Offenses relating to the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Chapter VII of the Indian Penal Code

This chapter deals with offenses relating to the Army, Navy, and Air Force committed by civilians in relation to officers which extends from section 131 to 140.

These section’s main objective is to maintain discipline and order in the Armed Forces of the Union. Most of these offenses are non-bailable except sections 135, 138, and 140. But all of them are cognizable.

This chapter talks about those offence of abetment which might be committed by a regular citizen in connection to an official of the defense service.

The objective is to bring discipline among the officers of the Army, Navy, and Air Force under the Government of India. However, it is somewhat confusing that even though these offences are made punishable, it cannot be dealt with under the Indian Penal Code.

In most of the countries across the globe, the defense personnel is governed by their own special laws. But if they commit serious offenses (like murder or Culpable Homicide) they can be tried by civil or criminal courts.

However, the Military Court does not have the power to exercise jurisdiction if the offense is committed by a civilian. Similarly, as per Section 139 of the code, persons who are subject to court-martial are not be dealt with under the Indian Penal code.

The laws which govern them in India are: 

  • The Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950);
  • The Indian Navy (Discipline) Act, 1934 (34 of 1934); and 
  • The Indian Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950).

Sections in briefs:

Section 131, Indian Penal Code

Abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty.—Whoever abets the committing of mutiny by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force of the. Government of India or attempts to seduce any such officer, soldier, sailor or airman from his allegiance or his duty, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation.—In this section, the words “officer”, “soldier”, “sailor” and “airman” include any person subject to the 119 [Army Act, 120 [the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950, 121 [the Naval Discipline Act, 122 [***] the 121 [Indian Navy (Disci­pline) Act, 1934 (34 of 1934)] 123 [the Air Force Act or 124 [the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950)], as the case may be.

Section 132 on Indian Penal Code:

Abetment of mutiny, if mutiny is committed in consequence thereof.—Whoever abets the committing of mutiny by an officer, soldier, 1[sailor or airman] in the Army, 2[Navy or Air Force] of the 3[Government of India], shall, if mutiny is committed in consequence of that abetment, be punished with death or with 4[imprisonment for life], or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation: In this section the words “officer”, “soldier”, “sailor” and “airman” include any person subject to the 1 Army Act, 1 the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), the Naval Discipline Act, 1 the Indian Navy (Discipline) Act,1934 (34 of 1934) 1 the Air Force Act or 1 the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950), as the case may be.

Section 133 on Indian Penal Code:

Abetment of assault by soldier, sailor or airman on his superior officer, when in the execution of his office.—Whoever abets an assault by an officer, soldier, 1[sailor or airman], in the Army, 2[Navy or Air Force] of the 3[Government of India], on any superior officer being in the execution of his office, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 134 on Indian Penal Code:

Abetment of such assault, if the assault committed.– Whoever abets an assault by an officer, soldier, [1] sailor or airman, in the Army, [2] Navy or Air Force of the [3] Government of India, on any superior officer being in the execution of his office, shall, if such assault is committed in consequence of that abetment be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 135 on Indian Penal Code:

Abetment of desertion of soldier, sailor or airman.—Whoever abets the desertion of any officer, soldier, 1[sailor or airman], in the Army, 2[Navy or Air Force] of the 3[Government of India], shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 136 on Indian Penal Code:

Whoever, except as hereinafter excepted, knowing or having reason to believe that an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force of the Government of India, has deserted, harbors such officer, soldier, sailor or airman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine or with both.

Explanation: This provision does not extend to the case in which the harbor is given by a wife to her husband.

Note: It is an cognizable offense trial-able by any magistrate

Section 137 on Indian Penal Code:

Deserter concealed on board merchant vessel through negligence of master.—The master or person in charge of a merchant vessel, on board of which any deserter from the Army, 1[Navy or Air Force] of the 2[Government of India] is concealed, shall, though ignorant of such concealment, be liable to a penalty not exceeding five hundred rupees, if he might have known of such concealment but for some neglect of his duty as such master or person in charge, or but for some want of discipline on board of the vessel.

Section 138 on Indian Penal Code:

An application of foregoing sections to the Indian Marine Services-[Rep. by the Amending Act, 1934(XXXV of 1934)S.2 & Schedule].

Section 139 on Indian Penal Code:

Persons subject to certain Acts.—No person subject to 146 [the Army Act, 147 [the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), or the Naval Discipline Act, 148 [ 149 [***] 150 [the Indian Navy (Discipline) Act, 1934 (34 of 1934)], 151 [the Air Force Act 152 [the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950)]]], is subject to punishment under this Code for any of the offences defined in this Chapter.

Section 140 on Indian Penal Code:

Wearing garb or carrying token used by soldier, sailor or airman.—Whoever, not being a soldier, [sailor or airman], in the Military, [Naval or Air] service of the [Government of India], wears any garb or carries any token resembling any garb or token used by such a soldier,  [sailor or airman] with the intention that it may be believed that he is such a soldier,  [sailor or airman], shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

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