SECTION 504 IPC - Indian Penal Code - Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace

Last Updated: 01 Apr, 2024
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

IPC 504 in Simple Words

If someone intentionally insults another person, knowing it could provoke them to disturb public peace or commit another offense, they can be punished with imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, or both.

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Offence : Insult intended to provoke breach of the peace

Punishment : 2 Years or Fine or Both

Cognizance : Non-Cognizable

Bail : Bailable

Triable : Any Magistrate

Section 504 IPC punishes a person who willfully offends someone to provoke them, knowing that their insult may cause them to commit an offence or act in a way that jeopardizes public order. Use LawRato guides and articles to better understand Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code.


Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”) prescribes punishment for the offence of ‘intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace.

The purpose of this section is to stop people from using abusive, insulting language intentionally, which leads to provocation and causes the person being rebuked to break the peace. It's not necessary for there to have been an actual disturbance of peace for commission of an offence under Section 504, IPC.

The essential ingredients that go into the making of an offence under Section 504, IPC are:

1. That the accused has intentionally insulted some person; and

2. That the insult is such as to give provocation to the person insulted; and

3. That the accused has either intended or known that such provocation would cause the person insulted to break the public peace or to commit an offence.

In order to understand Section 504, IPC better, let us imagine the following –

  • X intentionally abuses Y involving the chastity of his mother and sister. He does so with the knowledge that such an insult is likely to provoke him to cause breach in public peace. X has committed an offence under Section 504, IPC even if Y does not act upon such provocation.

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If you have any legal query regarding section 504 of IPC, you can get free legal advice through LawRato.


Generally, for any criminal liability to arise under IPC i.e., for a person to be held guilty for having committed an offence under IPC, it is important that he/she fulfils the essential criminal ingredients or criteria stipulated under the IPC for that particular offence.

Broadly, IPC defines offences by laying down two of its essential components –

a. Actus Reus i.e., the criminal act which the accused must have compulsorily performed.


b. Mens Rea i.e., the criminal mind which the accused must have compulsorily entertained while performing the above-stated criminal act.

It is when an accused performs a criminal act under the influence of a criminal mind (as per the essential criminal ingredients for a particular offence), that he can be said to have committed that offence, in the eyes of law.

In other words, a criminal act must co-exist with a criminal mind in order for an act to be an offence under IPC and for criminal liability to arise thereunder.


For a person to be held guilty for the offence of ‘intentional insult with the intent to provoke breach of peace’ under Section 504, IPC it is important for the prosecution to compulsorily prove the following:

1. Nature of the criminal act under Section 504, IPC:

a. The accused must have ‘insulted’ the victim.

The term ‘insult’ means that the words used by the accused must be of such a nature that poses disrespect to the dignity of the victim or which causes in him a sense of humiliation or deep social embarrassment. ‘Insult’ includes the use of abuses or expletives that people routinely make part of their speech, such as - bastard, foolish and so on.

b. Such an insult should have provoked the victim; and

c. Such provocation should have been made either with the intention or with the knowledge that it is likely to cause the victim to break public peace or to commit an offence.

It is not important that the person provoked i.e., the victim necessarily follows it up with causing breach in peace or committing an offence. It is enough that the act of the accused provoked the victim to such an extent as will likely to cause him to breach peace or commit an offence.

The punishable act under Section 504, IPC is ‘an insult causing provocation in the victim’ and not ‘an insult causing provocation leading to an offence by the victim’.

2. Nature of the criminal mind under Section 504, IPC:

To establish responsibility under Section 504, IPC for a provoking insult, it is necessary to prove that the accused acted with the deliberate intent to provoke and insult the victim. When evaluating intention, one must determine if the selected insult could cause a breach of the peace or the victim committing an offence, taking into account the situation, background, and circumstances. Rather than focusing on the complainant's actual response, the court considers the impact of the abusive language in normal circumstances. The nature of the insult is a question of fact rather than law, and the intention to offend differs based on the particular facts and circumstances of each case.

3. Performance of the criminal act accompanied by the criminal mind i.e., execution of the offence:

While entertaining the above-stated criminal mind (intention) the accused must have committed the above-stated criminal act (provocative insult). This would constitute the offence of ‘intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace’ under Section 504, IPC.

The co-existence of the criminal mind and the criminal act should be proved by the prosecution in order to establish guilt under Section 504, IPC.

Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India


In India, the mechanism for criminal justice delivery assumes shape of a criminal trial which is governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’).

The trial under Section 504, IPC takes a journey similar to the trials conducted for other criminal offences. Broadly, the procedure for a trial takes the steps - as have been enumerated below, beginning from the filing of an FIR to the final verdict by the court:

1. Investigation - FIR, Arrest, Remand and Bail

i) First Information Report (FIR) - Criminal procedure is set into motion with the filing of an FIR or First Information Report by the victim or an aggrieved person. This marks the beginning of investigation by police into the case.

ii) Arrest - FIR is soon followed by the arrest of the accused person (person who has allegedly committed the offence) by the police and his subsequent production before the Magistrate. Such production must be made within 24 hours of the arrest of the accused person.

iii) Remand/ Custody - At the time of such production if the investigating officer believes that the investigation cannot be completed within 24 hours i.e., the police need more time with the accused for the purpose of interrogation etc., the officer will file an application before the same Magistrate seeking an extension in custody of the accused. Now, depending on the discretion of the Magistrate, such detention may be authorised in police custody (lock-up) or in judicial custody (jail).

However, it is to be noted that a Magistrate cannot authorise detention of an accused in police custody for a period exceeding the initial 15 days (from the date of the production of the accused before the Magistrate).

On the other hand, a Magistrate under Section 167 (2)(a), CrPC may authorize the detention of the accused in judicial custody beyond the period of initial fifteen days, if he is satisfied that adequate grounds exist for doing so. However, no magistrate shall authorize custody for more than -

  • Ninety days, where the investigation relates to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term not less than ten years;

  • Sixty days, where the investigation relates to any other offence.

iv) Bail - If upon the expiry of 60 or 90 days, as the case may be, the police is unable to complete the investigation and file a chargesheet (as corresponds to the offence) with the Magistrate, the accused is entitled to default bail i.e., such bail is compulsorily granted to the accused provided he applies for and furnishes bail.

However, during the 60- or 90-day period, as the case may be, while the accused is still under custody of the police or otherwise, he may keep pushing for the grant of regular bail under Section 437 or 439, CrPC by the Magistrate or the High Court/Court of Sessions, respectively.

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2. Filing of Final Report by the Police

The police after completing the investigation have to file a final report under Section 173, CrPC. This marks the conclusion of the investigation which is aimed at collecting evidence surrounding the commission of the offence.

The final report may take one of the following forms:

i. Closure Report
ii. Charge Sheet

Closure Report

If the evidence collected against the accused is found to be deficit i.e., there is not enough evidence to support prosecution of the accused before a Court of law justifying his further detention in the custody, then the police will file a closure report under Section 169, CrPC and release the accused on his executing a bond/ signing an undertaking for his appearance, if and when so required, before a Magistrate.

In other words, a closure report is filed when the police have little or no evidence in support of the fact that the offence has been committed by the concerned accused.

The police officer is bound to notify the informant (who gets an FIR lodged) the fact that a final report relating to his case has been submitted to the Magistrate.

Upon presentation of the closure report to the Magistrate, he is open to proceed with any of the following four options:

1) He may accept the closure report and refuse to take cognizance of the offence. Result, the case doesn’t proceed further.

2) He may reject the closure report and instead take cognizance of the offence under Section 190, CrPC.

Result, the case proceeds to the next stage.

3) Without rejecting the closure report he may direct the investigating agency to conduct further investigation into the matter, if he thinks that there is some gap that needs filling-up.

4) If an informant challenges such closure report by filing a protest petition, the Magistrate shall proceed to adjudicate upon the same following which he may take or refuse to take cognizance of the offence.

If the Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence under Section 190, CrPC he would issue summons to the accused, under Section 204, CrPC thereby directing his appearance before himself.

Charge Sheet

If the evidence collected against the accused is found to be sufficient i.e., there is enough evidence to support prosecution of the accused before a Court of law and that justifies his continued detention in the custody, then the police will file a charge sheet under Section 173, CrPC and will forward the accused under custody to the Magistrate under Section 170, CrPC.

A charge sheet is a formal police record which is drawn out in a format prescribed by the State, stipulating the various particulars relating to the case, like names of the parties involved; nature of the accusations levelled; list of witnesses, statements of witnesses recorded during their examination under Section 161, CrPC; whether any offence appears to have been committed and, if so, by whom; whether the accused has been arrested and
whether he has been forwarded in custody under Section 170, CrPC or whether he has been released on his bond; list of objects seized and other documentary evidences that the prosecution seeks to rely on.

Once the Magistrate takes cognizance on the charge sheet, he shall issue summons or warrant (depending on the nature of the offence committed) to the accused thereby securing his attendance before himself on a given date.

The Magistrate on the date fixed will conduct a hearing on charges and may consequently either discharge the accused and close the case or he may frame the charges against the accused and post the case for trial.

3. Plea of Guilty or Not Guilty by the Accused

After the charges have been formally framed, they will be read over and explained to the accused by the Magistrate. Thereafter, the accused would be asked whether he pleads guilty to such charge or not.

If the accused pleads guilty, the Magistrate shall record such plea and may convict him thereupon. However, it is to be noted that the responsibility lies with the Magistrate to ensure that the plea of guilt is made voluntarily by the accused and that is why he reserves the discretion to convict the accused on such plea.

If the accused does not plead guilty i.e., if he claims trial, the Magistrate shall post the case for trial.

4. Evidence for Prosecution

On the day fixed for the prosecution evidence, the Magistrate invites the prosecution to lead the evidence and prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution may establish the guilt with the help of oral or documentary evidence.

The prosecution witnesses are summoned and examined or are asked to produce any document or thing in support of their version of events.

These witnesses may be subject to cross-examination if the defence counsel so desires.

Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India

5. Statement of the Accused

After the prosecution concludes its evidence, the same is put to the accused i.e., he is given an opportunity to explain the circumstances appearing in evidence against him and to say in his defence what he wants to, in his own words. This mandate is captured under Section 313, CrPC. The purpose of such statement is to establish a direct dialogue between the Court and the accused so as to enable him to give his explanation.

This statement is not taken on oath and anything recorded as part of it can be used against the accused at a later stage.

6. Evidence for Defence

After recording the statement of the accused, the Court invites the defence to present evidence, if any. However, the accused is not required to mandatorily enter upon his defence as the burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove the charge against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

If the accused has any evidence (oral or documentary) it is presented before the Court at this stage. This is an opportunity for him to punch holes in the prosecution story for which it can call upon and examine witnesses.

7. Final Arguments

As per Section 314, CrPC, after the close of the evidence both parties take turns - first, the prosecution and then the defence - to make final oral arguments in front of the judge. Final arguments are presented by the Public Prosecutor and the Defence counsel.

8. Judgment

After studying the facts and circumstances of the case, analysing the evidence produced by both the parties in support of their versions and hearing the arguments advanced by each of them, the judge decides, based on strong reasons, whether to convict or acquit the accused. This is known as the judgment.

If the accused is pronounced ‘guilty’ upon trial, he is convicted of the charge and if pronounced ‘not-guilty’, he is acquitted of the charge in the judgement.

If the accused is convicted, then both sides are heard on quantum of sentence i.e., what punishment should he be given. This is usually done if the punishment prescribed is that of life imprisonment or death.

After hearing the arguments on the sentence, the court finally decides what punishment should the accused be sentenced to. Various theories of punishment are considered like the reformative theory and the deterrent theory of punishment etc. Also, considerations like age, background, and history of the accused are given due thought before arriving at a decision on the punishment.

You can also read the procedure for prosecution under sections 504 and 506.


The fundamental principles of appeal under CrPC are as follows:

  • An appeal is a creature of statute.

  • No inherent right to file an appeal.

  • No appeal only against conviction.

  • No appeal in petty cases.

  • Generally, there is no appeal on conviction on a plea of guilt.

It needs to be pointed out that except for the statutory provisions laid down under the CrPC or any other law for the time being in force, an appeal cannot lie from any judgment or an order of a criminal court. Thus, there is no vested right to appeal as such as even the first appeal will be subjected to statutory limitations. The justification behind this principle is that the courts which try a case are competent enough with the presumption that the trial has been conducted fairly. However, as per the Section 372, CrPC the victim has a right to appeal against any order passed by the Court under special circumstances comprising of a judgment of acquittal, conviction for lesser offence or inadequate compensation.

Generally, same sets of rules and procedures are employed to govern the appeals in the Sessions Courts and High Courts (highest court of appeal in a state and enjoys more powers in matters where appeal is permissible). The highest court of appeal in the country is the Supreme Court and hence, it enjoys the most extensive discretionary and plenary powers in the cases of appeals. Its powers are largely governed by the provisions laid down in CrPC, Indian Constitution, and the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction), 1970.

The law provides a person who has been convicted of a crime to appeal to the Supreme Court or the High Court or the Sessions Court as per the circumstances.

The accused has been given the right to appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgment of the High Court if the High Court has reversed an order of his acquittal on appeal by convicting him, thereby, sentencing him to imprisonment for life or for ten years or more, or to death.

A similar right to appeal has been granted to one or all accused persons if more than one person has been convicted in a trial and such order has been passed by the court.

However, there are certain circumstances under which no appeal shall lie. These provisions have been laid down under Section 265G, Section 375 and Section 376 of the CrPC.

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Section 504, IPC makes the offence of ‘intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace’ punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.


No, since the offence of ‘intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace’ under Section 504, IPC is a non-cognizable offence, a police officer cannot arrest a person suspected to have committed such offence without warrant from the Court having authority over the area where such offence has been committed (a warrant is a Court-order authorising a police officer to carry out an arrest).


Bailable offences are offences in which the accused has the right to get bail and the authorities cannot deny the same. The offence under Section 504, IPC is bailable..


Since the offence under Section 504, IPC is a bailable one, an accused arrested in the alleged commission of the same can apply for bail before the Investigating Officer, or if he is forwarded to the Court of Magistrate, before such Magistrate. Bail in a bailable offence can be granted by both the Court or the Investigating Officer.

In a bailable case, an accused is entitled to bail as a matter of right; it is not a favour bestowed on him by the authorities.

In such offences, the Officer or the Court does not reserve any discretion in the grant of bail. Bail can be claimed as of right and there is a statutory duty imposed upon the Police Officer as well as the Court to release a person on bail if he is prepared to give bail.

Hon’ble Supreme Court has held in a case that as soon as it appears that the accused person is prepared to give bail, the police officer or the court before whom he offers to give bail, is bound to release him on such terms as to bail as may appear to the officer or the court to be reasonable. It would even be open to the officer or the court to discharge such person on his executing a bail-bond as provided in Section 436, CrPC instead of taking bail from him. Though bail, in bailable offences, is a matter of right, the accused can be remanded to custody for breach of the conditions of bail/bail bond.

Bail-Bond is a document of promise signed by the accused whereby an accused is set at large on the condition that he will not flee the authorities, will cooperate in investigation, will not threaten witnesses or tamper with the evidence.

Bail is a document whereunder an accused and/or his surety is required to deposit security in the form of either cash or property papers (RC of a vehicle etc.,) with the court/police with the view to ensure accused’s compliance with the conditions of the bond. In the event of its non-compliance the security amount will be forfeited. (Surety is the person who gives guarantee for the compliance of the bail conditions by the accused and that he will present himself before the court/police as & when required).

It is beneficial to take assistance from an experienced criminal lawyer in matters of bail.

Find the best criminal lawyers in your city through LawRato to get bail if charged under Section 504 of IPC

Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India


As per Section 320, CrPC the offence under Section 504, IPC is compoundable i.e., law allows for a compromise to be recorded between the victim (the person insulted) and the offender.


1. “My neighbour reported a fake case under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code over a heated argument we had. He made it look like as if I was trying to intimidate him in relation to an unresolved issue that was going on for more than 7 years. However, whenever the court date was due he never appeared and there was also not enough evidence for him to prove the said allegations. With the help of our expert criminal lawyer we were able to get an ex parte order in our favour.”

- Anshul Chugh

2. “I am a 23 year old student, my family was having some issue with the neighours as they were constantly abusing us for having a public water connection pipeline taken through their property. We wrote a formal written complaint to the local police station, however, they continued it and this time more aggressively. When I went to their house to talk to the head of the family, his 21 year old son got physical with me and we had a little fight. No serious hurt was caused to both of us and the same was also witnessed by the crowd. This time both families went to the police station and the son filed a non-cognizable offence report under IPC Sections 323 and 504 against me. We also went on to file the same case against him under IPC Sections 323 and 504 as a counter case. We both had medical test after that and went home. Upon proper examination by the Court, it was concluded that the act was initiated by the neighbour’s son and the relief was granted in our favour.”

- Chandan Bhatia

3. “My wife filed a fake case under Domestic Violence Act and Sections 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code. She has been in an affair since before marriage and I got to know about it later when I accidentally overheard her while she was talking on phone with her boyfriend. When I confronted her she started accusing us of fake things and threatened me and my brother of filing a case of domestic violence and dowry against us. We immediately consulted a lawyer from who advised us to file a counter claim stating the true facts. When examined by the court during hearings it was discovered that she had filed a fake case against us. Thus, we were acquitted by the court and she was in turn penalized for filing a fake case.”

- Bharat Thakur

4. “I am a UPSC exam aspirant and I got into verbal fight with one of my classmates from my coaching center who was trying to rag me. He and his friends started threatening me of beating me up when found alone outside of the coaching center. I got furious and immediately consulted a lawyer who advised me to file a case against them under IPC sections 504 and 506. I did as advised and upon investigation by police they were found guilty and punished by the Court.”

- Arunim Anand


Being charged with an offence, whether major or minor, is a serious matter.

A person facing criminal charge risks undergoing not only harsh punishments in the form of imprisonment and heavy fines but also unpleasant social consequences like getting defamed by a criminal record to your name, reputational loss that can have a bearing on one’s personal and professional life, having to endure expensive, lengthy and distressing criminal proceedings etc.,. While some legal matters can be handled alone, a criminal arrest of any nature warrants legal advice of a qualified criminal lawyer who can guide you about your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

If you're facing criminal prosecution, a criminal lawyer can help you understand:

  • The nature of the charges filed;

  • Your rights before and after an arrest;

  • Any defences that may be available;

  • What plea bargains are likely to be offered; and

  • What is expected after trial or conviction.

One should ideally prepare a timeline of events and take it down on a piece of paper so that it is easier to brief the lawyer about the case. This will also help the lawyer to formulate a strategy to successfully conduct the trial and convince the court to adjudge in your favour.

Further, it is important to have a fair understanding of the law involved with respect to the case. One must sit with the lawyer and understand the procedure as well as the law governing the case. It is also critical to perform your own research and understand the risks involved and how you can overcome the same.

Hence, having by your side a criminal lawyer can prove to be of immense help when charged with an offence as under section 504, IPC.

Anyone who intentionally insults and gives provocation to anyone, knowing or intending that it is likely to cause them to break public peace or commit any other crime, will be punished by imprisonment for up to two years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is 504 a bailable offence?

It is a relatively minor offence. Any magistrate can try it. The trial will take place on 2 May 2023

What is the IPC 504 and 506?

Both 504 and 506 are bailable crimes. The accused may seek bail after registering the crime. The Police will then investigate the crime and prepare the chargesheet within a reasonable time. 14 February 2018

What is the IPC Judgement for Section 504?

Explaining Section 504 IPC If the person's actions result in a breach of public peace then they will be punished by imprisonment, fine or both. According to the facts, a person can receive a maximum of 2 years in prison and / or monetary fine.

What is the IPC 504 anticipatory bail?

IPC 504: Concluding thoughts & insights The offense can be punished by a two-year prison sentence, a fine or both. The accused may be released on bail after arrest if the offense is bailable. The Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 438, allows for anticipatory bail. 4 Sept 2023