The general exceptions are defences available to the accused to avoid criminal liability. These are contained in Chapter IV of the Indian Penal Code. These include insanity, intoxication, consent, private defence etc.

If the person accused of an offence successfully proves that these exceptions are applicable to him, no criminal liability is imposed on him.

As mentioned before, mens rea and actus reus are the essential ingredients of a crime. Generally speaking, these general exceptions are nothing but circumstances where mens rea cannot be attributed to the accused and so he is not guilty

Object of Chapter IV of the Indian Penal Code:

  1. To identity the exceptional circumstances by which a person can escape criminal liability and
  2. To remove the necessity of repeating the exceptions for every offence, thereby making the Code simpler and streamlined.

The following are the Exception under Criminal Law:

  • Section 76 – Mistake by a person who is bound by law:

The person doing the act believed in good faith that he was bound by law to do it.

  • Section 77 – Judicial Acts:

It is done by a judge. When he is exercising judicial powers.

  • Section 78 – Acts done pursuant to judgment of Court:

It is done to comply with the judgment of Court.

  • Section 82 and 83 – Acts of a Child:

An act is not an offence if it is done by a child under 7 years of age. The law presumes that a child under 7 years is doli incapax i.e., incapable of distinguishing right from wrong.

  • Section 80 – Accident:

The accident happens while doing a lawful act in a lawful manner.

The following are the other exceptions are as follows:

  • Section 81 – Necessity
  • Section 83 – ‘Child between 7 and 12 years of age’
  • Section 84 – Acts of Unsound Person
  • Section 85 – Acts of intoxicated Person
  • Section 87 – Acts done by consent of person above 18 years
  • Section 89 – Acts done with the consent of the guardian
  • Section 92 – Acts done for benefit of a person without consent
  • Section 93 – Communication made in good faith
  • Section 94 – Acts done by Compulsion or Threat
  • Section 95 – Trivial Acts
  • Section 96-106 – Private Defence

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