Know The Law

Types of Criminal Offences in India

Criminal offenses are regrettably but inescapably committed in a diversified nation like India, with its rich cultural legacy and large population. The Indian Penal Code (IPC), a comprehensive piece of legislation enacted in 1860, classifies and specifies a variety of offenses that are subject to legal punishment. Understanding India's complicated legal system requires a thorough understanding of the many categories of criminal offenses and the IPC examples that correlate to each category.


The scope of criminal activity in India is extensive and complex, ranging from horrible acts that shock the country to lesser-known offenses that frequently go unreported. This blog attempts to give information on the most prominent categories of criminal offenses in the nation as well as illustrative instances taken from the Indian Penal Code, in different categories along with the examples for it, like bailable, non-bailable, cyber crimes, etc.

Bailable and Non-Bailable Offenses 

Bailable Offense: Bailable offenses are less severe offenses. These offenses are mostly those that are punishable with imprisonment for less than three years or with only a fine. Example: A wrongful restraint offense is subject to bail under Section 341 of the IPC.

Non-Bailable Offense: Non-bailable offenses are offenses where an accused does not have the right to exempt himself from bail. These are offenses punishable by death and rigorous imprisonment for more than seven years. Example: The IPC's Section 302 addresses the crime of murder. Because murder is a serious felony that includes the deliberate killing of a person, it is not subject to bail. 

Cognizable and Non-Cognizable Offenses 

Cognizable Offense: As per the CrPC, a cognizable offense is an offense in which the police officer can arrest the convict without a warrant and can initiate an investigation without the intervention of the court. Cognizable offenses are generally heinous in nature and carry severe punishments under the Indian penal code. Example: Assault causing grievous harm: If someone physically assaults another person and leaves them with serious wounds, this might be regarded as a cognizable offense. 

Non-Cognizable Offense: Non-cognizable offenses are those where the police administration does not have the unfettered authority to arrest without a warrant. These offenses are petty and menial and do not entail stringent punishments under the law. Example: Criminal defamation: Defamation is frequently a non-cognizable offense, which prevents police from arresting without a warrant.

Compoundable and Non-Compoundable Offenses

Compoundable offenses: Compoundable offenses are those where the aggrieved party can undertake to withdraw proceedings against the accused in exchange for some form of consideration, thereby settling. Section 320 of the CrPC classifies compoundable offenses into two subclasses, namely:

a. Compoundable cases which compounded without the intervention of a court; and 

b. Compoundable cases that can only be settled with the authorization of a court of law 

If the parties agree to settle the matter and reach a settlement, the court of law will record such a settlement and dispose of the proceedings. Example: Section 323 of the IPC, which deals with "voluntarily causing hurt," is a compoundable offense.

Non-compoundable Offences:

These offenses cannot be settled by agreement between the parties to the crime. Section 320 of the CrPC also provides the offenses that do not fall under the category of non-compoundable offenses. These offenses are often severe and against public policy. Example: Section 302 of the IPC, which deals with "murder," is a non-compoundable offense. 

Offenses Against the Human Body 

Section 299: Culpable Homicide: This section addresses the crime of intentionally causing another person's death. It includes circumstances in which a death happens knowing that it will likely result in death or to cause such harm. Example: It may be deemed responsible murder if someone purposefully shoots and kills another person.

Section 304A: Causing Death by Negligence: This section discusses negligently causing someone to pass away. It is applicable when a person dies as a result of a defendant's careless behavior, not because they intended to kill someone. Example: If a driver causes an accident that results in a fatality while driving recklessly, this might be regarded as causing death by carelessness.

Section 325: Voluntarily Causing Grievous Hurt: The deliberate infliction of serious injury on another person is the topic of this section. Injuries that could risk life or result in serious physical harm are referred to as grievous injuries. Example: Using a weapon to attack someone and cause major injuries, for instance, could be regarded as willingly causing grievous harm.

Section 354: Assault or Criminal Force on a Woman with Intent to Outrage Her Modesty: This section addresses crimes involving physical abuse or the use of force against women to offend their modesty. It includes behaviors deemed an assault on a woman's modesty. Example: molestation, eve-teasing, or any purposeful physical contact

Section 376: Rape This section addresses the crime of rape, which entails having sex with someone without their consent. Rape is a serious crime that carries legal repercussions. The chapter discusses many types of sexual assault. Example: Assaults that involve physical force, coercion, or taking advantage of the victim's inability to consent

Offenses Against Property

Theft (Section 378): Theft happens when someone takes someone else's movable property dishonestly without that person's permission and with the goal of permanently robbing them of it. Example: It would be theft under the IPC if someone took a wallet out of another person's pocket without that person's knowledge or consent.

Robbery (Section 390): Theft committed via the use of force, intimidation, or the threat of immediate injury is known as robbery. Typically, it entails taking something out of someone's direct possession. Example: It would be robbery if someone threatened with violence or used physical force to steal a pocketbook from someone else's hand.

Criminal trespass (Section 441): Criminal trespass is defined as the unauthorized entry or re-entry onto another person's property to commit an offense or annoy that person. Example: It would occur if someone entered someone else's home or property without permission.

Mischief (Section 425): Mischief is the intentional destruction of another person's property or its uselessness to inflict harm or inconvenience. It covers actions like damaging, destroying, or changing the property. Example: It would be considered mischief under the IPC if someone deliberately shattered a car's windows.

Criminal Breach of Trust (Section 405): A person who has been trusted with someone else's property commits a criminal breach of trust when they dishonestly misappropriate or convert it for their own gain, in defiance of the trust that has been placed in them. Example: It would be a criminal breach of trust if a financial advisor used client funds improperly or for personal advantage.

Economic Offenses

Cheating (Section 415–420): Cheating entails misleading a person to obtain an unfair advantage. This can involve making untrue promises, employing dishonest methods, or making dishonest claims to benefit oneself. Example: It may be called cheating if someone offers to sell something but intentionally delivers a replica.

Forgery (Section 463–470): The act of creating a counterfeit document or changing an authentic document with the aim of deceiving or committing fraud is known as a forgery. It includes creating false or fraudulent documents, including legal papers, stamps, and money. Example: It would be deemed forgery if someone produced a false certificate to obtain employment.

Criminal Breach of Trust (Section 405-409): A criminal breach of trust occurs when someone who has been entrusted with money or property misappropriates it or dishonestly uses it without legal justification for their gain or the gain of another person.  Example: It would be if a financial advisor used their client's money for personal expenses.

Money laundering (Section 417): Money laundering refers to the process of hiding the source of money that has been obtained unlawfully to make it appear genuine. It is frequently used to conceal the true source of finances and is linked to the proceeds of illicit activity. Example: It would be someone who uses a series of intricate financial maneuvers to hide the questionable source of money made from drug trafficking.

Insider Trading (Section 417A): Insider trading is the act of purchasing or disposing of stocks or other assets based on private or proprietary knowledge that has not yet become generally known to the public. It entails making use of confidential knowledge to gain an advantage or prevent harm.  Example: When a business executive trades stock based on secret knowledge of an impending merger.


Hacking (Section 66): Unauthorized Unauthorized access to a computer system or network to cause harm or obtain information is known as hacking. Example: breaking into someone's email account without permission and using it to send nefarious emails or steal sensitive data.

Identity Theft (Section 66C): Using someone else's identity or personal information for illicit purposes is known as identity theft. Example: Creating a phony social media profile using someone else's identity and images, for instance, to deceive people or conduct fraud.

Online harassment (Section 354D) is the act of harassing another person by using rude, abusive, or threatening language or actions. Examples: Disclosing someone's personal information without permission, sending hateful messages, or engaging in cyberstalking.

Online fraud (Section 420): using technology to deceive or swindle someone. Example: phishing scams where people are duped into divulging their financial and personal details.

Data Theft (Section 378): Obtaining or copying someone else's data or intellectual property without their consent is considered data theft. Example: Taking secret business information or material protected by copyright from a company's database

Defamation (Section 499): Publishing incorrect and damaging material about someone online that damages their reputation is known as defamation. Example: making false rumors circulating online or posting defamatory statements on social media platforms.

Cyberbullying (Section 507): Using electronic communication to intimidate, harass, or degrade someone is known as cyberbullying. Example: sending threatening messages, starting rumors, or disseminating offensive material to specific people.

Online Child Exploitation (Section 67B): Online sexually explicit material involving children is created, disseminated, or accessed. Example: online exploitation of children, grooming, and child pornography

Offenses Against Women

Rape (Section 375): Rape is a severe offense that entails extramarital sex. It is a crime that is sanctioned under Section 375 of the IPC. Example: A man approaches a woman and forces himself upon her without her permission before engaging in sexual intercourse.

Dowry Death (Section 304B): This refers to the killing of a woman who was subjected to abuse or harassment by her husband or his family as a result of dowry demands. Example: A woman dies after being subjected to relentless harassment, torture, or abuse by her husband or in-laws because she refused to pay the dowry they demanded.

Cruelty to Women (Section 498A): This addresses violence against married women. The husband or his family members may engage in physical or psychological abuse for the dowry or for any other cause. Example: A woman may endure ongoing physical or emotional abuse at the hands of her husband and members of his family since her parents did not pay the required dowry.

Acid Attack (Section 326A): Acid attacks are when someone is attacked with acid or another corrosive chemical and suffers serious injuries, disfigurement, or impairments as a result. Example: Someone throws acid on a woman's face intending to hurt or disfigure her, causing grave injury.

Stalking (Section 354D): The act of persistently following, chasing, or contacting a woman while causing her anxiety or distress is known as stalking. Example: A woman experiences substantial worry and dread when a man persistently follows her, sends her unwelcome messages, and loiters outside of her home or place of employment.

Sexual Harassment (Section 354A): Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any unwanted physical, verbal, or nonverbal actions of a sexual character are all considered sexual harassment. Example: When a supervisor makes inappropriate sexual comments, advances, or gestures towards a female employee.

Trafficking of Women (Section 370): Recruiting, transporting, or forcing women into labor for exploitation, including sexual exploitation, constitutes trafficking in women. Example: A criminal organization kidnaps young girls and sells them into prostitution or forced labor to make money.

Offenses Against the State

Section 121: Waging, or attempting to wage, a war against the Government of India

The acts of waging or attempting to wage war against the Government of India are the subject of this section. It covers actions like plotting to start a war, gathering weapons with the intention of starting a war or taking part in any hostile operations against the nation. Example: A group of people from a terrorist organization decide to overthrow the Indian government and install their own government. They organize and carry out several attacks on military installations and government buildings.

Section 121A: Conspiracy to commit offenses punishable by Section 121

Conspiracies to commit crimes under Section 121 are addressed in this section. It focuses on those people or organizations that want to wage war against the Indian government. Example: A group of people creates a covert organization with the intention of undermining the Indian government. They prepare and coordinate a series of explosions that will target important cities around the nation.

Section 122: Collecting arms, etc., with the intention of waging war against the Government of India

The act of seeking to obtain weapons, ammunition, or other military hardware with the purpose of waging war against the Government of India is included in this section. Example: A person is discovered in charge of a significant collection of illicit weapons, explosives, and other military-grade supplies. According to investigations, the person bought these weapons with the goal of using them to topple the government.

Section 124A: Sedition

This section addresses the crime of sedition, which includes activities that incite hostility, disaffection, or disdain for the Indian government. It entails saying or doing things that could ignite violence or lead to a riot. Example: A public figure makes a speech in which they urge people to use force to overthrow the Indian government and urge a violent revolution.

Important Note: It is important to note that offenses are determined by the IPC and can vary depending on the specific provisions and circumstances of the case. The examples provided here are for illustrative purposes and should not be considered an exhaustive list. The final decision on granting bail rests with the judiciary, considering the facts and circumstances of each case.

Author Bio: Adv Samarth Teotia specializes in white-collar crime and criminal law litigation and advisory. He also has extensive knowledge of civil law matrimonial law and legal fields. Having run his own office Samarth has extensive experience in conducting trials and helping all stakeholders throughout the trial in cases about bodily offences money laundering, prevention of corruption, cheating, criminal breach of trust, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, and others. Samarth has handled several high-profile and sensitive matters in diverse aspects of criminal law and civil law, ranging from representing clients before courts, assisting in law enforcement requests, and extradition proceedings, and arguing matters before various Courts in Delhi and the High Courts of several states across the country.