Home > General Knowledge, Law > 266/365 – Indian Penal Code

266/365 – Indian Penal Code

Indian Penal Code is the main criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code, intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.

It was drafted in 1860 and came into force in colonial India during the British Raj in 1862. It has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions.

After independence, Indian Penal Code was inherited by Pakistan (now called Pakistan Penal Code) 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.


During the Moghul rule courts administered the “Mohammaden” criminal law to the exclusion of Hindu law. Islamic law gave way to English criminal law with the increase of British influence in the Indian subcontinent.

Before 1860, The English criminal law, as modified by several acts was administered in the Presidency-Towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

The draft of the Indian Penal Code was prepared by the First Law Commission, chaired by Thomas Babington Macaulay. Its basis is the law of England freed from superfluities, technicalities and local peculiarities.

Elements were also derived from the Napoleonic Code and from 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 it was presented to the Legislative Council in 1856 but it did not take its place on the Indian statute book until a generation later, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

The draft then underwent a very careful revision at the hands of Sir Barnes Peacock, Chief Justice, and the puisne Judges of the Calcutta Supreme Court who were members of the Legislative Council, and was passed into law on 6 October 1860.

The Code came into operation on 1st January, 1862. Unfortunately, Macaulay did not survive to see his masterpiece come into force, having died near the end of 1859.


The objective of this Act is to provide a general penal code for India. Though not an 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 so because the Code does not contain all the offences and it was possible that same 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.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Penal_Code

Categories: General Knowledge, Law
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