Indian Penal Code: Chapters, Sections and Classification


Updated On: February 15, 2024 12:44 pm IST

This article provides the details of the Indian Penal Code. Law aspiring candidates can read this piece to get knowledge about the Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification.


How Many Chapters and Sections are there in IPC?

The Indian Penal Code or the IPC was established in 1860 during British rule. The code was effective from January 1, 1862, and applied to India except the princely states. After the Independence, The Government of India adopted IPC as India's official criminal code. This code is applied to Indian citizens and defines crimes and provides punishments for almost all kinds of criminal wrongs. The IPC sections and chapters have been introduced for distinct crimes. The Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification will help individuals who are aspiring to enter into the law field and wondering how to become lawyers

There has been a change in one of the codes of IPC. On August 11, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, was presented in the Lok Sabha and it replaces the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. This code, however, outlines prosecution, arrest and bail processes for offences under various acts, including the Indian Penal Code, of 1860.

This article contains the Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification that law aspirants should have an idea about. The IPC sections list has been provided here so that aspirants can go through and understand the classification. 

History of the Indian Penal Code

The Indian Penal Code originated during the British rule in India and it was drafted by the East India Company. Before drafting the Indian Penal Code, the Mohammedan law was in effect in India and the Mohammedan criminal law was applied to both Hindus and Muslims. The initial Indian Penal Code draft was prepared by the First Law Commission, chaired by Thomas Babington Macaulay. The draft was, however, based on the simple codification of the law of England and borrowed elements from the Napoleonic Code and Louisiana Civil Code of 1825. The first draft of IPC was introduced before the Governor General in 1837. Necessary amendments and revisions had to be made which took two more decades. The entire draft of the Indian Penal Code was completed in 1850 and presented before the Legislative Council in 1856. It was still delayed due to the Indian Revolt of 1857. The Indian Penal Code came into action on January 1, 1860, after it went through revisions and amendments by Barnes Peacock who would go on to serve as the first Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. By going through the Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification, the history will be clear. 

Structure of the Indian Penal Code

There are 511 and 23 sections and chapters in the Indian Penal Code respectively. Find here the Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification in detail:




Chapter I

Sections 1 to 5


Chapter II

Sections 6 to 52

General Explanations

Chapter III

Sections 53 to 75

Of Punishments

Chapter IV

Sections 76 to 106

General Exceptions of the Right of Private Defence (Sections 96 to 106)

Chapter V

Sections 107 to 120

Of Abetment

Chapter VA

Sections 120A to 120B

Criminal Conspiracy

Chapter VI

Sections 121 to 130

Of Offences against the State

Chapter VII

Sections 131 to 140

Of Offences relating to the Army, Navy, and Air Force

Chapter VIII

Sections 141 to 160

Of Offences against the Public Tranquillity

Chapter IX

Sections 161 to 171

Of Offences by or relating to Public Servants

Chapter IXA

Sections 171A to 171I

Of Offences Relating to Elections

Chapter X

Sections 172 to 190

Of Contempts of Lawful Authority of Public Servants

Chapter XI

Sections 191 to 229

Of False Evidence and Offences against Public Justice

Chapter XII

Sections 230 to 263

Of Offences relating to coin and Government Stamps

Chapter XIII

Sections 264 to 267

Of Offences relating to Weight and Measures

Chapter XIV

Sections 268 to 294

Of Offences Affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and   Morals

Chapter XV

Sections 295 to 298

Of Offences Relating to Religion

Chapter XVI

Sections 299 to 377

Of Offences Affecting the Human Body

  • Of Offences Affecting Life including murder, and culpable homicide (Sections 299 to 311)
  • Of the Causing of Miscarriage, of Injuries to Unborn Children, of the Exposure of Infants, and the Concealment of Births (Sections 312 to 318)
  • Of Hurt (Sections 319 to 338)
  • Of Wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement (Sections 339 to 348)
  • Of Criminal Force and Assault (Sections 349 to 358)
  • Of Kidnapping, Abduction, Slavery and Forced Labour (Sections 359 to 374)
  • Sexual Offences including rape and Sodomy (Sections 375 to 377)

Chapter XVII

Sections 378 to 462

Of Offences Against Property

  • Of Theft (Sections 378 to 382)
  • Of Extortion (Sections 383 to 389)
  • Of Robbery and Dacoity (Sections 390 to 402)
  • Of Criminal Misappropriation of Property (Sections 403 to 404)
  • Of Criminal Breach of Trust (Sections 405 to 409)
  • Of the Receiving of Stolen Property (Sections 410 to 414)
  • Of Cheating (Section 415 to 420)
  • Of Fraudulent Deeds and Disposition of Property (Sections 421 to 424)
  • Of Mischief (Sections 425 to 440)
  • Of Criminal Trespass (Sections 441 to 462)

Chapter XVIII

Section 463 to 489E

Offences relating to Documents and  Property Marks

  • Offences relating to Documents (Section 463 to 477-A)
  • Offences relating to Property and Other Marks (Sections 478 to 489)
  • Offences relating to Currency Notes and Bank Notes (Sections 489A to 489E)

Chapter XIX

Sections 490 to 492

Of the Criminal Breach of Contracts of Service

Chapter XX

Sections 493 to 498

Of Offences Related to Marriage

Chapter XXA

Sections 498A

Of Cruelty by Husband or Relatives of Husband

Chapter XXI

Sections 499 to 502

Of Defamation

Chapter XXII

Sections 503 to 510

Of Criminal intimidation, Insult, and Annoyance

Chapter XXIII

Section 511

Of Attempts to Commit Offences

Significance of the Indian Penal Code

A single legislature for the entire country was established by the Charter Act of 1833 to achieve uniformity of laws and judicial procedures throughout British India. The Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification have some significance that aspiring law candidates should be aware of. The importance of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been provided here:

  • It is the main criminal code of India and the individual offence has been well defined, providing all of the required details.
  • The code defines the crime and the punishments for committing such a crime.
  • IPC serves as a reference guide for the decision-making rules and punishment in cases of fraudulent activity or misconduct.
  • This document focuses on all of the major offences that are prevalent in society.
  • It contains relevant criminal violations dealing with crimes against the state, public offences, armed forces offences, kidnapping, rape, murder, etc.
  • The code covers offences related to religion and property, marriage offences, cruelty from husbands or relatives, defamation, and many more.
  • The introduction chapter of IPC states that the provisions of the Penal Code apply to offences committed by an Indian citizen living outside or beyond India and a person on any ship or aircraft registered in India, regardless of location.
  • There are 5 types of punishments in the IPC (Sections 53 to 75 of the IPC in Chapter III): death, life imprisonment, general imprisonment, forfeiture of property, and fine.
  • Apart from the criminal laws of the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Central and State Legislations have passed several laws that are a part of India’s penal code to address particular issues such as the Information Technology Act, Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indecent Representation of Women Act, etc.

Fundamental Rights of the Constitution of India

Discussed above are the Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification which are important for law aspirants. Fundamental rights of the Indian constitution are the basic rights provided by the constitution to the citizens of India. The 6 Fundamental Rights of the Constitution of India are the Right to Equality, the Right to freedom, the Right against exploitation, the Right to freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights and the Right to Constitutional Remedies. 

Right to Equality: Article 14 to Article 18

  • Article 14 - Equality before the law
  • Article 15 - Prohibition of discrimination of individuals on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth
  • Article 16 - Equality of opportunity to individuals in matters of public employment
  • Article 17 - Abolition of untouchability
  • Article 18 - Abolition of titles

Right to Freedom: Article 19 to Article 22

  • Six rights are guaranteed to all the citizens in Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
  1. Right to freedom of speech and expression.
  2. Right to assemble peacefully and without arms.
  3. Right to form associations or unions.
  4. Right to move freely throughout the territory of India.
  5. Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.
  6. Right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade, and business.
  • Article 20 - Protection in respect of conviction for offences.
  • Article 21 - Protection of life and personal liberty.
  • Article 21A - Right to education
  • Article 22 - Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.

Right Against Exploitation: Article 23 and Article 24

  • Article 23 - Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.
  • Article 24 - Prohibition of employment of children in factories and mines under the age of 14.

Right to Freedom of Religion: Article 25 to Article 28

  • Article 25 - Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
  • Article 26 - Freedom to manage religious affairs.
  • Article 27- Freedom to pay taxes for the promotion of any particular religion.
  • Article 28 - Freedom from attending religious instruction.

Cultural and Educational Rights: Article 29 and Article 30

  • Article 29 - Protection of interest of minorities.
  • Article 30 - Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
  • Article 32 - Remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

Also Read:Corporate Lawyer Vs Practising Lawyer - Which is Better?

Criticism Related to Indian Penal Code

The Indian Penal Code was introduced by the British Government in 1860 which means it is a 164-year official criminal code of India. The code was, however, not completely amended since it was introduced. Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification have some objections as well. Some of the major criticisms related to the Indian Penal Code are:

  • Some of the sections of the Indian Penal Code like Section 153A, Section 153B, Section 295A and Section 505 promote enmity in society which is a criminal offence. The criticisms towards these sections are increasing as they are misused for creative, literary, and educational work.
  • The use and misuse of Sedition Law (Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code) is from the colonial era, which is not fit for today’s Indian democracy.
  • The argument for abolishing Section 295A, which was added to the law in 1927, is that blasphemy is a crime that has no place in the Indian liberal democracy.
  • Another criticism of the Indian Penal Code is the similarity of Section 149 IPC (unlawful assembly) with Fundamental Rights.
  • Furthermore, there are other serious offences listed in the Indian Penal Code that do not have appropriate punishments, resulting in injustice.

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Who made the Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification?

The Indian Penal Code was drafted by the first Law Commission which was chaired by Thomas Babington Macaulay. It was drafted in 1834 and submitted to the Council of Governor-General of India in the year 1835.


What is the need for Indian Penal Code?

The Indian Penal Code is the main criminal code in the country. The Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification are taken into account by lawyers. It includes all criminal offences including crimes related to the human body, property, conspiracy, crimes against the state or Public Tranquillity, etc. Anyone found guilty of a crime is punishable under the IPC.

How many sections and chapters are there in the IPC?

The Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification can be sub-divided into 23 chapters that comprise 511 sections.



When was IPC passed into Law?

The IPC was finally passed into law on October 6, 1860, after a careful modification by Barnes Peacock, who later became the first Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court.


What is meant by the Penal Code?

The Penal Code of a country defines or mentions crimes and offences which are punishable by law. It consists of all the laws that are related to crime and punishment.


Is the IPC part of the Indian constitution?

No, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is a separate criminal code that was drafted in 1860 and defines crimes and provides punishments for almost all types of criminal and actionable wrongs.

What does IPC stand for?

IPC stands for Indian Penal Code which is the official criminal code of India. This criminal code of India defines crimes and provides punishments for almost all kinds of criminal and actionable wrongs.

From when did IPC come into action?

The Indian penal code came into force on the first of January 1860 after many revisions and amendments. To understand well, law candidates should know the Indian Penal Code Chapters, Sections and Classification. 



How was the Indian Penal Code formed?

The Indian Penal Code was drafted by Thomas Babington Macaulay, who was the chairman of the first law commission. The draft was completed by 1834 and was presented to the Governor-General of India in 1835.


What is the significance of the IPC?

It is the main criminal code of India and the individual offence has been well defined, providing all of the required details, the code defines the crime and the punishments for committing such a crime.


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