Report No. 29
25. Price control laws in U.S.A.-The question of violation of regulations relating to prices, rents, and rationing has received detailed consideration in the U.S.A.1.
Regulations relating to price control were issued in the U.S.A. extensively during and after the Second World War.
The office of Price Administration was the main agency charged with the implementation of these regulations. Apart from criminal prosecutions, action in other forms could be invoked against violators of such regulations in various forms, such as, warning letters, monetary settlements, damage suits, suits for injunction and license suspension proceedings. Damage suits are of three types, first, suit by the Administrator for violation in the course of trade or business; secondly, suit by the Administrator for violation at the retail level; and thirdly, suit by the consumer himself. In the first two cases, money paid as the result of the monetary settlement or suit is not deductible as a business expense for income-tax purpose. The maximum amount of damages is laid down by law.
An interesting feature disclosed as a result of the study of such crimes was, that the whole-sale dealers considered imprisonment to be a far more effective penalty than fines2.
1. See Clinard Criminological Theories of Violations of Wartime Regulations, 1946, American Sociological Review 258 (260): foot-note 10, and p. 264.
2. See Clinard Criminological Theories of Violations of Wartime Regulations, 1946, American Sociological Review 258 (260): foot-note 10, and p. 264.
26. White-collar crimes in affluent society.-We have dealt with white-collar crimes at length1 with reference to the importance which they have assumed in some of the Western countries. We are not unmindful of one important fact, namely, that they are a peculiar feature of an acquisitive and affluent society. Our society is by no means affluent, but it is gradually becoming acquisitive, particularly in the urban areas. While white-collar crime may not exist in this country on the scale on which it seems to exist in England and in America, it is not totally absent. Corruption of administrative officers, evasion of tax (particularly income-tax) by persons who fall in the higher income group, smuggling of goods which are scarce in this country (such as gold, watches and transistor-radio sets) and deliberate breach of foreign exchange regulations, may be cited as instances of white-collar crime in our country.
Further, the problem assumes worse proportions when town populations pass the million mark. The power to influence and the power to corrupt, and all the other evils associated with those powers, may not, at present, exist on the same large scale in India as in other more prosperous countries. But, with rapid urbanisation, these evils are bound to grow in intensity. That there is a marked association between crime and urbanisation is recognised in respect of crime generally2, and in respect of the crimes with which we are concerned, it must particularly be so.
1. Paras. 7 to 25, supra.
2. Sutherland and Cressey Principles of Criminology, (1960), p. 156.