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What Is The Concept Of Doli Incapax Under The IPC?

Doli Incapax is a Latin legal maxim which means ‘incapability of committing a crime’. This term has been used to describe an assumption of guiltless for children in Criminal law in most countries. We find this term in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on Section 82, and in the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 in India.

The basis of the presumption in doli incapax lies in the theory of Criminal responsibility. Theory has been built upon the theory that a person should be held criminally responsible only for acts he intends to commit. According to the English Law a child below the age of ten years is considered as doli incapax. In Germany and Italy a child below thw age of 14 is considered as doli incapax and Philipines a child below 9 years.

In India, criminal law also acknowledges an age line below which children are not truly capable of crime. Below the age of 7, the Indian Criminal Procedure considers that children are incapable of having the required cognitive and moral process to commit a crime. This is absolute immunity. Between the age of 7 and 12, the CrPC provides for presumption of innocence in favour of children, but if the prosecution can prove and provide evidence for the contrary then the child can be prosecuted. From 14 to 18 years a child is liable only if he has an insight into both the legality and punishability of the act. A minor can be tried as an adult only when a general test is done to ascertain whether the child had adequate understanding of the consequences of his actions.

Section 82 Of IPC clearly briefs about the offence by a child as it states that, “any act done by a child of 7 years or under that will not be an offence under the eye of the law”.

On the similar side Section, 83 mentioned about the acts done by a child under immaturity. This section lays down an important aspect of the children above 7 and under 12 years of age. This section states that “Acts done by a child from 7-12 years of age will not be considered under an offence, as at that time the child has not been able to cope with enough maturity of understanding and knowledge to relate facts and consequences to his or her conduct.

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