Section 504 IPC
India's legal system has rules based on the ideals of humanity and peace, as well as laws aimed at protecting public tranquility. The Indian Penal Code, enacted in 1860, offers a list of criminal offences and their punishments. All of the crimes listed in the IPC are classified into different categories and assigned to different chapters. Chapter XXII of IPC is titled “Of Criminal Intimidation, Insult and Annoyance” and it covers Sections 503 to 510. This article discusses the offence stated under Section 504 of the IPC. Insult is a common word that we often heard and used without giving it a thought. But the intensity of this term is high enough to make it a criminal offence
Explanation of Section 504 IPC
According to Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code, whoever intentionally insults and thus causes provocation to any person, intending to cause provocation or knowing that such provocation would likely cause him to break the public peace or commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to two years, fine, or both. This Section punishes anyone who provokes someone by insulting him and causes a commotion in a public place, or induces the offended person to conduct any other criminal offence. The use of offensive language is quite usual among the people and a lot of times the offensive nature of the abusive words is not taken as the element of an offence to attract criminal liability. But when such language is used by a person to insult the other one intentionally, with the intention or knowledge that his words are likely to provoke the person so insulted to break the public peace, he may be penalized under Section 504.
Ingredients of Section 504 IPC
A person is supposed to commit an offence under this Section if his act fulfils the conditions constituting essential ingredients for the said offence. The ingredients of Section 504 are listed hereunder as:
The accused has insulted the other person intentionally.
The intention of the person should be such that it is likely to provoke the person who has been insulted.
The accused has the knowledge that such provocation would cause the person to break the public peace or under the influence of which, he can commit some other offence.
The provocation and the knowledge that the act of provoking another person may lead him to do something which can break the public peace are the secondary ingredients. A person is provoked only when he has been insulted intentionally by some other person. This implies that the foremost ingredient of committing an offence under this Section is an intentional insult. The element of mens rea is necessary.
Section 504 of IPC takes into account the intensity of the verbal disrespect so as to be sufficient to provoke the insulted person. The Courts in various judgments have noted that mere use of abusive words in a usual fight does not constitute an offence under Section 504 as it lacks the most important ingredient of intentional insult. the act of intentionally infuriating or provoking someone to commit an offence and cause a breach of public peace is an offence under this Section. This means that the mere act of intentionally insulting an individual to provoke him is an offence irrespective of whether the breach of public peace has occurred or not. Thus, this Section safeguards the dignity of the citizens by assuring them that the substantive law consists of the provision which protects the self-respect and dignity of every individual living in our country.