Strict obligation crimes are those in which the respondent is held obligated for a criminal offense he committed, even in case mens rea is missing. In spite of the fact that the litigant did not expect any hurt by his activities and was totally unconscious that he was committing an illicit act, the convention of strict obligation holds him obligated for the criminal offenses committed. Because of the regard for due handle within the United States, the tremendous majority of strict obligation wrongdoings are less genuine offenses. Most cases of strict obligation are minor infractions and misdemeanors, not about as genuine as felonies, but still justifying overwhelming fines and up to a year in imprison. Cases of minor offenses for which violators are held entirely at risk are:
- Parking violations
- Speeding unknowingly
- Selling liquor to minors
- Employing individuals beneath the age of fourteen, in a few jurisdictions
A few strict obligation wrongdoings do qualify as felonies in a few states. Statutory assault is one such wrongdoing. Classified in broadly changing ways from state to state, sexual congress between a minor and a legal grown-up can carry exceptionally overwhelming punishments, some of the time indeed decades in jail, indeed in case the action was totally consensual and the grown-up had each reason to accept that he had been with another lawful grown-up (appearance, verbal request, indeed checking a fake ID).
POSITION OF STRICT OBLIGATION OFFENSES IN INDIA
One of the reasons why strict obligation doctrine isn’t as developed in India because it is within the UK is, in Britain, criminal law isn’t contained in single code declared by the authoritative body, but it could be a combination mass of rules based upon the old common law of Britain altered and amplified by the definitive choices of the judges within the long section of history, and endlessly extended by the expansion of statutory authorizations made by parliament from time to time. On the opposite corrective laws in India are thoroughly codified taking off no scope for the legal to go past statutes. If we look at the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter IPC) at that point, chapter IV (general exception) primarily bargains with things of the presence of which refute the presence of such an aim.
The definition of offenses by and large contains reference to evil expectation so as to avoid all acts where such an aim isn’t display. Even where the definition is noiseless with respect to expectation, it has been held that on common standards an evil expectation must be imported into the definitions of all entirely criminal offenses. The common teaching of mens rea isn’t of exceptionally incredible significance where, as in India, the law is codified and offenses are carefully characterized so as to incorporate the mens rea within the definition itself. The definitions within the Indian penal code in conjunction with the chapter of common special cases are maybe adequate to prohibit all cases to which a mens rea cannot be credited. IPC opposes offenses with awesome care and accuracy and the chapter in general exceptions is exceptionally comprehensive.
ANALYSIS OF INDIAN JUDGEMENTS
In J. K. Industries Ltd. vs. Chief Inspector of Factories and Boilers, the Supreme Court observed,
“The offences under the Act (the Factory Act 1948) are not a part of general penal law but arise from the breach of a duty provided in a special beneficial social defence legislation, which creates absolute or strict liability without proof of any mens rea. The offences are strict statutory offences for which establishment of mens rea is not an essential ingredient. The omission or commission of the statutory breach is itself the offence. Similar type of offences based on the principle of strict liability, which means liability without fault or mens rea, exist[s] in many statutes relating to economic crimes as well as in laws concerning the industry, food adulteration, prevention of pollution etc…”
The finding of this case was affirmed within the later choice of Hemant Madhusudan Nerurkar vs. State of Jharkhand. In Union of India vs. M/s Ganesh the court recognized three exemptions of mens rea obligation i.e., all cases of open nuisance; acts not criminal within the genuine sense but denied within the open intrigued; and gracious rights upheld through criminal law. The exceptionally solid public interest clubbed with a comparatively direct punishment legitimizes amplifying criminal obligation to cases where there’s no mens rea. Indian Courts have held that mens rea is an indispensably portion of the definition of wrongdoing, consequently at whatever point there’s no particular specify of it, courts assume its necessity unless a statute explicitly or by essential suggestion avoid mens rea.
The definition of offenses by and large contains reference to evil expectation so as to avoid all acts where such an aim isn’t display. Even where the definition is noiseless with respect to expectation, it has been held that on common standards an evil intent must be imported into the definitions of all entirely criminal offenses. The common teaching of mens rea isn’t of exceptionally incredible significance where, as in India, the law is codified and offenses are carefully characterized so as to incorporate the mens rea within the definition itself. The definitions within the Indian penal code in conjunction with the chapter of common special cases are maybe adequate to prohibit all cases to which a mens rea cannot be credited. IPC opposes offenses with awesome care and accuracy and the chapter in general exceptions is exceptionally comprehensive.
It has continuously been privilege of the governing body to create laws, which incorporates the control to characterize what constitutes a wrongdoing and what are the components of a specific wrongdoing. In characterizing wrongdoing, the assembly is competent to enact in regard of a specific wrongdoing to exclude the basic necessity of mens rea. But numerous of the sanctioned enactment not one or the other mention that the mens rea isn’t a basic component of the offense concerned nor does it state that mens rea is a fundamental fixing of the wrongdoing. This hush makes the part of legal translation more vital and this has driven to the creation of judge-made law coming about in perplexity and inconsistency when offenses are deciphered by different High Court in India in an unexpected way. The truth that the respondent can be indicted without proof of his mens rea does not encroach the correct to a reasonable trial. As strict risk has the potential to make bad form and work cruelly, it is appropriately said that the doctrine of strict liability may be a perilous instrumentally that ought to be dealt with most extreme care.
-  6 SCC 665
- Appeal (civil) 6071 1999
- Cr.M.P. No. 810 2013
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