Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

Indian Penal Code


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IPC

Mains level : Need for revamping the colonial era IPC

  • The Home Ministry is all set to overhaul the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

About IPC

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India.
  • It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  • The code was drafted in 1860 on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the chairmanship of Macaulay.
  • It came into force in British India during the early British Raj period in 1862.
  • However, it did not apply automatically in the Princely states, which had their own courts and legal systems until the 1940s.
  • The Code has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions.

Why IPC needs revamp?

  • The rebooting of IPC introduced by the British in 1860 was necessary as it is primarily based on the spirit of “master and servant.”
  • In the British era, the police were raised to protect their interests, but now their duty is to “protect the people”.
  • There is uneven punishment for crimes of grievous nature. For example — snatching of chains or bags on road. It could be life-threatening in some cases but the punishment is not commensurate with the gravity of the crime.
  • Depending on the whims of the police, it is booked under robbery or theft. We have to standardize the punishment.

Earlier amendments

  • In 2016, the Home Ministry had proposed insertion of two stricter anti-racial discrimination provisions in the IPC.
  • The two amendments — Section 153A and Section 509A “to deal with racially motivated crimes” received lukewarm response from the States.
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