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Report No. 42

12.21. Sections 246 to 254 to be omitted.-

Sections 246 to 254 deal with altering the weight, composition or appearance of coins. They were important when costly metal was used in the minting of coins. The present position is quite different, and nobody would take the trouble of trying to alter the weight or composition of the coins which are in use at present. These sections are out of date and may be omitted.

12.22. Revised sections in place of sections 230 to 254.-

In the light of the above discussion, sections 231 to 254 may be replaced by the following sections.-

"236. Counterfeiting coins.- Whoever counterfeits, or knowingly performs any part of the process of counterfeiting, any coin shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

242. Unlawfully taking coining instrument from mint.- Whoever, without lawful authority, takes out of any mint lawfully established in India, any coining tool or instrument, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine."

238. Possession of counterfeit coin.- Whoever has in his possession any counterfeit coin, knowing or having reason to believe the same to be counterfeit and intending to use the same as genuine or that it may be used as genuine, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.

239. Making or possessing instruments or materials for counterfeiting coi.- Whoever makes, or performs any part of the process of making, or buys or sells or disposes of, or has in his possession any machinery, instrument, or material for the purpose of being used, or knowing or having reason to believe that it is intended to be used, for counterfeiting any coin, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.

240. Import or export of counterfeit coin.- Whoever imports into India or exports therefrom any counterfeit coin, knowing or having reason to believe that the same is a counterfeit coin, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

241. Person employed in mint causing coin to be of different weight or composition from that fixed by law.- Whoever, being employed in any mint lawfully established in India, does any act, or omit what he is legally bound to do, with the intention of causing any coin issued from that mint to be of a different weight or composition from the weight or composition fixed by law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

242. Unlawfully taking coining instrument from mint.- Whoever, without lawful authority, takes out of any mint lawfully established in India, any coining tool or instrument, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine."

12.23. Use of spurious coin or token in automatic vending machine.-

Before considering the next group of sections relating to revenue stamps, we would suggest the insertion of a new section relating to coin. With increasing mechanisation the use of automatic vending machines for selling various articles and even services or for collecting fares and tolls is bound to come into vogue in the near future. Such machines are usually operated by inserting the requisite coin, or other valuable token. Experience of other countries shows that the machine, or rather its owner, is cheated by dishonest persons inserting 'slugs' instead of coins. Such conduct is harmful and dishonest, and should be made punishable as has been done in some countries.

We see, for instance, section 397 of the Canadian Criminal Code which makes it an offence for any one "who fraudulently inserts or uses in a machine that vends merchandise or services or collects fares or tolls, anything that is intended to pass for the coin or the token of value that the machine is designed to receive in exchange for the merchandise, service, fare, or toll, as the case may be." We would, therefore, recommend the insertion of a new section to deal with this offence. Punishment of imprisonment upto one year, or fine, or both, will suffice for the offence. The new provision may be as follows.-

"243. Dishonest use of slugs in vending machines.- Whoever dishonestly inserts or uses in a machine which sells goods or services or collects fares or tolls, anything that is intended to pass for, but is not the coin or the token of value that the machine is designed to receive in exchange for the goods, services, fare or toll, as the case may be, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."

12.24. Sections 255 to 26.-General discussion.-

Sections 255 to 263 deal with the counterfeiting of, and connected offences relating to, "stamps issued by Government for the purpose of revenue". As "Government" means the Government of India or any State Government, the sections apply in relation to all revenue stamps, whether State or Central. By virtue of section 17 of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, Indian postage stamps (including impressions produced by franking machines) are deemed to be such revenue stamps within the meaning of section 255 et. seq. Then, sub-section (4) of section 263A makes the preceding sections applicable also in relation to foreign postage stamps.

12.25. Amendments to sections 255 to 236 considered.-

No substantial change appears necessary in these nine sections. However, a considerable shortening of the language of these sections can be achieved; in particular, the repetition in each section of the words 'stamp issued by the Government for the purpose of revenue' can be avoided by using the term 'revenue stamp' with a definition in the first section. We also propose that these sections may be revised on the same lines as the sections relating to coin.

12.26. Section 25.-amendment.-

In section 255, the severe punishment of imprisonment for life appears to be unnecessary; rigorous imprisonment upto ten years should be adequate. In view of the clear definition of "counterfeit" in section 28 of the Code, the Explanation to section 255 is not necessary and may safely be deleted.

12.27. Sections 256 and 25.-combined and revised.-

Section 256 deals with the possession of instruments or material for counterfeiting, and section 257 with the sale of such instruments. These two sections may be combined into one. Further, the language of the corresponding section regarding currency note.-section 489.-appears to be simpler, and could be followed with advantage.

12.28. Sections 258, 259 and 26.-combined and revised.-

Sections 258, 259 and 260 deal with the sale, possession and use of counterfeit stamps. The three sections may be combined into one.

12.29. Sections 261 to 263.- Sections 261 to 263 require no change of substance.

12.30. Sections 255 to 26.-revised and re-numbered.-

In the light of the above discussion, sections 255 to 263 may be revised and re-numbered as follows.-

"244. Counterfeiting revenue stamp.- Whoever counterfeits, or knowingly performs any part of the process of counterfeiting, any revenue stamp shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation.- The expression 'revenue stamp' means a stamp issued by Government for the purpose of revenue.

245.Making or possession or sale of instruments or materials for counterfeiting revenue stamp.- Whoever makes, or performs any part of the process of making, or buys or sells, or disposes of, or has in his possession, any machinery, instrument or material for the purpose of being used, or knowing or having reason to believe that it is intended to be used, for counterfeiting any revenue stamp, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

246. Sale, use and possession of counterfeit revenue stamp.- Whoever-

(a) sells, or offers for sale, any stamp which he knows or has reason to believe to be a counterfeit revenue stamp, or

(b) has in his possession any stamp which he knows to be a counterfeit revenue stamp, intending to use or dispose of the same as genuine, or

(c) uses as genuine any stamp, knowing it to be a counterfeit revenue stamp, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

247.Effacing, writing or removing revenue stamp with intent to cause loss to Government.- Whoever, fraudulently or with intent to cause loss to the Government, removes or effaces from any substance bearing a revenue stamp, any writing or document for which such stamp has been used, or removes from any writing or document, a revenue stamp which has been used for such writing or document, in order that such stamp may be used for a different writing or document, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

248. Using revenue stamp known to have been before used.- Whoever, fraudulently or with intent to cause loss to the Government, uses for any purpose a revenue stamp which he knows to have been before used, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

249. Erasure of mark denoting that stamp has been issued.- Whoever

(a) fraudulently or with-intent to cause loss to the Government, erases or removes from a revenue stamp, any mark put or impressed upon it for the purpose of denoting that the stamp has been used, or

(b) knowingly has in his possession or sells or disposes of any such stamp from which such mark has been erased or removed, or

(c) sells or disposes of any such stamp which he knows to have been used, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both."

12.31. Section 263.-distinction between fictitious and counterfeit stamp.-

Section 263A prohibits dealings in "fictitious" postage stamps. The distinction between counterfeit stamps and fictitious stamps appears to be that if a person uses a stamp resembling a stamp in general, but not resembling a particular stamp actually in use, then it would not be counterfeiting, but it would be using a fictitious stamp. Secondly, though imitation is required for the offence of making a fictitious stamp, a close resemblance (as is required in counterfeiting) is not necessary.

Lastly, intention to deceive is not necessary in the case of an offence against this section. As the potentiality for mischief of such acts is much less than counterfeiting postage stamps, the offence of making, using or possessing fictitious stamps is punishable only with a small fine. The language used in section 263A is wide enough to cover even serious acts of counterfeiting; but, obviously, the intention is to cover only acts which do not fall within the more serious offence of counterfeiting.

12.32. Amendments proposed.-

We do not consider it necessary to disturb the section since it has seldom, if ever, been invoked. But we propose to simplify the definition of 'fictitious stamp' given in sub-section (3). Sub-section (4) which makes this section as well as the nine preceding sections applicable in relation to foreign postage stamps should be put in a separate section. Further, the marginal note to the section should contain the word 'postage', as the section deals with postage stamps only.

12.33. Revised sections in place of section 263A.-

Section 263A may be replaced by two sections as follows.-

"250. Application of preceding sections to foreign postage stamps.-The provisions of sections 244 to 249, both inclusive, apply in relation to postage stamps issued by the Government of a foreign country as they apply in relation to revenue stamps.

251. Prohibition of fictitious postage stamps.- (1) Whoeve.-

(a) makes, knowingly utters, deals in or sells any fictitious postage stamp, or knowingly uses for any postal purpose any such stamp, or

(b) has in his possession, without lawful excuse, any such stamp, or

(c) makes, or, without lawful excuse, has in his possession, any die, plate, instrument or material for making any such stamp, shall be punished with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees.

(2) Any such stamp, die, plate, instrument or materials in the possession of any person for making any fictitious postage stamp may be seized and, if seized, shall be forfeited.

(3) In this section, 'fictitious postage stamp' means any stamp falsely purporting to be issued by the Government of India or of a foreign country for the purpose of denoting a rate of postage, or any facsimile or imitation or representation, whether on paper or otherwise, of any stamp issued by such Government for that purpose."



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