This article is written by Kashish Goyal from Mody University of Science and Technology, Rajasthan, and curated by Naman Jain of Bennett University, Greater Noida.
Minor wrongdoings are a less serious crime; and if any person commits, he/she will be awarded imprisonment for a term of less than one year, or with penalty, or both. Sometimes, people get confused between the terms “Infraction” and “Misdemeanour”. Infraction is a less serious crime that constitutes non-following of any rule or ordinance by a person, whereas Misdemeanour is more serious than Infractions.
There are many provisions under IPC which comes under Misdemeanour:
- CRIMINAL TRESSPASS
- 441 of the IPC defines “Criminal trespass” which states that if any person enters into your property with the intent to commit an offense or in case enters upon the property with lawful means, but remains on the property with an intention to annoy or insult, that person will be liable for committing a criminal trespass. For instance, if a delivery boy requests a customer to let him enterthe living room for the purpose of delivery, but without permission, he enters into the bedroom for the purpose of annoying the customer while having a criminal intention, he would be liable for criminal trespass.
Under Criminal trespass, the main element is the commission of an offense. For Example, an act of a person entering a movie hall without a ticket is not covered under the category of criminal trespass.
The main ingredients of criminal trespass:
- Unauthorized entry
- The property should be in the possession of the owner
- Intention to commit an offense
In many landmark judgements, the court has stated the essential ingredients required for an act to constitute a criminal trespass. In the case of State of Calcutta vs. Abdul Sukar, the court held that “There must be a personal entry by an accused instead of a Constructive entry upon the property”.
In another case of Trilochan Singh V. The Director, Small Industries, a boy sends a love letter to a girl and delivered the letter at her residence. The innocent girl got annoyed as he entered her house to deliver this letter. This act was held guilty of criminal trespass by the Madras High Court.
- 442 of the IPC defines “house-trespass”-Whoever commits criminal trespass by entering into any building, tent, or any place of worship is said to commit house-trespass.
- 443 of the IPC defines “Lurking House trespass”, under which the offender takes some effective measures/steps to conceal the presence of a person who has the right to exclude the trespasser from the building.
- 445 of the IPC defines “House Breaking”- a person is held liable for this offence if he enters or quits the house by any of the methods mentioned below:
- If he enters by himself or by the abettor.
- If he enters or quit by opening a lock.
- If he enters or quit for committing an offense by criminal force.
Provisions for Punishments regarding Trespass:
- Punishment for Criminal trespass: term of the imprisonment may be extended to three months with fine which may extend up to five hundred rupees or both as stated under S. 447 of the IPC.
To constitute an offense of assault, there must be a threatening or a physical act by making a gesture that will cause the other person to believe, that the person is about to use criminal force. This is also known as apprehension. The person who pretends or apprehends must have the intention/knowledge that the act will cause the other person to doubt. Moreover, mere words cannot amount to an assault. There should be something more than the mere words resulting in a grave and sudden provocation by the complainant.
Anyone held guilty of assault will be awarded imprisonment up to three months, or a fine of five hundred rupees, or both.
- RASH DRIVING
It states that any person who drives recklessly on the road without following the traffic rules and not pays due care and attention, resulting in an injury or hurt to another person, shall be guilty of rash driving. The offender shall be punished with imprisonment that may extend up to six months, with Rs five hundred fine as mentioned under S. 279 of the IPC.
In the case of Mohammad Saffique V. the State of Orissa, rash driving has been defined clearly. It was pointed out in the case that place and time are the two factors, which decides the speed, rashness, and the severity of negligence caused by the vehicle or the offender. For example, on a straight-wide road, where pedestrians or any other obstructions are not present, we cannot say that driving speedily or absence of horn by the driver would amount to rash driving or negligence. A motor vehicle is intended to be driven with speed.
Further, S. 280 of the IPC deals with Rash navigation of a vessel, which states that rash and negligent navigation in seas and all waterways, or any other private or public waterways excluding high seas, is an offence of rash navigation of the vessel. Whoever commits this offence will be punished with imprisonment of a term which may extend up to six months, or with one thousand rupees fine, or both.
- INDECENT EXPOSURE
Decency and morality simply mean that behaviour of a person should be acceptable to the public and should not be obscene. Whoever does any obscene act in public with an intention to annoy others, or sings/recites any obscene song in the public place shall be punished with imprisonment of three months, or with fine, or both as mentioned under S. 294 of the IPC.
- PUBLIC INTOXICATION
Misconduct in public by a drunken person is known as Public Intoxication. Any person who appears at a public place under intoxication and commits an act, creating annoyance at a public place would be liable for public intoxication. Mens Rea is not required for the commencement of the offence. Only the state of intoxication in public places is enough. The offender will be punished with a term of maximum twenty-four hours, or with fine which may extend to ten rupees, or with both.
It is concluded that all the wrongs defined above are covered in the category of minor wrongdoings. All the above offences impose a penalty less than one year with fine. These are the crimes in which the offender is not liable for any rigorous imprisonment as they are of less heinous nature.