All you need to know about Offence

Offence: According to section 40 of the Indian Penal Code, if someone does something or fails to do something that the law considers punishable, it’s considered an offense. For an action to be deemed an offense, four elements need to be present:

  • A person who commits the act or omission,
  • An intention behind the action,
  • Actual act or failure to act,
  • Resulting harm or injury.

So basically, for an offense to occur, you need a person with a certain intention who does or doesn’t do something, and that action (or inaction) leads to some kind of harm.


An individual forms a company or a group of people. Those individuals covered under the “General Exceptions” category are not considered as persons.


In simpler terms, when it comes to committing a crime, it’s not just about the action itself but also the intention behind it. This intention is often referred to as “mens rea,” which essentially means having a guilty mind or wrongful intent. There’s a saying that captures this idea: “Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea,” which translates to “An act does not make a person guilty unless there is a guilty mind.” In other words, it emphasizes that an action isn’t considered an offense unless it’s done with a bad motive or guilty intention.

Exceptions of mens rea:

  • Kidnapping
  • Bigamy
  • Adultery
  • Contempt of Court
  • Public nuisance
  • Cases of strict liability

Act/ Omission

Acting means “doing something,” while omission means “refraining from doing anything” or “not fulfilling a responsibility.” According to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), an act encompasses both actions and omissions. The code specifies that an act can be a single action or a sequence of actions. Similarly, an omission can be a single instance of not doing something or a series of neglecting responsibilities. In simpler terms, there needs to be a wrongful act, known as “actus reus,” for an offense to occur.


There are 4 types of injuries –

  1. Body – injuries like hurt, grievous hurt,  murder, attempt to murder, attempt to suicide, dowry death, culpable homicide etc.
  2. Mind- cruelty etc
  3. Reputation- defamation etc
  4. Property – Theft, robbery, dacoity etc.
  • IPC describes only one kind of property which is called “movable property”. The words “movable property” intended to include corporeal property of every description, except land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything, which is attached to the earth.
  • Thus movable property includes Corporeal property or tangible property which means a property that can be perceived by the senses.
  • And it does not include “land”, “things attached to the earth” or “permanently fastened to anything, which is attached to the earth”.

Read Also: Incompetence Through Status in Contracts

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