Question: [“It is not enough to label the statute as one dealing with a grave social evil and from that to infer that strict liability was intended. It is pertinent also to inquire whether putting the defendant under strict liability will assist in the enforcement of regulations ….under this is so, there is no find in penalising…and it… Read More »

Question: [“It is not enough to label the statute as one dealing with a grave social evil and from that to infer that strict liability was intended. It is pertinent also to inquire whether putting the defendant under strict liability will assist in the enforcement of regulations ….under this is so, there is no find in penalising…and it cannot be inferred that the legislature imposed strict liability merely to find a luckless victim.” In the light of his statement, elucidate the...

Question: [“It is not enough to label the statute as one dealing with a grave social evil and from that to infer that strict liability was intended. It is pertinent also to inquire whether putting the defendant under strict liability will assist in the enforcement of regulations ….under this is so, there is no find in penalising…and it cannot be inferred that the legislature imposed strict liability merely to find a luckless victim.” In the light of his statement, elucidate the doctrine of strict liability under Criminal Law. [HR.J.S. 2015]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“It is not enough to label the statute as one dealing with a grave social evil and from that to infer that strict liability was intended. It is pertinent also to inquire whether putting the defendant under strict liability will assist in the enforcement of regulations ….under this is so, there is no find in penalising…and it cannot be inferred that the legislature imposed strict liability merely to find a luckless victim.” In the light of his statement, elucidate the doctrine of strict liability under Criminal Law.]

Answer

The strict-liability doctrine under Criminal Law provides that a defendant is guilty of a strict liability offence if by a voluntary act he causes the prohibited result or state of affairs and in this case, there is no need to prove that the defendant had a particular state of mind.”

It is a general rule of criminal law that the guilty mind of the accused must be present in order to hold him liable for his acts. This doctrine acts as an exception to this general rule. An example is a rule that a person who is ignorant of, or who misunderstands the meaning of criminal law may be punished for violating it under strict liability rule, even if her ignorance or mistake of law was reasonable.

There is a presumption that mens rea, an evil intention, or knowledge of the wrongfulness of the act, is an essential ingredient in every offence; but that presumption is liable to be displaced either by the words of the statute creating the offence or by the subject-matter with which it deals.

In Sherras v. De Rutzen [[1895] 1 QB 918], the defendant was convicted of selling alcohol to a police officer while on duty under Section 16(2) of Licensing Act 1872. It was customary for police officers to wear an armlet while on duty but this constable had removed his. The appellant, therefore, believed that he was off duty. The statute was silent as to the question of whether knowledge was required for the offence. The appellant was convicted and appealed contending that knowledge that the officer was on duty was a requirement of the offence. The appeal was allowed and his conviction was quashed after the court applied the presumption requiring mens rea in this Statutory Offence.

Where it can be shown that the imposition of strict liability would result in the prosecution and conviction of a class of persons whose conduct could not in any way affect the observance of the law, the court in the State Of Maharashtra v. Mayer Hans George [1965 AIR 722,] consider that even where the statute is dealing with grave social evil, strict liability is not likely to be intended.


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 2021-06-29T04:01:44+05:30
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