Is abandonment of a child punishable under Indian Penal Code?

Abandonment of a child means leaving or exposure given to the child which can adversely affect the mental and physical condition of a child. The child may die due to the consequence of the act.

If a child is under twelve years, he needs someone to take care of him. When a child is born his father and mother are the only one whom he can rely upon but what if his own parents or the one who has to take care of him abandoned him?


Essential Requisite


Section 317 of Indian Penal code makes exposure and abandonment of a child punishable. The essential requisite of this section is –

  • The child should be under the age of twelve
  • The person who falls under the preview of this section should be his father, mother, or any person to whom care of the child was given.
  • The act was intentional
  • The child was wholly abandoned




If a person who has the due responsibility to take care of a child under twelve years of age doesn’t fulfill his duty. In addition, if he leaves the child then he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or fine or both


However, this section is cognizable and bailable but non compoundable and a magistrate of first class will take the trial.


When the section is inapplicable


Section 317 of Indian Penal Code made father, mother or any one having the care of child punishable if they expose or abandon the child but this section is not applicable when the child dies before the exposure.


When the person is also punishable for murder or culpable homicide


Under section 317 of Indian Penal Code, a person is punishable for leaving or exposing the child before he attains 12 years of age but if the child dies due to the exposure then the parents or the person having the care of that child will not prevent the trial for murder or culpable homicide.

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