The Indian Penal Code



In the uncivilized society no person was said to be safe from attacks to his person or property by any other person. The person attacked either succumbed or over-powered his opponent. A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye, a life for a life was the rule of law. With the advancement of time, the injured person agreed to accept compensation, instead of killing his adversary. For a long time the function of settling the terms remained with the parties themselves, but gradually this function came to be performed by the State.

In India the criminal jurisprudence came into existence from the time of Manu. Manu has recognized assault, theft, robbery, false evidence, slander, criminal breach of trust, cheating, adultery and rape. The king protected his subjects and the subjects in return owed him allegiance and paid him revenue. The king administered justice himself, if unable due to certain circumstances, the matter was entrusted to a judge. If a criminal was fined, the fine went to the king’s treasury and was not given as compensation to the injured party.

Different laws came into existence in the reins of different rulers. When the Britishers came into India they adopted a different set of law which was based on British pattern, but it was not uniform throughout India. Different regulations were passed prescribing practice and procedure to be followed. In 1834 the first Indian Law Commission was constituted to investigate into the jurisdiction, powers and rules of the existing courts as well as police establishments and into the laws in operation in British India. The Indian Penal Code was drafted by the first Indian Law Commission under the presidentship of Macaulay and was submitted to the Governor-General of India in Council in 1837. It was circulated to the Judges and law advisors of the Crown. In 1845, another Commission was appointed to review the Code. This Commission submitted its report in two parts, one in 1846 and the other in 1847. The Code was revised according to the report of the Commission but it never saw the light of the day. Subsequently, it was revised by two Law Members of the Governor-General of India in Council and was presented to the Legislative Council in 1856.

Act 45 of 1860

The Indian Penal Code Bill was passed by the Legislative Council and it received the assent of the Governor-General on 6th October, 1860. It came on the Statute Book as THE INDIAN PENAL CODE (45 of 1860).

Read Full Act Here