Sections 63 to 67 of the Indian Penal Code lays down the following substantive law, viz., (i) Where no sum is expressed to which a fine may extend the amount of fine to which the offender is liable is unlimited, but shall not be excessive. Thus, the powers of a Sessions Court or the High Court to impose fine are unlimited, but it should not be excessive; (ii) Where an offence is punishable with imprisonment and fine, the imprisonment in default of payment of fine shall not exceed one fourth of the maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed and may be simple or rigorous as the substantive imprisonment could be (iii) Where an offence is punishable with fine only the imprisonment in default can only be simple and the term of imprisonment in lieu of fine shall not exceed the following scale : for fines not exceeding Rs. 50—imprisonment for two months, for fines from Rs. 51 to Rs. 100—imprisonment for four months, and for fines exceeding Rs. 100—imprisonment for six months.
To the above limits placed by the Indian Penal Code on imposition of imprisonment for failure to pay a fine, Section 30 of the Code of Criminal Procedure adds one more, viz., that the imprisonment in default of fine shall not exceed one-fourth of the period of imprisonment which a Magistrate is competent to inflict as punishment for the offence otherwise than in default of payment of the fine.