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Report No. 156

Chapter XII

The Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 1978

12.01. The Indian Penal Code was placed on the statute book in the middle of the last century and the title "Indian Penal Code" given by the then Law Commission refers to the basic criminal law. The Indian Penal Code which is the basic Penal Law of India, is thus more than 134 years old and the task of bringing it to date was taken up by the Law Commission of India in the year 1969 and it presented its 42nd Report in 1971. The Government after a careful examination of the recommendations made by the Law Commission, introduced a comprehensive Bill in the Rajya Sabha in 1972.

A Joint Parliamentary Committee scrutinised the same for nearly four and a half years. After finalisation by the Parliamentary Committee, the Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in November, 1978. However, it could not be passed in the Lok Sabha as it was dissolved in 1979. For some reason or the other this Bill was not again introduced. The Government of India, however, made. a reference to the Law Commission of India to undertake a comprehensive revision of the I.P.C. and to come up with appropriate recommendations.

12.02. Since the provisions of the Bill are mainly based on the recommendations made in 42nd Report, we propose to examine the recommendations made by the Law Commission in its 42nd Report and the changes in the circumstances in the meanwhile and make our own assessment of the necessity to bring about the changes and also indicate modifications to the various clauses in the Bill wherever it is necessary.

In the present Bill there are 151 amendments, 95 substitutions, 32 omissions and 25 insertions. Apart from these, new sections 130A to 140 are substituted to the existing Chapter VII and sections 490, 491 and 492 are substituted under Chapter XIX by changing the heading. as 'Offences against Privacy' instead of the existing heading 'Criminal Breach of Contracts of Service'.

In addition, two new chapters, namely, Chapters VB and XVIIIA are inserted and Chapter XXIII containing section 511 under the title "Attempts to Commit Offences" has been omitted. Sections 161 to 165A have been omitted by and transposed to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Besides, some of the sections or clauses or sub-clauses are renumbered.

After introduction of the Proposed Bill, sections 228A (Disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences, etc.) and 304B (Dowry death) were inserted by Acts 43 of 1983 and 43 of 1986, respectively. Sections 375 and 376 (Sexual offences) and heading of the chapter were substituted by sections 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D by Act 43 of 1983. A partial amendment to Explanation 1 to section 405 has been made. In Edition, a new Chapter XXA containing a new section 498A was inserted by Act 46 of 1983%

There are 207 clauses in the 1978 Bill. Clauses 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 16, 39, 40, 44, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 53, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 65, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120, 121, 126, 127, 129, 132, 133, 135, 136, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 147, 148, 150, 153, 154, 156, 156.102 One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Report 157, 158, 185, 186, 189, 191, 192, 193, 195, 200, 202, 205 and 207 are only inconsequential.

The changes proposed in the other clauses contemplate to bring about the basic penal statute of this country updated to remove lacunae and make it useful for meeting the optimum needs. Several new offences are proposed to be included which would result in large scale changes in the First Schedule of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

We have carefully perused these clauses of the Bill and we find that some of the changes contemplated go beyond the recommendations made by the Law Commission in its 42nd Report. Therefore, we think it necessary to examine each of these clauses as indicated already.

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