Mischief: Section 425 IPC, Bail, Quashing

MISCHIEF

Section 425 IPC : Mischief

Whoever with intent to cause, or knowing that he is likely to cause, wrongful loss or damage to the public or to any person, causes the destruction of any property, or any such change in any property or in the situation thereof as destroys or diminishes its value or utility, or affects it injuriously, commits “mischief”.

Explanation 1.—

It is not essential to the offence of mischief that the offender should intend to cause loss or damage to the owner of the property injured or destroyed. It is sufficient if he intends to cause, or knows that he is likely to cause, wrong­ful loss or damage to any person by injuring any property, wheth­er it belongs to that person or not.

Explanation 2.—

Mischief may be committed by an act affecting property belonging to the person who commits the act, or to that person and others jointly.

Mischief Ingredients

  1. Intention to cause or knowledge that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person.
    1. Causes Destruction of property, or
    2. Causes any change in any property or in the situation of any property, destroys or diminishes its value or property or affects it injuriously.
  1. Intention to cause or knowledge that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person

When a person intends to cause wrongful loss or damage to a person or to the public, and with that intention causes destruction any change in the property, so as to destroy or diminish its value or utility is said to commit mischief. The intention is the mens rea part of this section. And if there is a knowledge on the part of the accused that he is likely to cause wrongful loss all damage by his act to the property of any person or public, then that also is sufficient to constitute the required Mens Rea. For example when a person throws a valuable document into the River belonging to another person, his intention is clear to destroy that property.  

Suppose, if that person puts water into those documents voluntarily, at least he will have knowledge that he is likely by so putting water to destroy the document and he is likely thereby to cause damage to that another person. So, in the first case, the Mens Rea is intention to cause wrongful loss or damage and in the second case it is the knowledge that he is likely by his act to cause wrongful loss or damage.  

And, here it is intention to cause or knowledge of causing damage that is a enessentialand whether he has actually caused their desired damage or not is immaterial. 

  1. Causes destruction or causes any change in it or in its situation as destroys or diminishes its value or utility or affect it injuriously 

Here it contains 2 parts: 

  1. causing destruction of property and 
  2. Causing any damage in the property or in its situation as destroys or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously. 

Both these acts constitute the act as part of the offence of mischief and when it is coupled with Mens Rea of either intention or knowledge of causing damage or wrongful loss the offense is complete. 

Causing Destruction of Property: 

It denotes that there should be destruction of property. That I stotal damage of the property, that it no longer exists. And also, it refers to the physical damage of the property. For example, buring of a house, throwing papers into the river, breaking the glasses etc. 

Property means some tangible corporeal property capable of being physically destroyed.  

In Sukha Singh Case, the accused on receiving delivery of registered article from a village branch postmaster was requested to sign an acknowledgement for the article received by him but instead of returning the same duly signed he torn it and threw it on the ground. It was held that he was guilty of mischief, though was a small receipt was an asset of post office which has got some value for it. 

 

Causes any change in or in its situation as destroys or diminishes its value or utility or affects injuriously:

When a person brings any change in the property or changes it placement so as to destroy or diminish. Its value or its utilization or affects it, with the intention to cause or with knowledge that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person is said to commit mischief, change or placement of the property is caused so that it loses its natural use or its serviceability, For example, if X throws a big stone on the car and by that if it damages the parts of car and by that it is damages the parts of car, then its value diminishes. So he is said to change the form, which is mischief.

One X had tied his buffaloes so that they should not destroy his farm. Y with an intention to cause wrongful loss to X untied the buffaloes and they damaged the entire property, Here, Y does committed mischief.

Public or any person

The mischief may be committed against public. If X leaves out a ferocious animal to go to a crowd, he commits mischief

Few Judgments on Section 425 IPC Mischief:

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

2006(3) R.C.R.(Criminal) 740

Indian Penal Code , Section 425 – Offence of mischief – Damage to property by accused – For purpose of Section 425 Indian Penal Code , Ownership or possession of the property are not relevant – Even if the property belongs to the accused himself, if the ingredients are made out, mischief is committed, as is evident from illustrations (d) and (e) to Section 425 .

Orrisa High Court:

Indian Penal Code , 1860 Section 427 Mischief – Definition of – In order to attract ingredients of offence under section 427 of Indian Penal Code , at first requirements of definition of ‘mischief’ as envisaged under section 425 of Indian Penal Code has to be proved – Mischief involves mental act with a destructive animus – Destruction with object of creating wrongful loss or damage is obligatory to be established – Negligence does not unnecessarily amount to mischief – Elements of section 425 of Indian Penal Code relating to intention or knowledge have to be proved otherwise section 427 of Indian Penal Code will have no application – In complaint petition, it is mentioned that accused persons have caused mischief and thereby putting complainant in loss and harassment – Nothing in complaint petition as to in what way petitioner had got any intention or knowledge to cause wrongful loss or damage to opposite party – Decision taken for suspension of supplies of petroleum products to retail outlets of company in force majeure situation might have caused loss or damage to complainant but in absence of necessary mens rea, it is difficult to arrive at conclusion that prima facie ingredients of offence under section 427 of Indian Penal Code are attracted.

Kerala High Court

 2015(1) R.C.R.(Criminal) 255

Indian Penal Code , Section 425 – Indian Penal Code , Section 279 – Offence of mischief – Mischief , life most crimes, comprises a mental and physical element – If a person causes wrongful loss or damage to public or any property or destroys or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously with an intend to cause damage or destruction or knowing that he is likely to cause damage or destruction to the property, he is said to commit the offence.

(i) Mischief is an offence done by the offender either with intention or with the knowledge that it is likely to cause damage or destruction to property – Hence, conceptually and in reality, the offences of rash or negligent driving on a public way and causing mischief by such an act cannot go together. 2007 Crl.L.J. 4132, 2002 KHC 2006, Distinguished.

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