Intoxication is a state of mind  in which a person’s becomes mentally and physically disable due to the consumption of alcohol or a narcotic substance because of that a person become unable to understand the nature and circumstances of his act .The Indian Penal Code, 1860 in Section 85 and Section 86 has the provisions relating to acts committed by a person by reason of intoxication.

Therefore, it is evident that the Indian Penal Code divides intoxication into two categories that are voluntary intoxication and non-voluntary intoxication. Involuntary intoxication  can be used as a defence under general exceptions and such a case can be excused by the reason of the failure of judgment due to drunkenness, and the act so conducted was not at all voluntary. On the other hand, voluntary intoxication is not immunized by the Indian Penal Code and any offence followed by the same cannot be use as a excuse to exempt for criminal liability.

[Section 85] Act of person incapable of judgement by reason of intoxication caused against his will—

Section 85 of the Indian Penal Code states that nothing is an offence which is done by a person who at the time of doing it by reason of intoxication is incapable of knowing the nature of the act he is doing, and what is either or contrary to the law, provided that the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will. 

Therefore, Section 85 talks about involuntary intoxication that provide protection to a man from criminal liability if at the of doing the offense he was not capable of knowing the nature and circumstances of his act or he was doing something wrong or contrary to law by reason of intoxication and it has been done “without his knowledge” or “against his will”.

 Ingredients of section 85 of the Indian penal code:—

 As per to IPC Section 85, nothing is an offence that includes:

  • Person’s act should be present
  • The person must not be able to know and understand the nature of the act
  •  Due to  intoxication a person must become a disable person
  • Intoxication must be delivered to him without his will or even without his Knowledge
  • Such incapacity must be available there at the time of the act.

 Bablu @ mubarik Hussain v State of Rajasthan, RLW 2006 (4) Raj 2686

In this case the appellant, under the influence of liquor, killed his wife and five children, the Supreme Court ruled that the mere proof of intoxication is not enough to invoke the section 85. The accused needs to take the plea and prove that the intoxication was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.

[SECTION 86] Offence requiring a particular intent or knowledge committed by one who is intoxicated —

Section 86 of Indian Penal Code states that in cases where an act done is not an offence unless done with particular knowledge or intent, a person who does the act in a state of intoxication shall be liable to be dealt with as if he had the same knowledge as he would have had if he had not been intoxicated, unless the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.

Therefore, Section 86 talks about voluntary intoxicated that reveals that an act done under influence of self-induced intoxication results to an offence even if the doer, the reason of intoxication is incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that what he is doing is wrong or contrary to law. Voluntary intoxication requires a particular intent or knowledge , hence, is no defence for any offence.

Ingredients of section 86 of the Indian Penal code:

As per Section 86 the ingredients of this section under IPC are as follows:

  • There must be Presence of particular intention or knowledge
  • It should be caused due to use of an intoxicating substance
  • The intoxicating substance must be given without knowledge or against his will.

Basudev v State of pepsu, 1956 AIR 488, 1956 SCR 363

In this case, the apex court,  held that  where an offence is committed by a person under extreme influence of intoxication, it can be presumed that he has knowledge of the act which he is committing, but it cannot be presumed that he has got intention and the same has to be inferred from the facts and circumstances of the case.

Section 85 covers all the offences, while section 86 covers the offences requiring particular intent or knowledge. Section 86, in this sense, is an exception to section 85.

Burden of Proof

Section 85 and 86 both that provisions being part “ General Exceptions” to criminal liability under Part IV. The burden of proof lies on the accused and not on the prosecution. To avail protection one must prove that the intoxication was done to him without his knowledge or against his will and there was no intention to cause harm. However, a mere proof of that he was labouring under the influence of self-administered intoxicant is not enough to get the defence.

Venkappa v. state of Karnataka 1996 CriLJ 15, ILR 1995 KAR 2149, 1995 (6) KarLJ 544

 In this case the accused tries to took the defence of intoxication. But his plea was rejected by the court stating that intoxication was a voluntary intoxication and he was held liable.


To conclude that, Intoxication is part of General Exceptions under part IV of IPC which talks about voluntary and involuntary intoxication. Section 85 and section 86 deals with the intoxication. There are number of cases that shows the fact that a person cannot exempted from the hazardous and grievous criminal offences, even if the defence of intoxication is taken. The onus of burden lies on the accused.


PSA Pillai’s Criminal Law, 14th Edition by K I Vibhute

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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Add yours

  1. Every things that have instant impact on human body they are spoil the life at the end. Be Natural , Consume only natural and healthy stuff. 🙂


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