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Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 1 to 6) Introduction

Chapter – I Introduction

•      Preamble :-  Whereas it is expedient to provide a general penal code for India; it is enacted as follows:-

•      Section 1 : Title & Extent of Operation of the Code:- The Act shall be called the Indian Penal Code and shall extend to the whole of India.

•      (Note:- Before 31st October 2019 IPC was not applicable in the State of Jammu and Kashmir but now under Section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019 the IPC extends to the State of Jammu and Kashmir  as well from 31/10/2019. Before this date Ranbir Penal Code 1932 was applicable in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.


1. The preamble states the object of any statute.

2. The object of this Code is to provide a general penal code for India.

3. Although the object of this Act as embodied in its preamble was to provide a general penal code for India, but the Act does not repeal the penal laws which were in force at the time of coming into force of the Code. This was so because the code does not contain all the offences and it was possible that some offences might still have been left out of the code which were not intended to be exempted from the penal consequences.

Operation of the Code

•      The Indian Penal Code extends to all the territory of India.

•      The territory of India is defined by Article 1(3) of the Indian Constitution. It includes:-

a.    The territories of the States;

b.   The Union territories specified in the First Schedule of Constitution;

c.     Such other territories as may be acquired.

            The territorial waters of India also forms part of the territory of India. Therefore any offences committed within the territorial waters of India will also be deemed to have been committed within India.

When a person is liable to get punishment under the provisions of Indian Penal Code 1860

•      Section 2:- Punishment of offences committed within India:- Every person shall be liable to punishment under this code and not otherwise for every act or omission contrary to the provisions thereof, of which, he shall be guilty within India.

•      Section 3 :- Punishment of offences committed beyond, but which by law may be tried within India:- Any person liable, by any Indian Law, to be tried for an offence committed beyond India shall be dealt with according to the provisions of this code for any act committed beyond India in the same manner as if such act had been committed within India.

•      Section 4:- Extension of the Code to extra  territorial offences:- The provisions of this code apply also to any offence committed by-

        1. any citizen of India in any place without and

              beyond India;

        2.   any person on any ship or aircraft registered in India wherever it may be;

       3. any person in any place without and beyond India committing offence targeting a Computer resource located in India.

      Explanation:- In this section:-

      a. The word “ offence” includes every act committed outside India, which if committed in India would be punishable under this code;  

      b. The expression “ Computer resource” shall have the same meaning assigned to it in clause (k)  of sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Information technology Act, 2000.

      Illustration:- A who is a Citizen of India commits a murder in England. He can be tried and convicted of murder in any place in India in which he may be found.


The Criminal Courts in India exercise jurisdiction either because a crime is committed by any person ( national or foreigner) within the Indian territory or because a crime though committed outside or beyond the territory of India is committed by an Indian national. The former is known as intra-territorial jurisdiction and latter as extra-territorial jurisdiction.   Jurisdiction is mainly of two kinds:-

1.   Territorial Jurisdiction; and

2.   Personal Jurisdiction. 

1.   Territorial Jurisdiction:- Where a crime is committed within the territory of India, then the code shall apply and the courts can try and punish irrespective of the fact that the person who had committed the crime is an Indian national or a foreigner. This is called territorial jurisdiction. Here jurisdiction attaches with the territory. The code applies to any offence committed:

2.   Within the territory of India as defined in Article 1(3) of the constitution.

3.   Within the territorial waters of India and

4.   On any ship or aircraft either owned by India or registered in India.

      Territorial Jurisdiction is again of two kinds i.e. Intra- territorial jurisdiction and Extra Territorial Jurisdiction.

a.   Intra Territorial Jurisdiction is one, where a crime is committed within the territory of India by any person. Section 2 of the code deals with intra-territorial jurisdiction of the code.

b.   Extra territorial Jurisdiction:- Where a crime is committed outside the territory of India by an Indian national, such a person may be tried and punished by the Indian Courts and such jurisdiction is known as extra-territorial jurisdiction. Section 3 and 4 of the code deals with extra- territorial jurisdiction of the code.

2.Personal Jurisdiction : Where a crime is committed by any person whether an Indian national or a foreigner, within the territory of India, then the code shall apply on that person because the person who commits the offence causes the effect on the Indian soil. Section 2 of the Code deals with such cases.

3.   Admiralty Jurisdiction :- Admiralty Jurisdiction is exercised in trying and punishing the offences committed on the High Seas. High Seas are known as no man’s territory.The jurisdiction over the ships on the High Seas is founded on the principle that the ship is a floating island belonging to the nation whose flag she is flying.Section 4 of the Code deals with admiralty jurisdiction.

Whether any persons can be exempted from the provisions of IPC

While under the code there are no exceptions to the jurisdiction in favour of any person, yet certain persons are immune either by virtue of the provisions of the constitution or under the law of the civilised nations of the world. These persons are:-

1.  Foreign Sovereigns:-  It is the common understanding between the nations that one sovereign cannot be subject to the law of the other nation.

2.  High dignitaries of the State:- The President of India and the Governors of the State are exempt from the jurisdiction of the code. Article 361 of the Indian constitution provides that “ no criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Rajyapal of a State in any court during the term of his office.”

3Warships:- The warships entered into the Indian Sea waters cannot be tried under the ordinary Indian criminal courts. The Public International Law applies to such men- of – war.

4. Ambassadors and diplomats :- Ambassadors and some other foreign diplomats enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of the Court. But if a person enjoying diplomatic immunity grossly offends, misuse his office or does an act detrimental to the interest of the country then the remedy is to make a demand of his recall by the sending State, where appropriate action may be taken against him at the discretion of the sovereign whom he represents.

5Alien Enemies:- Alien Enemies cannot be tried by the Criminal Courts of India in respect to their acts of war. If an alien enemy commits a crime unconnected with war such as theft, cheating etc., then he would be triable by the criminal courts. For acts of war they shall be dealt with under martial laws.

6Foreign Army:- When armies of any foreign State are stationed on the Indian Soil with the consent of the Indian Government, then they are immune from the jurisdiction of local criminal courts. It is a settled international practice.

Constructive Presence

•      A person may cause injury to a person on the Indian territory, although the offender may be physically present in the territory of another country.

•      For example:- a national of Pakistan fires from the other side of the border and a person within the Indian border is killed.

•      The offender may be prosecuted within India if his presence for the trial can be secured.

•      If the relations, friends or other Indian rush and drag the Pakistani to Border Indian Police Station, then the Indian Court can try the offender for murder in India. 

Case Laws

•      While disposing this case, the Kerala High Court held that, if an offence was committed outside India by an Indian, then it can be inquired by the police without seeking permission from the Central Government under section 3. [ Mohd. Sajeed K. Vs. State of Kerala ( 1995) Cr. LJ 3313 (Ker)].

•      A , a foreigner, committed an offence in South Africa and has been staying in India. The Indian Courts have no jurisdiction to try A. He can be entrusted under Extradition Act, 1962 to South Africa on its request. [ Jameson, 1896 2 QB 425].

•      A, a foreigner abets a criminal act to be done in India. As the result of abetment of A, that criminal act is completed in India. Later A is found in India. Then the Indian Courts have jurisdiction to try A and his accomplice.

•      Section 5 : Certain Laws not to be affected by this Act:-

Nothing in this Act shall affect the provisions of any Act for punishing mutiny and desertion of officers, soldiers, sailors or airmen in the service of the Government of India or the provisions of any special or local law.

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