Section 188 of IPC Punishment – Explanation and Notes

Section 188 of IPC talks about Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant.

According to criminal procedure code of section 188 of IPC – Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction;

shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both;

Explanation- It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm.


An order is promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, directing that a religious procession shall not pass down a certain street. A knowingly disobeys the order and thereby causes danger of riot. A has committed the offence defined in this section.

Scope of Section 188 IPC and Cases

The section prescribes the punishment for disobedience of the lawful orders of a public servant, especially when the disobedience results in any of the consequences outlined in the second and third clauses of the 188 IPC to the person lawfully employed.

However, in Bharat Raut v State, it was held that mere disobedience of an order of a public servant is n0t punishable and that disobedience must lead to the consequences narrated in the section.

A conviction under “section 188 of IPC” cannot be sustained if the alleged disobedience does n0t cause or is not tended to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed there. It also needs to be further clarified that the orders must be made by public servants in public interest and cannot pertain to orders made by such officers in civil proceedings between two parties.

188 ipc punishment

Thus, the annoyance, injury or obstruction caused by disobedience cannot be With reference to orders passed by civil or revenue courts in judicial proceedings. Any breach of the orders can be adequately dealt with under the provisions of the CPC itself.

On the other hand, when orders under sec 144, CrPC, have been passed, disobedience of the same will result in the commission of an offence under 188 IPC. Similarly, in Ram Samuja v State, the Allahabad High Court held that s 188 includes within its ambit orders passed under SEC 144 as also Section 145, CrPC.

In all cases involving the section, it is essential to prove that the accused had knowledge of the orders passed, for which violation, he was being prosecuted. The question of knowledge is generally a matter of inference from the evidence brought on record.

Thus, when one examines a section of 188 IPC, the following essential aspects command attention:

section 188 of ipc judgememts
  • There must be an order promulgated by a public servant.
  • There must be an order promulgated by a public servant
  • The public servant must be lawfully empowered to promulgate such order; (3)
  • The accused must have disobeyed such order.
  • Such disobedience must have caused or tend to have caused: (a) obstruction, injury annoyance or risk to any person lawfully employed; or (b) danger to human life, health or safety; or (c) riot or affray.


It has been held that no conviction under Section 188 IPC, can be made unless the likely consequences of the breach of the order are proved positively. In Ratlam Municipality vs Vardichand, the Supreme Court held a municipal council through its ochers liable under section 188 of IPC for disobeying and non-compliance with an order passed by a magistrate under Section 133 of CrPC, to close certain pits and to repair the drains.

A written complaint by a public servant concerned is the sine qua to initiate a criminal proceeding under “Section 188 of IPC” against those who, with the knowledge that an order has been promulgated by a public servant, disobey that order.


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