The Indian Penal Code 1860-The Preamble

    Edited by: Vaani Garg

    The introductory chapter of the penal code consists of a chapter with five sections. The preamble sets forth the necessity and object of the general penal code of the country. Section 1 titles the code and states the extent and scope of its operation. Section 2 fixes criminal responsibility for an offense committed within the territory of India by any person. Section 3 and 4 punish concerning offenses committed without and beyond India, while section 5 is a saving clause.

    Preamble- whereas it is expedient to provide a general Penal Code for [India]; it is enacted as follows:


    Section 1 IPC 1860– According to the laws, this act shall be called the Indian Penal Code and shall extend to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. IPC is applicable, in the same way, Ranbir Penal Code applies to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sec 1 IPC, clearly declares the name of the act and its operation throughout the territory of India.

    According to the principles of Criminal Jurisprudence, while dealing with Sec 1 of Indian Penal Code, it is clear that the power of exercising criminal jurisdiction completely depends upon the place of the offense and not on the place of domicile (the place from where a person originally belongs), or his nationality.

    For invoking the provisions of the IPC, it must be established that the offense was committed within the territory of India. The territory of India as specified under IPC 1 not only includes the land, internal waters ( including rivers, lakes, canals), but also the portions that are lying along its coast. These zones generally are known as the Maritime Zones.


    Section 2 IPC clearly states that “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 held guilty within India”

    Explanation-  According to Sec 2 IPC, ‘every person’, irrespective of his nationality, caste, color, status, or creed shall be held liable if he commits any offense within the territory of India.
    The term ‘every person’ as mentioned in Sec 2 Indian Penal Code has a wider ambit as compared to the term ‘ not only citizens”. This term also includes Indian citizens as well as foreign nationals. The act also is also applicable to any association or a body of persons whether it is incorporated or not.


    Punishment of offenses committed beyond, but which by law may be tried within, India—Any person liable by any Indian law to be tried for an offense 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. It implies that if any Indian citizen does an act outside of India which is not an offense in that country but is in India, he will liable to be tried in India under IPC.


    When an offense is committed in some other country but the offender is found in India, then

    1. He may be given up for trial in the country where the offense was committed (extradition) or;
    2. He may be tried in India [extra territorial jurisdiction]

    Extradition: It is the surrender of one State to another of a person desired to be dealt with for crimes of which he has been accused or convicted and which are justifiable in the courts of the other State. Though extradition is granted in implementation of the international commitment of the State, the procedure to be followed by the courts in deciding whether extradition should be granted sand on what terms are determined by the municipal law of the land. The procedure for securing the extradition from India is laid down in the Extradition Act, 1962.

    Extra-territorial Jurisdiction: Indian Courts are empowered to try offenses committed out of India on-

    1. Land: Under Sections 3 and 4 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 188 of the Criminal Procedure Code, local Courts can take cognizance of offenses committed beyond the territory of India. This can be done when any Indian citizen commits any act outside of India which is not an offense in that country but is in India. Section 188 of CrPC also provides that when an offense is committed outside India- i)by any citizen of India, whether on high seas or elsewhere; ii)by any person not being such citizen on any ship or aircraft registered in India,

    He may be dealt as if the offence was committed in India at the place where he was found.


    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 provision of any special or local law.