Types of Punishments under Indian Penal Code, 1860


This post has been written by Shaily Jain, a second year student from Amity Law School, Amity University, Chhattisgarh.

Punishment is a process by which the state incurs a few torment to the persons or property of individual who is found blameworthy of Wrongdoing. In other words punishment is endorse forced on an accused for the infringement of the set up rules. “The Object of Punishment is to secure society from mischievous and undesirable components by preventing potential guilty parties, by anticipating the real guilty parties from committing further offenses and by changing and turning them into law standing citizens.”

In the Indian Penal Code, 1803 , Section 53, particularly deals with distinctive types of punishments which can be given by the Criminal Courts in case the individual is held obligated beneath the Code.

 There are five types of punishments prescribed  under Section 53 of the Code:

a) Death

b) Imprisonment for life

c) Imprisonment, which is of two descriptions, namely –

       (1) Rigorous, that is with hard labour

        (2) Simple

d) Forfeiture of property

e) Fine.

Considering the above punishments, the courts are assumed to take after the procedures and provisions which are endorsed beneath other adjective and substantive laws. “As per the plot of the Code the maximum punishment is prescribed, leaving the least to the discretion of the Judge.” The Judge has all the implies to create an supposition on the sentence which would meet the conclusion of equity in a specific case. On the off chance that the offense is grave in nature at that point the Code had endorsed the maximum and the least length of the punishment.

a) Death 

The death sentence is a punishment which is endorsed by the government and ordered by the court where a individual is put to passing for a wrongdoing acted by him. “It is additionally referred to as ‘Capital Punishment’. The act of carrying out such practice is called execution”. In India, the death penalty is given by the strategy of hanging. The other ways through which death sentences executed at world scenarios are stoning, sawing, blowing from a weapon, deadly infusion, electric shock, etc.

The death penalty under the Indian Penal Code is given in the following circumstances :

  • Section 115– Abetment for an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life (if offence not committed);
  • Section 118– Concealing design to commit an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
  • Section 121– When armed rebellion (i.e. waging, abetting to waging of war or attempting to wage war) is made against the constitutionally and legally established government;
  • Section 132– Uprising, supporting and encouraging the formation of the mutinous group of people in the nations armed forces;
  • Section 194-Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death ;
  • Section 302– Causing murder of another;
  • Section 305– Abetting suicide to an insane or minor person;
  • Section 303– When a life convict person murders another person;
  • Section 396– Causing dacoity with murder;
  • Section 364A– Kidnapping;
  • Section 376A (as per the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013)- Rape

b) Imprisonment for life

Life Imprisonment implies a sentence of detainment running all through the remaining period of a convict’s natural life (until his/her last breath). But in practice it isn’t so. “Agreeing to Section 55 of Indian Penal Code, in each case in which sentence of imprisonment for life might have been passed, the suitable Government may, without the consent of the wrongdoer, commute the punishment for imprisonment of either portrayal for a term not surpassing fourteen years”.  “Section 57 states that in calculating divisions of terms of punishment, detainment for life might be figured as equivalent to detainment for twenty years.”

c) Imprisonment – Rigorous and Simple :

    i) Rigorous Imprisonment

Imprisonment may be rigorous with hard labour. such as digging soil, cutting wood etc. “According to Section 60 of IPC in each case in which an wrongdoer is culpable with detainment which may be of either description, it shall be competent to the Court which sentences such wrongdoer to direct within the sentence that such imprisonment shall be wholly rigorous, or that such imprisonment should be wholly simple or that any portion of such imprisonment shall be rigorous and the rest simple.”

The Indian Penal Code recognizes imprisonment as punishment for –

  • Section 194– Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence
  • Section 449– House-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death    

ii) Simple imprisonment-

Simple imprisonment is forced for small offenses like wrongful restraint, defamation etc. In case of simple imprisonment the convict will not be constrained to do any hard manual labour. There are a few offenses which are culpable with simple imprisonment are as follows-

  • Section 178– Refusing to take oath
  • Section 500– Defamation
  • Wrongful restraint
  • Section 510– Misconduct by a drunken person, etc

Solitary Confinement

Solitary Confinement implies keeping a prisoner completely disconnected from any kind of contact with the exterior A cruel and solidified convict may be restricted in a partitioned cell to correct his conduct. Court can grant this punishment only when the offense is punishable with rigorous imprisonment.

 Solitary imprisonment may be forced subject to the taking after restrictions –

 (a) Solitary imprisonment ought to not surpass three months of the Substantive term of imprisonment

 (b) It cannot be granted where detainment isn’t portion of the substantive sentence.

(c) It cannot be awarded for the complete of term of imprisonment

(d) It cannot too be granted where imprisonment is in lieu of fine.

 According to Section 74 of I.P.C in no case the sentence of solitary imprisonment be granted more than fourteen days at a time. and it must be forced at intervals.

d) Forfeiture of property

Forfeiture of property implies taking away the property of the offender/criminal  by the State. Forfeiture of property is presently nullified except in the case of following offenses :

1) Committing depredation on territories of Power at peace with the Government of India(Section 126)

2) Receiving property taken by war or depredation mentioned in sections 125 and 126 (Section 127).

e) Fine-

The court may force a fine as an alternative for imprisonment or can include it is an expansion to the imprisonment. In certain cases the fine is included along with imprisonment. Section 63 to 69 covers different fines beneath the IPC. However, as per Section 64 of the Code, when there’s a default within the installment of a fine, the court may order for imprisonment.


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