Monthly Archives: March 2013

Criminal Breach of trust vis-à-vis offence of cheating

The ingredients in order to constitute a criminal breach of trust are:
(1) Entrusting a person with property or with any dominion over property,
(2) That person entrusted (a) dishonestly misappropriating or converting that property to his own use; or (b) dishonestly using or disposing of that property or willfully suffering any other person so to do in violation (i) of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, (ii) of any legal contract made, touching the discharge of such trust.
The ingredients of an offence of cheating are:
(1) There should be fraudulent or dishonest inducement of a person by deceiving him,
(2) (a) The person so deceived should be induced to deliver any property to any person or to consent that any person shall retain any property; or
(b) The person so deceived should be intentionally induced to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived; and
(3) In cases covered by, 2(b) the act of omission should be one which causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to the person induced in body, mind, reputation or property. Arun Bhandari v. State of U.P., (2013) 2 SCC 801.

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Remission of Sentence

A remission can be granted under Section 432 CrPC in the case of a definite term of sentence. The power under this Section is available only for granting “additional” remission, that is, for a period over and above the remission granted or awarded to a convict under the Jail Manual or other Statutory Rules. If the term of sentence is indefinite (as in life imprisonment), the power under Section 432 CrPC can certainly be exercised but not on the basis that life imprisonment is an arbitrary or notional figure of twenty years of imprisonment.
Before actually exercising the power of remission under Section 432 CrPC the appropriate Government must obtain the opinion (with reasons) of the Presiding Judge of the convicting or confirming Court. Remissions can, therefore, be given only on a case-by-case basis and not in a wholesale manner. Sangeet v. State of Haryana, (2013) 2 SCC 452

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Substantive Law, Procedural Law and Declaratory Law

A statute creating vested rights is a substantive statute. The Suprme Court, in Dhenkanal Minor Irrigation Division v. N.C. Budharaj, (2001) 2 SCC 721, opined:
“‘Substantive law’, is that part of the law which creates, defines and regulates rights in contrast to what is called adjective or remedial law which provides the method of enforcing rights. Decisions, including the one in Jena case, (1988) 1 SCC 418, while adverting to the question of substantive law has chosen to indicate by way of illustration laws such as Sale of Goods Act, 1930 [Section 61(2)], Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (Section 80), etc. The provisions of the Interest Act, 1839, which prescribe the general law of interest and become applicable in the absence of any contractual or other statutory provisions specially dealing with the subject, would also answer the description of substantive law.”
In Thirumalai Chemicals Ltd. v. Union of India, (2011) 6 SCC 739 the Supreme Court comparing substantial law with procedural law, stated:

“Substantive law refers to a body of rules that creates, defines and regulates rights and liabilities. Right conferred on a party to prefer an appeal against an order is a substantive right conferred by a statute which remains unaffected by subsequent changes in law, unless modified expressly or by necessary implication. Procedural law establishes a mechanism for determining those rights and liabilities and a machinery for enforcing them. Right of appeal being a substantive right always acts prospectively. It is trite law that every statute is prospective unless it is expressly or by necessary implication made to have retrospective operation.
Right of appeal may be a substantive right but the procedure for filing the appeal including the period of limitation cannot be called a substantive right, and an aggrieved person cannot claim any vested right claiming that he should be governed by the old provision pertaining to period of limitation. Procedural law is retrospective meaning thereby that it will apply even to acts or transactions under the repealed Act.”
In Shyam Sunder v. Ram Kumar, (2001) 8 SCC 24, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court discussing the scope and ambit of a declaratory law has observed:
“Lastly, it was contended on behalf of the appellants that the amending Act whereby new Section 15 of the Act has been substituted is declaratory and, therefore, has retroactive operation. Ordinarily when an enactment declares the previous law, it requires to be given retroactive effect. The function of a declaratory statute is to supply an omission or to explain a previous statute and when such an Act is passed, it comes into effect when the previous enactment was passed. The legislative power to enact law includes the power to declare what was the previous law and when such a declaratory Act is passed, invariably it has been held to be retrospective. Mere absence of use of the word ‘declaration’ in an Act explaining what was the law before may not appear to be a declaratory Act but if the court finds an Act as declaratory or explanatory, it has to be construed as retrospective. Conversely where a statute uses the word ‘declaratory’, the words so used may not be sufficient to hold that the statute is a declaratory Act as words may be used in order to bring into effect new law.”
In Katikara Chintamani Dora v. Guntreddi Annamanaidu, (1974) 1 SCC 567 it was held:
“It is well settled that ordinarily, when the substantive law is altered during the pendency of an action, rights of the parties are decided according to law, as it existed when the action was begun unless the new statute shows a clear intention to vary such rights (Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 12th Edn. 220). That is to say, ‘in the absence of anything in the Act, to say that it is to have retrospective operation, it cannot be so construed as to have the effect of altering the law applicable to a claim in litigation at the time when the Act is passed’.” Purbanchal Cables & Conductors (P) Ltd. v. Assam SEB, (2012) 7 SCC 462.

Substantive law refers to a body of rules that creates, defines and regulates rights and liabilities. Right conferred on a party to prefer an appeal against and order is a substantive right conferred by a statute which remains unaffected by subsequent changes in law, unless modified expressly or by necessary implication. Procedural law establishes a mechanism for determining those rights and liabilities and a machinery for enforcing them. Right of appeal being a substantive right always acts prospectively. It is trite law that every statute is prospective unless it is expressly or by necessary implication made to have retrospective operation.

Right of appeal may be a substantive right but the procedure for filing the appeal including the period of limitation cannot be called a substantive right and an aggrieved person cannot claim any vested right claiming that he should be governed by the old provision pertaining to period of limitation. Procedural law is retrospective, meaning thereby that it will apply even to acts or transactions under the repealed Act. M.P. Steel Corporation v. Commissioner of Central Excise, (2015) 7 SCC 58.

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Continuing Offence

Section 472 CrPC provides that in case of a continuing offence, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time period during which the offence continues. The expression “continuing offence” has not been defined in CrPC because it is one of those expressions which does not have a fixed connotation, and therefore, the formula of universal application cannot be formulated in this respect.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary (5th Edition), ‘continuing’ means ‘enduring; not terminated by a single act or fact; subsisting for a definite period or intended to cover or apply to successive similar obligations or occurrences’. Continuing offence means ‘type of crime which is committed over a span of time’. As to period of statute of limitation in a continuing offence, the last act of the offence controls for commencement of the period. ‘A continuing offence, such that only the last act thereof within the period of the statute of limitations need be alleged in the indictment or information, is one which may consist of separate acts or a course of conduct but which arises from that singleness of thought, purpose or action which may be deemed a single impulse.’ So also a ‘continuous crime’ means ‘one consisting of a continuous series of acts, which endures after the period of consummation, as, the offence of carrying concealed weapons. In the case of instantaneous crimes, the statute of limitation begins to run with the consummation, while in the case of continuous crimes it only begins with the cessation of the criminal conduct or act.
The law on this point can be summarized to the effect that, in the case of a continuing offence, the ingredients of the offence continue i.e. endure even after the period of consummation, whereas in an instantaneous offence, the offence takes place once and for all i.e. when the same actually takes place. In such cases, there is no continuing offence, even though the damage resulting from the injury may itself continue. Udai Shankar Awasthi v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another, (2013) 2 SCC 435.

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