Understanding Fine Provisions in the Indian Penal Code


Concept of Fine

A fine, or tariff, is a monetary penalty a court or other authority decides to punish a crime or offence. The amount is either determined case-by-case or announced in advance. Fines may be imposed alongside or instead of imprisonment. A fine is a court-ordered payment for an offence following a successful prosecution. Also check good criminal lawyers in bangalore

Introduction to Sections 64-70 of the Indian Penal Code

Sections 64-70 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deal with the imposition of fines and the corresponding imprisonment for non-payment. The sections address various scenarios including fines with or without imprisonment and the consequences of defaulting on payment.

Section 64:

If an offender cannot or will not pay a fine, they may face imprisonment.

Imprisonment for non-payment is in addition to any other imprisonment sentence and cannot run concurrently with other imprisonment terms.

If multiple fines are imposed, imprisonment terms for default are consecutive, not concurrent.

The court must specify the term of imprisonment in default of payment, which must follow a prescribed scale.

Section 65:

Imprisonment in default of a fine cannot exceed one-fourth of the maximum imprisonment term for the offence.

For example, the maximum term for theft is three years, so the imprisonment in default of a fine cannot exceed nine months.

Section 66:

The imprisonment type (rigorous or simple) for non-payment of a fine depends on the nature of the offence.

If the offence allows for strict imprisonment, the default imprisonment can also be severe; otherwise, it must be simple.

Section 67:

Imprisonment in default of fine must be simple and is capped based on the fine amount:

Up to Rs. 50: maximum of two months.

Up to Rs. 100: maximum of four months.

Above Rs. 100: maximum of six months.

Section 68:

Imprisonment for non-payment terminates once the fine is paid or levied.

Courts must release the individual upon full payment of the fine, regardless of timing.

Section 69:

If a proportionate part of the fine is paid, imprisonment is reduced accordingly.

For example, if Rs. 75 of a Rs. 100 fine (with a four-month default term) is paid within a month, imprisonment reduces to one month.

Section 70:

Fines or unpaid parts can be levied within six years of the sentence or during any longer imprisonment period.

Death of the offender does not discharge property from liability; it remains subject to fine collection.

Distinction Between Fine and Penalty

Fines are court-ordered payments as punishment for crimes, while penalties may not always be monetary and can involve different forms of sanctions.


The Indian Penal Code outlines comprehensive provisions for fines and imprisonment for non-payment. These sections ensure that monetary penalties are enforced effectively, providing clear guidelines on imprisonment terms, conditions for termination upon payment, and the distinction between fines and penalties. The provisions uphold the balance between punishment and fairness, ensuring that offenders are held accountable without imposing undue hardship.