1) Introduction

         Section 53 to 75 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 deals with the scheme of Punishment. Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes five kinds of punishments

2) Punishment Meaning  :  

    Punishment is a process by which the state inflicts some pain to the persons or property of person who is found guilty of Crime. In other words punishment is sanction imposed on an accused for the infringement of the established rules.

3) Object

    The Object of Punishment is to protect society from mischievous and undesirable elements by deterring potential offenders, by preventing the actual offenders from committing further offences and by reforming and turning them into law abiding citizens.

Punishments under the Indian Penal Code 

 Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes five kinds of punishments are as follows : 

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.  

 a) Death : 

         Death Penalty or capital Punishment is the most serious nature of punishment. Some countries abolished it. A death sentence may be awarded under the Indian Penal Code in the following cases -

i) Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India . (Section. 121)

ii) Abatment of mutiny, if mutiny is committed. (Section 132)

iii) Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death (Section. 194)

iv) Murder (Section 302)

v) Abetment of suicide of a minor, or insane or intoxicated person (305)

vi) Attempt to Murder by a person under sentence of imprisonment for life, if hurt is caused (Section 307).

vii) Kidnapping for ransom etc. (Section 364A)

viii) Dacoity with murder (Section 369)

b) Imprisonment for life - 

      Life Imprisonment means a sentence of imprisonment running throughout the remaining period of a convict's natural life (till death). But in practice it is not so.
 According to Section 55 of Indian Penal Code, in every case in which sentence of imprisonment for life shall have been passed, the appropriate Government may, without the consent of the offender, commute the punishment for imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding fourteen years. Section 57 states that in calculating fractions of terms of punishment, imprisonment for life shall be reckoned as equivalent to imprisonment for twenty years.

K.M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra, (AIR 1962 SC 605) 

      In this case supreme court held that imprisonment for life means rigorous imprisonment for life and not simple Imprisonment

 c) Imprisonment - Rigorous and Simple :

       i) Rigorous Imprisonment -
                Imprisonment may be rigorous with hard labour. such as digging earth, cutting wood etc.  
 According to Section 60 of I.P.C in every case in which an offender is punishable with imprisonment which may be of either description, it shall be competent to the Court which sentences such offender to direct in the sentence that such imprisonment shall be wholly rigorous, or that such imprisonment shall be wholly simple or that any part of such imprisonment shall be rigorous and the rest simple.

The Indian Penal Code  prescribes imprisonment as punishment for -

    (1) Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence (Section 194)

    (2) House-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death (Section 449)

      ii) Simple Imprisonment : 

             Simple imprisonment is imposed for small offences like wrongful restraint, defamation etc.  In case of simple imprisonment the convict will not be forced to do any hard manual labour. There are some offences which are punishable with simple imprisonment are as follows :

       1) Refusing to take oath (Section 178)

       2) Defamation (Section 500)

       3) Wrongful restraint
       4) Misconduct by a drunken person, etc (Section 510)

Solitary Confinement 
               Solitary Confinement means keeping a prisoner thoroughly isolated from any kind of contact with the outside  A harsh and hardened convict may be confined in a separate cell to correct his conduct. Court can award this punishment only when the offence is punishable with rigorous imprisonment.

Solitary confinement may be imposed subject to the following restrictions

  (a)  Solitary confinement should not exceed three months of the Substantive term of imprisonment

  (b) It cannot be awarded where imprisonment is not part of the substantive sentence.

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

  (d) It cannot also be awarded where imprisonment is in lieu of fine.

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


d) Forfeiture of property - 

            Forfeiture of property means taking away the property of the criminal by the State.  Forfeiture of property is now abolished except in the case of following offences :

                 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 Courts may impose fine as sole imprisonment or alternative or it may be imposed in addition to the imprisonment. The Indian Penal Code , 1860 prescribes fine along with imprisonment in respect of certain offences. In default of fine, imprisonment may be imposed.

See also 

1) Theories of Punishment

2)  Difference/ Distinction between Deterrent theory and Preventative theory

3) Distinction / Difference between Robbery and Dacoity

4) Kinds of Kidnapping

5) Defamation under the Indian Penal Code

6) Difference/ Distinction between Hurt and Grievous Hurt

7) Criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code

8) Difference between Culpable Homicide and Murder

8) Distinction / Difference between wrongful Restraint and Wrongful Confinement

9) Difference between Giving false Information and Giving false Evidence

10)  Distinction / Difference between Adultery and Rape


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