Certain books humble you; P S A Pillai's Criminal Law in its Eleventh Edition revised by Prof. K. I. Vibhute is one among them. This latest edition which has been published by LexisNexis in paperback version with about thousand pages is without doubt a complete reference. Laid out neatly the book is a comfort for eyes in reading. The pricing of the book at rupees six hundred and ninety five appeared as a very low one considering the sheer bulkiness of the same. At these times when volumes filled with extracts from web sources is sold at astronomical prices, this book filled only with author contributions at such a low price is an exception.
The book is having fifty one chapters a lengthy table of cases and a crisp index. The chapter breakup is done based the usual flow of tutoring of the subject. This form method is very useful since any reader of the book will get a logical continuity of the topic. The titles of the initial chapters itself, Nature of Crime, Penal Law in India, Constituent Elements of Crime, Mens Rea, are indicative of the logical and coherent progression of the topic. This book is never a commentary of the Indian Penal Code, but is a book on Criminal Law of India. Even though it is mentioned that 'of India' that terminology should not be construed as something which is narrowing the scope of discussion of the subject attempted in the book. The book, in each of the topic, is dwelling into the basics of the discussed topic narrating the underlying principles from the elements with supporting English case laws. Nevertheless the book is referring to Indian case laws to the maximum and the anchoring on English case laws is done basically so as to pin point to laying down of principles. So a reader need not expect to find recent English decisions aplenty.
Another beauty of the attempted chapter breakup is clubbing of homogenous provisions in a group. For example Chapter 32, is dealing with Offences Relating to Marriage. A student or professional dealing in another subject matter of law, for example a lawyer practising family law, will find this method of chapter break up very useful because what all provisions in penal law is of import in the subject of his expertise is easily available from the book. The flow of topic even though not in tune with the flow of provisions in the Indian Penal Code, by this method of chapter arrangement is achieving the compartmentalizing of the Statute.
The author has also continuously referred to the proposal of reform wherein basically the suggestion of Law Commission has been referred to. Further the reforms, reform attempts are also referred in the book. By this exercise the legislative history in its full essence is covered. The suggestions of the author further contributes for perfecting the enactment. The enactment in its entirety stands extracted in the book at the required places. The illustrations in the statute also stands extracted. Further the author at places is bringing in illustrations with discussion and the discussed topic is getting complete by this method. Multiple situations with respect to stands discussed in the book, for example while discussing the topic of theft the author discusses the sub topic of 'Theft by Owner of His Own Property'. As a whole the book interests the reader and without doubt a student of law, teacher of law, professional on and off bench, libraries, and even a lay man will be interested in the book.