This note investigates the criminality of socio-economic offences in India, with a focus on the idea of mens rea. In this note, it is claimed that socioeconomic offenses should be classified as “violations” or “quasi-criminal offenses,” rather than “crimes.” Where mens rea is expressly or implicitly excluded (including when it is not expressly omitted) in legislation, courts cannot interpret such a requirement into the act’s wording. If it is judged to be social welfare legislation that inadvertently penalizes a certain act, the court cannot read mens rea (a requisite of criminal law) into the provision.
Definition of Socio-Economic Offences
Socio-Economic Offences are commonly regarded as synonyms for white-collar crimes, but a thorough examination of this term reveals that, while there is an overlap between socio-economic offences and white-collar crimes, the latter, i.e. socio-economic offences, has a much narrower scope than the former in many ways. White-collar crimes are defined as all crimes perpetrated by the highest echelons of society in relation to their employment. One such example that may be utilized here is a large MNC that was found guilty of tax evasion.
A retiree who submits a false return may not be committing a white-collar crime, but the intriguing truth is that it is a socioeconomic infraction. Socio crimes are described as those that have a negative impact on the nation’s economy as a whole, as well as those that have an impact on the health and morality standards of a committee as a whole. As a result, we can fairly infer that socio-economic offenses are those that have an impact on the country’s economy as well as the material and health of the society.
In our country, the 29th Law Commission Report recommended that the Santhanam Committee Report, 1964, be carefully considered. The committee also clearly observed that the IPC does not deal with any sort of satisfactory matters along with acts that may be described as any social offences with regards to the special scenarios under which they all are committed and have also become a dominating figure of the powerful sections under the Indian Strata’s.
Socio-Economic Offences in India
The Indian Penal Code was adopted in 1860, and while it has been modified here and there, its fundamental framework has remained mostly unchanged throughout the previous century and more. However, because India’s social and economic structure has evolved so drastically, the Code no longer accurately reflects current requirements in many ways. The Penal Code does not deal satisfactorily with acts that can be classified as social offenses due to the unique conditions in which they are committed, and which have now become a dominating characteristic of some strong segments of modern society. Such socio-economic offences in India can be roughly characterized as follows:
- Offences designed to impede or obstruct the country’s economic growth and jeopardize its economic health;
- Evasion and evasion of legally imposed taxes;
- Misuse of public officials’ positions in contracting and disposing of public property, issuing licenses and permits, and other similar things;
- Individuals and industrial and commercial enterprises delivering items that do not meet agreed-upon criteria to fulfill contracts with governmental agencies;
- Profiteering, black marketing, and stockpiling
- Adulteration of commodities and pharmaceuticals;
- Theft and theft of public property and finances; and trafficking in licenses, permits, and other identification documents.
Laws which Deal with Socio-Economic Offences in India
- The Prevention of Corruption Act.
- The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.
- The Prevention of Immoral Traffic (Amendment) Act, 1986.
- The Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
- The Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
- The Standard of Weights and Measures Act.
- The Customs Act.
- The Drug (Control) Act.
- The Income Tax Act