Section 11 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

The definition, as is clear from the language of this section, is not exhaustive but inclusive. The word ‘person’ includes a juridical person and as such an idol being a juridical person capable of owning property is a ‘person’ within the meaning of this section. An unborn child may be called a person if its body is sufficiently developed in its mother’s womb to call it a child.

A municipal corporation is a person which could be convicted for such offences as are punishable with fine only since corporation cannot undergo imprisonment. ‘Person’ includes a firm. This definition is valid in matters decided under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 and Customs Act, 1962.

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Whether the word ‘person’ should mean only natural persons or artificial persons as well, depends on the nature of the provision made in the Indian Penal Code. There are many sections in the Code which should apply only with respect to natural persons. These are sections 73, 84 to 87, 100, 105, 114, 137, 139, 141, 149 to 151, 153, 157, 159, 170, 191, 216, 220 to 225, 278, 282, 295, 297, 298, 299 to 377, 491 and 497. The Supreme Court has held that the word ‘person’ does not include state. A proprietary concern being not a legal entity or juridical person it neither can initiate any proceedings nor proceedings can be initiated against it. The word ‘person’ does not include proprietor of a concern.