Question: Write short notes on the Destruction of documents and Harbouring an offender. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write short notes on the Destruction of documents and Harbouring an offender.] Answer (A) Destruction of documents Section 204 IPC deals with the provision for the destruction of documents or electronic records to prevent its production… Read More »

Question: Write short notes on the Destruction of documents and Harbouring an offender. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write short notes on the Destruction of documents and Harbouring an offender.] Answer (A) Destruction of documents Section 204 IPC deals with the provision for the destruction of documents or electronic records to prevent its production as evidence. It states: Whoever secretes or destroys any document or electronic record which he may be...

Question: Write short notes on the Destruction of documents and Harbouring an offender.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write short notes on the Destruction of documents and Harbouring an offender.]

Answer

(A) Destruction of documents

Section 204 IPC deals with the provision for the destruction of documents or electronic records to prevent its production as evidence. It states:

Whoever secretes or destroys any document or electronic record which he may be lawfully compelled to produce as evidence in a Court of Justice, or in any proceeding lawfully held before a public servant, as such, or obliterates or renders illegible the whole or any part of such document or electronic record with the intention of preventing the same from being produced or used as evidence before such Court or public servant as aforesaid, or after he shall have been lawfully summoned or required to produce the same for that purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 204 deals with secreting or destruction of documents either by completely destroying them or by blotting out, erasing or defacing certain portions of the document or the entire document with the intention that it be prevented from being produced or being used as evidence in any court or before any public servant.

Such destruction may have been carried out either prior to it being summoned to be produced in court or after the person was lawfully required to produce the document in court. A person may secret a document when its existence is unknown to other persons or is known to others. It may be secreted with the purpose of preventing its knowledge to others.

This offence is punishable with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term up to two years or with a fine or with both.

(B) Harbouring an offender

Section 212 deals with the offence committed upon harbouring of offenders. An offence under this section presupposes that some other offence has been committed by another person whom the accused harbours or conceals with the intention of screening the other person from legal punishment.

The word ‘harbour’ includes supplying a person with shelter, food, drink, money, clothes, arms, ammunition or means of conveyance or assisting a person in any way to evade apprehension. Mere knowledge of the whereabouts of the offender does not amount to harbouring him, unless the alleged harbourer is guilty of supplying the person with food, shelter, etc.

The harbouring of the person must be done with the intention of screening the person from legal punishment. If, however, the person concerned gives food or medical aid to a person on humanitarian considerations and he has no intention of screening the offender from legal punishment, no offence of harbouring within the meaning of this section can be said to have been committed.

No prosecution can be launched under this section until the main offender is convicted of the offence he has alleged to have been committed. This is because, if, the person accused of the main offence is acquitted, then he can no longer say to be an offender and harbouring him cannot be said to be an offence. Thus, it is only logical if a person has to be prosecuted under this section, it can only be done after the person harboured is found guilty of the main offence.

Section 212 is attracted only when it is established that the person had harboured or concealed a person whom he knew or reasonably believed to be an offender. Hence, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove that:

  1. the offence in question was committed;
  2. the accused has harboured or concealed the person known or reasonably believed to be an offender, and such harbouring or concealing was done with the intention of screening the offender from legal punishment. Section 212 does not apply to harbouring of persons, not being criminals, who merely abscond to avoid or delay a judicial investigation.

The exception to the section provides that this provision shall not extend to any case in which the harbouring or the concealment is done by the husband or wife of the offender. No other relationship other than the wife or husband of the offender gets the benefit of the exception.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. IPC Mains Questions Series Part I: Important Questions
  2. IPC Mains Questions Series Part II: Important Questions
  3. IPC Mains Questions Series Part III: Important Questions
  4. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IV: Important Questions
  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
  6. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VI: Important Questions
  7. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VII: Important Questions
  8. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VIII: Important Questions
  9. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IX: Important Questions
  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions
Updated On 2021-07-18T13:21:28+05:30
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