Indian Criminal Laws are divided into three major acts i.e. Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973and Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Besides these major acts, special Criminal Laws are also passed by Indian Parliament i.e. NDPS, Prevention of Corruption Act, Food Adulteration Act, Dowry Prevention Act, the Defence of India Act,etc. thousands of minor laws are made in India.
The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the main criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law. The code was drafted in 1860 on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Thomas Babington Macaulay. It came into force in British India during the early British Raj period in 1862. However, it did not apply automatically in the Princely states, which had their own courts and legal systems until the 1940s. The Code has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions.
The objective of this Act is to provide a general penal code for India. Though not an initial objective, the Act does not repeal the penal laws which were in force at the time of coming into force in India. This was so because the Code does not contain all the offences and it was possible that some offences might have still been left out of the Code, which were not intended to be exempted from penal consequences. Though this Code consolidates the whole of the law on the subject and is exhaustive on the matters in respect of which it declares the law, many more penal statutes governing various offences have been created in addition to the code.
The Indian Evidence Act, originally passed in India by the Imperial Legislative Council in 1872, during the British Raj, contains a set of rules and allied issues governing admissibility of evidence in the Indian courts of law.
The enactment and adoption of the Indian Evidence Act was a path-breaking judicial measure introduced in India, which changed the entire system of concepts pertaining to admissibility of evidences in the Indian courts of law. Until then, the rules of evidences were based on the traditional legal systems of different social groups and communities of India and were different for different people depending on caste, religious faith and social position. The Indian Evidence Act introduced a standard set of law applicable to all Indians.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is the main legislation on procedure for administration of substantive criminal law in India. It was enacted in 1973 and came into force on 1 April 1974. It provides the machinery for the investigation of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, determination of guilt or innocence of the accused person and the determination of punishment of the guilty. Additionally, it also deals with public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, child and parents.