What Is Meaning Of Offense Under Indian Penal Code

In this blog we will try to understand the meaning of offense under IPC. Indian penal code does not define crime. It rather uses the term "OFFENSE" . Till date we don't have any satisfactory definition of crime.


Meaning Of Offense Under Indian Penal Code

Definition Under Section 40 Of IPC | Concept Of Crime

Meaning Of Offense | Except in the chapters and sections mentioned in clauses 2 and 3 of this section , the word "offense" denotes a thing made punishable by this Code.


In order to understand the actual meaning of offense and, 'why we use offense in place of crime' and 'why we don't have any satisfactory definition of crime' first we need to understand the concept of crime . Many jurists have attempted to define crime in their on way .

Let us have a look at few prominent definitions of crime in order to understand why we have the meaning of offense under Indian penal code and not the crime.


Austin : A wrong which is pursued at the discretion of the injured party or his representatives is a civil injury , a wrong which is pursued by sovereign or his subordinate is a crime.


Blackstone : Crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it. It is a violation of public rights and duties due to the whole community.


Sir James Stephen : Crime is an act which is both forbidden by law and revolting to the moral sentiments of society.


Prof. Kenny : Crimes are wrongs whose sanction is punitive and is no way remissible (capable of being pardoned or remitted) by any private person but is remissible by the crown alone if remissible at all.


Huda : Crime is an act that we consider worthy of serious condemnation. (The principles of law of crimes in British India)


Well, if we discuss the meaning of offense in a broader perspective then , it is not just restricted to the Indian Penal Code . In countries like USA, offense also means an attack,an affront or an insult .


The Concept of Crime is subject to spatial, temporal and societeal variations.

For example : Adultery was a criminal offense in India under section 497, but not so in England and other western countries . Earlier , bigamy was considered to be legitimate act but with the passage of time the same is now being looked down upon and has been a criminal offense. Even today there are certain societies that find nothing wrong in bigamy.



Day by day with the advancement in the field of science and technology , we are becoming witnesses to the advent of new crimes that were completely unheard of earlier. Cyber crime that could hardly be contemplated a decade ago , Today , covers a vast area in the field of crime . It was in the recognition of this principle of variation in the concept of crime , that the Indian Parliament enacted "The Information Technology Act, 2000". This act suitably amended the Indian Penal Code and The Indian Evidence Act in order to penalize cyber crime.


As we have already discussed the meaning of offense under the Indian Penal Code, So, now we have a clear definition of offense mentioned in IPC but we still don't have any concrete definition of crime till now. Further , we will try to understand this with an example of case law.


Case Law : In the case of " Sevaka Perumal Vs State Of Tamil Nadu ", A.I.R 1991 SC 1463 ; The Supreme Court observed that crime is a social phenomenon , which arises first when a state is organised , people set up rules , breaking of which is called crime .


Summary : By going through the above content , we could easily figure out that there can't be a concrete definition of crime because any action which is considered as crime in present , it might not be a crime in future . This was the reason Indian Penal Code does not define crime and uses the word " offense " in place of crime. So, This was a brief explanation of meaning of offense .