December 3, 2020

Offences against State

Whenever a crime is committed it is treated as offences against the state when it disturbs public order and tranquillity. but under the Indian penal code certain offences are categorically specified as offences against state dealt in section 121, 121A, 122, 123, 124A, 153 &153B. A total of 524 cases has been reported as offences against the state as of 2014 majorly of which were reported in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Offences against the state are offences committed against the state as well as the government disturbing public tranquilly and peace and peril national integration.

Section 124 of the Indian penal code majorly deals with waging war against government, attempting to wage a war, abetting waging of war against the government. Waging of war basically signifies the act of fulfil something or trying to fulfil something of public nature by using the way of violence.

Waging of war is generally associated with unlawful assembly as in such kind of offences many people fiercely come together and rise together in and disturb the public peace in order to full fill common has to be highlighted that in such kind of offence the intention and purpose of the act matters and not the force involve in such an offence.

How IPC defines waging war

Section 121 defines waging of war. Waging of war shall be understood in a literal sense and it shall not be understood as creating war like situations. The overt act of collecting men ammunition is not included. More specifically inter-country war like situation involving military operation is not included under the purview of this section.

Section 121 uses the word whosoever while defining waging of war. The word whosoever has been given a wider scope and does not necessarily mean Indian nationals in certain cases the hon’ble supreme court of India has held foreign nationals liable for wain war. One such example is Mumbai terror attack where the main accused was a foreign national. More importantly this section makes attempt and abetting such war also an offence punishable under IPC.

Elements involve in waging of war

· There must be waging of war or

· There must be an attempt waging war or

· There must be abetment of waging of war

Such waging must be against government of India. This offence is a non bailable and cognizable offence punishable with life imprisonment.

section 121A of the act deals with the conspiracy of the offence punishable under section 121 as an offence this section majorly speaks about two crimes, i.e.,

1. conspiring to commit crime punishable under section 121

2. conspire to overawe the government of India by use of criminal force

this section makes this punishable which imprisonment of either description for life.

Section 122 deals with preparation for waging of war this section basically makes the collection of men, arms and ammunition to wage war or with an intention to wage war against the government punishable with imprisonment of either description not exceeding 10 years.

Concealment with intent to facilitate design to wage war.

This provision has been dealt in section 123 of the IPC. This section makes the act or illegal omission to wage war or with the knowledge or intention of waging war against the government conceals the existence of a design to wage war against the government is punishable with imprisonment of either description which may extend to 10 years.


Section 124A of IPC deals with sedition it states that the offence od sedition is committed when a person by his words either written spoken or by visible representation brings in hatred or attempts to create hatred or attempts to excites disaffection toward the government of India commits the crime of sedition. By the explanation provided in the laws it is clear that mere an attempt of committing such crime can lead to serious consequences.

The word disaffection used in the section signifies and includes the feeling of dishonesty and enmity toward the government. If any act ids done without the intention of creating any hatred towards the government then it doesn’t constitute as sedition. Some of the famous cases of sedition were of Bal Gangadhara tilak and mahatma Gandhi for the articles published in ‘’Young India’’.


Many a times the constitutional validity of the sedition law is questions as to whether it is an infringement of the fundament aright of right to speak. Its constitutional validity was 1st challenged in the case of Kedar Nath v/s state of Bihar[1]. In this case the hon’ble supreme court upheld the law and was of the opinion that this law is in existence for the protection of state itself. But made the observation that ‘’a person could be prosecuted for sedition only if his acts caused incitement to violence or intention or tendency to create public disorder or cause disturbance of public peace”[2].

The court also stated a citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the Government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the Government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder”


Offence against the state are of wide scope and many times these rights are questioned on the lights of infringement of fundamental rights of citizens. When laws with wide scope are framed its misuse becomes easy. But to make this law work and avoid its misuse it is very essential to know the thin line difference between criticism of the work of government of India and the act of creating hatred.

[1] 1962 AIR 955

Author Details: Kajal Jain

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