Judgment on Prosecution under IPC and Specific Acts

In a significant ruling by the Supreme Court of India, a judgment was passed regarding prosecution under IPC and specific Acts. The case involved various sections of the Indian Penal Code and other provisions. The ruling provides clarity on the scope of prosecution under specific Acts alongside the IPC. Stay informed about the implications of this ruling on legal proceedings.


  • On April 27, 2017, the Special Task Force initiated an investigation into the short delivery of petroleum products at retail outlets in Lucknow.
  • During the raid, 15 nozzles connected to dispensing units were found, with 13 involved in malpractices of short delivery.
  • An FIR was lodged on April 28, 2017, for offenses under Sections 265, 267, 420, 34, 120-B of the IPC, and Sections 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
  • The accused were arrested and the dispensing machines were sealed by the inspection team to stop sales immediately.
  • Later, on June 1, 2017, the dispensing machines were opened, and electronic chips inside the units were taken into custody by the Investigating Officer.
  • Remote controls operating these chips were also recovered during the investigation.
  • Two applications were filed challenging the chargesheet on grounds of lack of evidence for the offenses mentioned.
  • The Magistrate did not take cognizance of certain offenses but proceeded with the case under Section 30 of the Act.
  • Further investigations led to the filing of a charge-sheet for various offenses under IPC and weights and measures acts.
  • Testing revealed short delivery of petrol and diesel by 200 ml on each sale of 5 liters.
  • The inspection team verified the stock available in the underground tanks using a dip rod on the same day.
  • The High Court held that Sections 467, 468, 471, 120-B and 34 of IPC stand clearly attracted.
  • The High Court directed the District Judge, Lucknow to ascertain the quantitative and qualitative figures of the residual stock and deliver it to the oil company for custody after due calibration.
  • The trial court did not take cognizance of offences under Sections 34, 120B, 471 of IPC or 26 of the Act.
  • The High Court ordered that the Code is applicable unless a different procedure is prescribed under the special law for cognizable or non-cognizable offences.
  • The Court should consider materials for the purposes of taking cognizance of offences based on orders passed on July 7, 2017, and August 17, 2017.
  • The High Court passed a detailed order examining questions of law in the light of exclusionary provisions.
  • Considering Sections 3 and 51 of the Act, the High Court held that Section 26 of the Act overrides the provisions of Sections 264 to 267 of IPC.
  • Section 51 of the Act excludes the application of IPC and Section 153 of the Code concerning weights and measures punishable under the special Act.

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  • The Act does not exclude the offences under IPC.
  • The Act will override only those offences inconsistent with IPC, except as specified in the Act.
  • Rulings in cases like State of Maharashtra v. Sayyed Hassan and Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel v. State of Gujarat & Anr. support the prosecution for IPC offences in addition to offences under specific Acts.
  • The mens rea requirement differs between IPC offences and specific Act offences like Section 138 of NI Act.
  • The Act is not a complete Code that prevents prosecution under IPC for violations.
  • Judgments like Sharat Babu Digumarti v. Government (NCT of Delhi) and Gagan Harsh Sharma & Anr. v. The State of Maharashtra & Anr. do not prevent prosecution under IPC for violations of specific Acts.

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  • In Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel, the Court upheld the prosecution for an offence under Section 420 IPC even when the prosecution under Section 138 of NI Act was lodged earlier.
  • Court held that mens rea is essential for an offence under Section 420 IPC, while the factum of dishonour of cheque alone discloses an offence under Section 138.
  • In Sayyed Hassan, it was held that prosecutions can be lodged under IPC and that specific provisions of Food and Safety Standards Act, 2006 are not the only resort for prosecution.
  • Section 51 of the Act makes IPC and Section 153 of the Code inapplicable for offences related to weights and measures under the Act.
  • Search and seizure powers are vested with designated authorities under the Act, making Section 153 of the Code inapplicable.
  • In Sayyed Hassan, an offence under Section 188 IPC covers cases causing danger to human life, health, or safety.
  • In Macquarie Bank Limited v. Shilpi Cable Technologies Limited, harmonious construction was adopted to resolve disharmony between parliamentary statutes.
  • Gagan Harsh Sharma found that dishonest and fraudulent acts fall within the scope of Section 66 of the IT Act.
  • The IT Act prevails over IPC for specific cases as IT Act is considered a special statute.
  • The Sharat Babu Digumarti judgement dealt with obscenity in electronic form.
  • The Court emphasized that the IT Act is a special enactment and is distinct from the provisions of the IPC.
  • Prosecution for offenses not punishable under the IT Act can be maintained if they are not inconsistent with any provisions of the Act.
  • Section 51 of the Act specifies that IPC provisions related to offenses regarding weight or measure do not apply to offenses punishable under the Act.
  • Offenses under Sections 292 and 294 of IPC were struck down in view of the provisions of Section 67 of the IT Act, highlighting the Act’s specialty.
  • The judgment emphasized the distinction between electronic record offenses under Section 67 of the IT Act and offenses of obscenity in printed format under Section 292 IPC.
  • High Court’s directions of disciplinary action against erring officers in a petition under Section 482 of the Code were deemed beyond scope and quashed.
  • Investigating agency can charge accused for relevant offenses in a supplementary report or during trial as deemed appropriate.
  • Offenses regarding cheating or specified under Sections 467, 468, and 471 of IPC are not covered by the Act.
  • Offenses revealing a criminal conspiracy under Section 120-B IPC are not offenses under the Act.
  • Provisions in the Act override IPC provisions in respect of offenses and penalties for Act violations, being a special Act.
  • Section 79 protection for electronic records cannot be ignored in connection with offenses under the Act.
  • Certain IPC offenses like sale of obscene books under Section 292 are not applicable due to the special provisions in the IT Act.
  • High Court’s directions in proceedings under Section 482 of the Code against the accused’s interest were considered beyond jurisdiction and quashed.
  • Acts performed in furtherance of a common intention disclosing an offense under Section 34 are not covered by the Act.
  • An accused cannot be charged for the same offense under Chapter XIII of IPC if it is disclosed under the provisions of the Act.
  • Offences under Chapter XIII of IPC cannot be lodged due to provisions of the Act.
  • Prosecution under other offences of IPC found to be maintainable in the case.

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  • The High Court of Allahabad at Lucknow passed an order on November 24, 2017.
  • The petition under Section 482 of the Code for quashing of Crime No. 0313, P.S. Hasanganj dated April 28, 2017, involving various IPC sections and other Acts, was dismissed in this order.
  • The appellant’s challenge in the present appeal is against this order.
  • The appeal was posted for final hearing along with other Criminal Appeals.
  • The present appeal is partly allowed, setting aside most of the High Court’s order except for the quashing of charges under Sections 265 and 267 IPC.


Case Number: Crl.A. No.-001328-001329 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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