wholesale by the British colonial authorities in Burma, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and remains the basis of the criminal codes in those countries.

To read the IPC in pdf format, please click here