Report No. 29
60. Classification of offences in question with reference to mens rea.-The above discussion1 will show, that it cannot be asserted that all the eight classes of offences with which we are concerned in this Report2 stand on the same footing with reference to mens rea. In fact, the offences seem to belong to four different categories. First, there are offences in respect of which mens rea is undoubtedly required (such as theft of public property). Secondly, there are offences which, though requiring mens rea, possess a special character of their own (e.g. many offences falling under the category of black-marketing). Thirdly, there are offences which can, with a fair measure of accuracy, be described as offences of strict liability (such as, some offences regarding food and drugs)3. And, Fourthly, there are acts in respect of which their moral culpability is a matter of controversy (e.g. tax avoidance)4.
1. Para. 50 to 59, supra.
2. Para. 2, supra.
3. See also para. 73, infra.
4. Cf paras. 100-111, infra.
61. Companies.-We may, in this connection, also refer to certain special provisions concerning companies. The subject of criminal liability of corporations is interesting one1-2, and we need not, for the present purpose, enter into a detailed discussion3 of the subject.
The subject has been discussed in detail in England4-5-6-7.
In India, the point was referred to, but not decided, in one case before the Supreme Court8.
The question has recently been discussed in a Bombay case9.
1. See Halsbunj, 3rd Edn., Vol. 10, p. 281, para. 521; and Vol. 6, pp. 440 to 442, paras. 853 and 854, dealing with the criminal liability of the companies and also with the criminal liability of officers, particularly p. 441, footnote (f).
2. See also Gower Modern Company Law, (1957) (1963 Impression), pp. 137 to 138.
3. In England, the leading case is R. v. I.C.R. Haulage, 1944 KB 551: (1944) 1 All ER 691 (693) (CCA). (Prosecution of company for common law conspiracy to defraud).
4. Welsh Criminal Liability of Corporation, (1946) 62 LQR 345.
5. Russell on Crime, 1964 Vol. I, p. 96.
6. Kenny Outlines of Criminal Law, (1962), p. 70, para. 50.
7. Glanville Williams Criminal Law, The General Part, (1961), p. 853, et seq.
8. Motipur Zamindari Co. v. State of Bihar, (1953) SCR 720: AIR 1953 SC 320 (323), para. 9.
9. State of Maharashtra v. Syndicate Transport Co., AIR 1964 Born 195 (200), para. 17. (Paranjpe I.).