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Report No. 29

29. Important species of economic crimes.-The number of "economic crimes" as known to Soviet penal law is large, and some of them, such as "counter-revolutionary crimes" and "crimes against the public administration1" seem to partake of a political character.

As these are not relevant for our present purpose, we shall confine ourselves only to the species which are purely of an economic character, of which the following may be noted:-

(i) Manufacturing prohibited products.-The prohibition against manufacture of clothes, underwear, knit goods, hats, leather footwear goods, and articles made of non-ferrous metals, etc., being an essential feature of the economic policy, provisions were enacted to penalise the manufacture, etc., or sale ofsuch prohibited products2.

(ii) Speculation.-"Speculation"-purchase and sale of goods and other objects with the intention of making a profit-is punished3.

(iii) Contracts with the Government.-Dissipation by a leaseholder or trustee of legal entity (corporation) of governmental or public property given to him under a contract is punishable. So is failure to perform an obligation arising from a contract made with governmental or public office or enterprise, if, during a civil trial, the malicious character of the failure to perform is established4.

(iv) Private transaction relating to land.-Violation of laws on nationalisation of land, committed in the form of overt or concealed purchase, sale, gift„ etc., of plots or land not allowed by law, and other transactions in violation of such laws, are punishable5.

(v) Private business under the disguise of a Co-operative.-"Pseudo-Co-operative" activities, i.e. founding or directing the activities of pseudo-co-operatives (organisations which are disguised under the form of a co-operative in order to secure privileges granted to co-operatives, but which are in fact private enterprises), is punishable6.

(vi) Products of poor quality.-Release of products of poor quality, or of products inefficiently completed or released in violation of the established standards, is regarded as an anti-State crime equivalent to sabotage. The directors, chief engineers and chiefs of divisions of technical supervision of industrial establishments are punishable for such offences7.

(vii) Poor management.-Mismanagement by a person placed at the head of governmental and public offices and enterprises or of those entrusted by them, based upon a careless or dishonest attitude to the affairs entrusted, resulting in dissipation or irreparable damage to property of the office or enterprise, is punishable. So is dissipation of governmental or public property, particularly the entry into unprofitable business transactions by a person directing a governmental or public office or enterprise committed by agreement with the party to the contract of such office or enterprise8.

(viii) Weight and measures.-Giving faulty weights or measures to customers, using wrong scales or measurement devices or weights, is punishable9.

(ix) Selling goods of inferior quality.-Selling goods of inferior quality at the price for those of superior quality is punishable as theft from the customer and fraud of the Soviet State9.

(x) Excessive prices.-Violating established retail prices for goods of mass, consumption in shops, stores, stands, eating places, etc., and concealing from customers the prices of goods indicated in the price list, are punishable as theft from the consumer and fraud of the Soviet State9.

(xi) Theft of public property.-Theft of public property is dealt with elaborately in Soviet Criminal Law. Broadly speaking, theft of Government property is punishable more severely than theft of "public property" (property of collective farms, co-operatives, etc.), and theft of public property is punishable more severely than theft of private property10. Recently, even the death penalty has been introduced for large-scale theft of State property or social property committed by dangerous recidivists or persons serving sentences for special crimes11. (In fact, even previously under the law of August 7, 1932, misappropriation of goods shipped by rail or water, Government property or property of collective farms and co-operatives was punishable with death. This position continued up to 1947, when the death penalty was generally abolished on 26th May, 1947. From that date, confinement and confiscation of property were substituted for theft of public property12).

1. See. G & G, Government, etc. in Soviet Union, pp. 947-949.

2. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, p. 951.

3. Article 154, R.S.F.S.R. Criminal Code, 1960.

4. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, p. 955.

5. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, p. 956.

6. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, pp. 957 and 958.

7. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, pp. 957 and 958.

8. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, pp. 958-959.

9. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, p. 959.

10. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, p. 960.

11. Decree of 5th May, 1960, No. 19/207.

12. G & G, Government, etc., in the Soviet Union, p. 960. For the text of the law of 1947, see ibid, pp. 961 and 962.

Proposal to include certain Social and Economic Offences in the Indian Penal Code Back

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