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Report No. 156

Clause 112

12.42. In Chapter XIII sections 264-267 deal with offences, of using false instruments for weighing and measuring and being in possession of false weights or measures or making or selling the same. In 42nd Report the Law Commission having regard to such offences committed on large scale recommended that the sentence should be two years instead of one year and on the basis of that recommendation in clause 112 the substitution of words "two years" for "one year" in those sections is sought to be contemplated.

In this context, in several workshops it was highlighted whether the retention of those sections in Chapter XIII would be necessary in view of the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976. A perusal of the penal provisions of sections 50-70 and an examination of the scope and object of the Act would reveal that the main purpose in enacting this Act is to see that the standards of measures and weights are established and the same to be used in trade and commerce.

This aspect is also clear from an examination of the definition of "false weight or measure" which means any weight or measure which does not conform to the • standard established by or under this Act of 1976. Therefore, any such violation, namely, using non-standard weights and measures per se amounts to an offence. The word "fraudulently" which is used in each of the sections 264, 265 and 256, I.P.C. and the words "which he knows" occurring in sections 266 and 267, I.P.C. are not found in the various offences enumerated in Part 6 of the Standards of Weights and Measures Act.

That means for an offence punishable under those sections, the question of mens rea or an element of fraud is not relevant. Whereas in respect of those offences in Chapter XIII of I.P.C. such a state of mind is an important factor. It can also be noticed that the sentence in respect of offences punishable under the Standards of Weights and Measures Act is much more lenient and a complaint can be filed only by a Director or an authorised officer mentioned therein and a private citizen who is a victim cannot prosecute in a court. Therefore, it is appropriate that the said sections in I.P.C. should be retained as they are and increase the sentence as proposed under clause 112.

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