Types of Punishment in IPC

According to section 53 of The Indian Penal Code of 1860, there are five different types of punishment in IPC: Death sentence, life imprisonment, simple or Rigorous imprisonment, fines, and property Forfeiture. Said punishment may also be imposed simultaneously to achieve the intended purpose and to prevent offenses from being committed.

The general provisions for punishing various offenses are listed in sections 53 to 75 IPC. Sections 63-70 contain provisions on the imposition of fines and possible alternative sanctions in the event of non-payment of fines.

Types of Punishment in IPC

  1. Death sentence
  2. Life imprisonment,
  3. Imprisonment (Rigorous and Simple)
  4. Forfeiture of property
  5. Fines

Death sentence

A death sentence is a government-sanctioned sentence imposed by a court where a person is executed for a crime they commit. According to a report from July 2018, 56 countries have retained the death penalty, while 106 countries have abolished the death penalty completely for all crimes. It is also called capital punishment.

The Supreme Court in the case, Macchi Singh v. the State of Punjab, broadened the conclusion contained in Bacchan Singh. Here are some observations made by the court:

  • A death sentence can only be ordered in the rarest of rare cases.
  • Before imposing the death penalty, the circumstances of the offender should be taken into account.
  • The death penalty may only be imposed if the life sentence is actually consistent with the offense committed by the offender.
  • Before deciding on the death penalty, account should be taken of both attenuating and aggravating circumstances and of mitigating factors.

In the case of Jagmohan Singh v. Uttar Pradesh, The SC ruled that the approach to imposing the death penalty should be balanced against the attenuating and aggravating circumstances of the offenses. However, in the case of Bachan Singh, this approach was first challenged by changes to the CrPc. In line with the amendment to Cr.P.C. for murder, the offender is punishable by life imprisonment. After due consideration of the amendment, the Court ruled that the death penalty may be applied only in special cases.

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment means imprisonment for the entire remaining period of the natural life of the convict (until the last breath). But in practice, this is not the case. “Consistent with section 55 of the Indian Penal Code, in any case where a life sentence may be imposed, the government concerned may, without the consent of the offender, alter any depiction of imprisonment for a period not exceeding fourteen years.” “section 57 provides that, when calculating the sentence, the life sentence may be equated to a term of imprisonment of up to twenty years”.

Types of Punishment in IPC

Imprisonment (Rigorous and Simple)

  • Rigorous Imprisonment

In the case of Rigorous imprisonment, the offender performs heavy work such as chopping corn, digging the ground, taking water, chopping wood, mowing the grass, etc.

  • Simple Imprisonment

Simple imprisonment is forced for small offenses like wrongful restraint, defamation, etc.

Forfeiture of Property

Forfeiture of property means taking the property of criminals by the state as a punishment. The penalty of the total Forfeiture of all property of criminals has been abolished.
Except for the following offenses:

  • Section 126 of IPC – Committing depredation on territories of Power at peace with the government of India.
  • Section 127 of IPC – Receiving property taken by war or depredation.
  • The Section 169 of IPC – The property purchased or bid by a public servant unlawfully.


The court may order the fine as an alternative to the imprisonment sentence or may consider it in addition to the imprisonment sentence. In some cases, the fine is counted along with the sentence of imprisonment.

Types of Punishment in IPC

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