Section 6- Definitions in the code to be understood subject to exceptions
Section 6 IPC specifically states that, “Throughout this code every definition of an offence, every penal provision, and every illustration of every such definition or penal provision, shall be understood subject to the exceptions contained in the Chapter entitled “General Exceptions”, though those exceptions are not repeated in such definition, penal provision, or illustration.
Further, the Code also provides for some illustrations which help in better understanding the scope of IPC 6. These illustrations are as follows:
The sections, in this code, which contain definitions of offences, do not express that a child under seven years of age cannot commit such offences, but the definitions are to be understood subject to the general exception which provides that nothing shall be an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age.
A, a police-officer, without a warrant, apprehends Z, who has committed murder. Here A is not guilty of the offence of wrongful confinement; for he was bound by law to apprehend Z and therefore the case falls within the general exception which provides that “ nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is bound by the law to do it”.
The explanation of above-stated sec 6 IPC, itself states that every definition that defines the meaning, nature, scope of that offence, every that provision as mentioned that aims to penalise the person for the wrongful act committed by him and every illustration defining the offence with the help of examples shall be understood as exceptions as they are mentioned in the chapter “General Exceptions”.
The purpose of this section 6 Indian Penal Code is to make the terms of a section easy to understand. It leaves no bar that could later create confusion on the scope of a particular section.
This sec 6 Indian Penal Code demands the use of language that can be easily understood by people. This section somehow extends the ambit of other sections of the code through illustrations. Illustrations provided are also inclusive of the offences as well as the exception to the provision thereto.
In the above- mentioned illustration of this section, two situations are stated:
In the first one where it says that a child below the age of 7 years cannot commit any offence. Rather, it should be understood in totality and further stated as nothing shall be an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age. This makes the fact clear that no child who is below the age of 7 years can commit an offence for which he may be held liable. A child below 7 years is still in his growing years and till that age does not attain that level of maturity where he can make rational decisions. Therefore, on the basis of a mere act committed by him, that is criminal in nature, he cannot be held liable for punishment.
Whereas, in the second illustration, it is stated that a police officer without a warrant arrests a person who has committed murder. According to the penal code, a person is liable for punishment who wrongfully confines someone or restrains his way. However, in this case, the situation is different. The police officer arresting the person is bound by the law to do so and shall not be held guilty for causing wrongful confinement. Also, It depends on the matter to matter whether the offence committed is bailable or not.
Thus, the exception provided in these illustrations are:
Hence, the above-stated section provides that the definition, provisions shall be understood as subject to exceptions.