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Offences Such As Miscarriage And Infanticide

All over the world children are considered as most vulnerable and innocent victims of crimes that are committed in society.

It is a natural thing that whoever is born will die someday but an act that has caused the death of an unborn child is not cognizable. One of the reasons for doing acts that kill an unborn child is wanting a baby boy so that he can take of their family. It's harsh that people pray to goddesses, but baby girls are killed in the wombs or the early days of birth.

Also, people who cannot get an adequate amount of food for their survival try to kill the baby in the womb due to their inability of feeding them. Hunger is also a reason for poor parents to kill their child in the womb or at the starting days of birth.

There is a difference between how miscarriage and abortion are interpreted in medical science and under law.

According to medical science, miscarriage is defined as losing one's pregnancy before the 20th week, and when the pregnancy is deliberately eliminated it is known as abortion. But coming to the Indian Penal Code miscarriage is interpreted as the premature expulsion of a baby or foetus from the womb of the mother at any period of pregnancy before the gestation period is completed. No distinction is made between miscarriage and abortion in the Indian Penal Code.

Under IPC, causing a miscarriage is a punishable offense though the consent of pregnant women is given.

The word miscarriage is not defined under the Indian Penal Code. Legally, miscarriage refers to the deliberate termination of a woman's pregnancy before the development of the baby which is also known as spontaneous abortion.

Loss of pregnancy is a very devastating experience that can drain a woman emotionally and physically. If the miscarriage happens because of some individuals then the woman wishes to file a case against those individuals who are responsible.

The term 'woman with a child' means being pregnant and 'quick with a child' means the advanced stage of pregnancy when the movement of the foetus can be felt has importance in deciding the cases.

Section 312 deals with the punishment awarded for causing miscarriage.

Section 313 defines the punishment for causing miscarriage without the consent of women.

Section 314 defines the punishment for causing the death of a woman during causing miscarriage with and without the consent of the woman

Essential Ingredients:

  • Voluntarily causing miscarriage and not because of any accident.
  • Without the consent of the woman miscarriage is caused.
  • Miscarriage is caused in bad faith and not to save a woman's life.


  1. With Consent (Section 312):

    Imprisonment may extend to 3 years and a fine or both. If the woman is quick with a child, then the imprisonment may extend to 7 years and a fine. The person causing the miscarriage and the woman will be punished for the miscarriage.
  2. Without consent (Section 313):

    Imprisonment for life. Imprisonment may extend to 10 years and a fine. Only the person causing the miscarriage is punishable.

Kind of offence:

  • If the complaint has been filed under section 312 of the IPC it is a bailable offence.
  • It is a non-bailable offence if the complaint was filed under section 313 of the Indian Penal Code.
Here, if the Act of miscarriage has been caused with the consent of the woman, then the accused may get bail which is known as a bailable offence. However, if the complaint is filed under 313 which is causing miscarriage without the consent of the woman, then the accused will not get bail known as a non-bailable offence.

Compoundable or Non-compoundable:

Neither the act committed with or without the consent of the woman is a compoundable offence, which means the offence is a serious one and cannot be compromised by the parties.

Cognizable or Non-cognizable:

If the act of miscarriage is caused with the consent of the woman, then it is a non-cognizable offence where the accused cannot be arrested without an arrest warrant. It is considered a cognizable offence if the act of miscarriage was caused without the consent of the woman.

Which court would try this offence?
If the case is filed under section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, then the case is triable by the magistrate of first class.

The case is triable by the court of sessions if the offence is committed under section 313 of the Indian Penal Code.

The general term for the murder of a child aged less than 1 year is known as infanticide. Sections 315 and 316 detail the punishment for foeticide and infanticide. An Act that causes a child's death before or after birth unless they do it or the mother's health is considered infanticide.

Section 315 defines the offence and punishment constituted for killing the child before birth or after the child's birth without good faith.

Section 316 defines punishment for causing the death of a quick child by an act amounting to culpable homicide.

Here, to consider an act as an offence of infanticide there should be the death of a child before its birth or after the birth with bad intention and not with good faith to save the mother.

If a case is filed under sections 315 and 316 for infanticide, the punishment would be 10 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Also, the case is triable by the court of Session when the case is filed under sections 315 and 316 of the Indian Penal Code.

Kind Of Offence:
Cognizable or Non- cognizable:
Infanticide under sections 315 and 316 of the Indian penal Code is a cognizable offence where the police can arrest the accused without a warrant.

Bailable or Non-bailable:
It is a non-bailable offence in which the accused cannot get bail.

Compoundable or Non-compoundable:
Infanticide is a non-computable offence where neither of the parties can come to a compromise.

Case Law:

In the State of Maharashtra v Rajendra Ramkisan Jaiswal, there was a rupture in the mother's uterus during the delivery of the child, which caused internal bleeding leading to the mother and child's death. As the death was not due to any deliberate act down by the respondent and hence not punishable under section 315 of the Indian Penal Code.

In the case of Imtiaz Ismail Shaikh vs State of Gujarat, the appellant runs a dispensary in the village of Kimjar, Vaghbari. On 30.3.1988 at his dispensary, he had carried out an abortion of the foetus of two months of Savitaben, daughter of Chanabai aged about 20 years without consent and had committed offences punishable under sections 312 and 313 of the Indian Penal Code.

The learned Judge convicted him to rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and imposed a fine with an opinion that the accused had committed an offence under the 2nd part of section 312 of IPC. Under circumstances, his sentence was reduced to 6 months of rigorous imprisonment. The order of fine remains unaltered. The appeal is disposed of, and the bail bond stands cancelled.

The concept of miscarriage or abortion and infanticide are considered unethical all around the world. Miscarriage is a kind of abortion that is not induced and due to biological complications, it is done. The killing of a child who is below 2 years of age is known as infanticide. To get higher pay many doctors and hospitals perform infanticide secretly.

Understanding the years of oppression faced by women Laws in India have begun to become progressive towards women and to end these new laws are made. Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1972 doctors are immune to performing an abortion under certain circumstances. According to the changes in society, laws are made and amended.


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