December 9, 2023
Statue of Lady Justice

Offences that affect society’s economic and social well-being are referred to as Socio-economic offences in ipc. Because they don’t require mens rea, these crimes are not like others. These offences have an effect on society. It targets a group of individuals who are most likely to buy these kinds of goods or services rather than just one individual. A recent category of criminal activity is socio-economic crimes. wherein members of the middle and upper classes participate and are dedicated in the course of their work.

Some refer to them as public welfare offences, statutory offences, strict liability offences, and so forth. It also refers to them as white-collar crimes. Globally, this kind of crime has taken root to differing degrees. These offences are quite serious. Even yet, there are now a number of legislators in India who fit the description of socioeconomic legislators.

Socio-economic offences meaning

  • The 47th Law Commission Report’s description of socio-economic offences in India is crucial. The study defines socioeconomic crimes as social offences that affect the community’s general well-being as opposed to only the victim’s own health, morals, or social standing. Economic offences are those that damage the economy of society and jeopardize not just personal finances but also the nation’s whole economic system.
  • Socio-economic crimes are distinct from traditional crimes in that they are not perceived as involving or carrying any stigma. In contrast, traditional crimes are perceived by the public as having a symbolic meaning that involves immorality, depravity, and shame, and are associated with behavior that is clearly associated with lower social classes.

list of Socio-economic offences in India   

The types of Socio-economic offences in India are as follows:

  • Planned and executed measures intended to obstruct or hinder the nation’s economic growth and well-being,
  • Evasion of income taxes,
  • Public officials abusing their power and position, which is likely to lead to corruption,
  • Any violations, such as contract breaches and the delivery of goods that don’t live up to expectations,
  • All hoarding and black marketing-related activities,
  • Activities related to adulteration of food and medication. theft and misappropriation of funds and assets belonging to the government,
  • the actions connected to the trafficking of permits, licenses, and other licenses.

burden of proof in Socio-economic offences

Similarly, to any other legal context, the burden of proof in socioeconomic crimes refers to the prosecution’s duty to establish the accused’s guilt. Economic offenses like tax evasion, money laundering, corruption, fraud, and other social and economic infractions are instances of socio-economic offenses.

Socio-Economic Crimes: Characteristics

The main characteristics of socioeconomic offences are as follows:

  • Because socio-economic offences impact not just an individual’s physical and mental well-being but also the financial system and social cohesion of a country, they are seen as more serious crimes than traditional offences.
  • People from the middle and higher classes of society conduct socio-economic offences in the framework of their trade, business, or profession, as opposed to traditional crimes.
  • The desire for financial gain drives the commission of socio-economic crimes, in contrast to blue-collar crime.
  • Instead of using force, socio-economic offences are perpetrated with purposeful and intentional acts of fraud, deceit, etc. Therefore, socioeconomic crimes are not carried out of passion.
  • Corruption of the mind produces socioeconomic offences.
  • Socioeconomic offences are not stigmatized like traditional crimes are. The difference between Socio-economic offences and traditional crimes is that socioeconomic crimes impact society as a whole, whereas traditional crimes only have an impact on the wealth or health of a single person in question or group of people in question.

Socio-Economic Crimes: Causes

  • The foundations of socio-economic crime are the authority and judgment of public servants, as well as the openings created by antiquated colonial laws and policy environments.
  • In a mixed economy under state supervision, such as India, government servants exercise their discretion and power, interpreting rules and processes to their own advantage. These all lead to administrative delays or red tape. Speed money can get rid of this obstacle.
  • In order to go around laws and regulations, an Indian is expected to pay bribes to get documents such as birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, tax assessments, ration cards, pension orders, death certificates, and so on.
  • Laws that were poorly drafted also provided corrupt officials with the chance to interpret them in a way that suited their whims, wants, and fancy.

Laws Pertaining to the Prohibition of Socio-economic Offences in India

To penalize offenders, a number of Acts pertaining to socioeconomic offences were created. Additionally, the purpose of these Acts is to protect standard business procedures such as contracts, trade, and so on, and to enable them to occur with minimal or no malpractice. These Acts include:

  • The Prevention of Corruption Act.
  • The Food Adulteration Prevention Act.
  • The Act of Prevention of Immoral Traffic
  • The Cosmetics and Drugs Act.
  • The Essential Commodities Act
  • The Act on Psychotropic Substances and Narcotic Drugs
  • The Weights and Measures Standard Act
  • The Customs Act
  • The Act on Drug Control.
  • The Act on Income Taxation

Role of Mens Rea in Socio-economic Crimes

  • Legislators tend to reduce the need for mens rea in order to establish criminal responsibility for socioeconomic offences. These offences do more harm than more conventional crimes do. They tend to weaken the foundation of the economy and have an impact on people’s morals, health, and welfare in general.
  • Socioeconomic offences always involve a guilty thought element, but it is exceedingly challenging to establish this legally. Actus reus, however, can be readily established in such cases. Consequently, it is imperative and required to explicitly remove the mens rea requirement from socioeconomic offences.
  • The Supreme Court’s position on mens rea in connection to socioeconomic offences was that it is a necessary component of an offense.

The majority of socio-economic offences go unreported to the police. Because economic offences are often not reported, people are unaware of how serious they are. The researcher believes that all types of criminal conduct are subject to underreporting. Since most people agree that crime in general and economic offences in particular are harmful, significant steps need to be taken to guarantee the free reporting of crimes.

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