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Socio economic offences are part of our day to day life we sometimes witness hear or read about these offences but these offences are not a recent development but they are the part of our societies from a very long time the difference is that nowadays as the technology advances we get to know of these offences but back in those days with no technology these offences were rendered unseen and were not brought to light. If we talk about the practical world in our world no one makes it to a mile without leaving a digital footprint we know about everyone a bit too much and this technology is the one which gives us the power to track such offences and bring them to the court of law for punishment. The question is why is it called the socio economic offences instead of white collar crimes, this is what we will see through this article.

CONCEPT OF SOCIO ECONOMIC OFFENCES There are many of legal issues in the society that needs a major attention to be stopped these could be conventional offences (Murder, Theft, Robbery) and non conventional offences (Socio economic offences, White collar crimes etc.) no doubt there are laws that could help in solving these issues and also to help in bringing the offenders to justice but there are so many of these crimes that goes unpunished and these are because sometimes people doesn’t event know that what happened with them was an offence or there are people with such high powers and positions that all they get is an old fashion notion ‘a slap on the wrist’ , to know the offence we must first know the difference in the White collar crimes as well as the socio economic offences.

In Mak Data Pvt. Ltd. v. CIT petitioner concealed his income in order to evade taxes. After a show cause notice was served to him he decided to surrender a sum to avoid litigation. It was held by the SC that the sense of surrender of sum was made after the detection was made, if the intention of the appellant was good, he would have filed a return inclusive of the sum which is surrendered later after the assessment proceeding.

According to many philosophers and the historical records and data the Socio economic offences basically started when there was a rise in the middle and elite class because they cannot live in harmony then also the elite class started having corruption and the middle class joined too, So by this we get a basic difference which is that Socio economic offences is committed by a person of high class or no high class but a white collar crime is done by the high status personal they should have three things which are:

  • Own occupation

  • High respectability

  • High status

This is the basic difference between a white collar crime and socio economic offences let’s get a clearer picture of it by seeing some illustration:

  1. “A” is the son of a famous actor “B” and was caught doing drugs but due to his father being a famous personality he was not arrested this is a white collar crime

  2. “C” is a peon in a government office and he took some money from a person to fix a meeting with “D” an important politician and the politician took some money from the same person to get his work done this is a socio economic offence.


The question is if this crime is done at all the levels then how did it enter in India well as stated above we can see that Socio economic offences basically started when there was a rise in the middle and elite class because they cannot live in harmony then also the elite class started having corruption and the middle class joined too but that was not the only way it entered it came through various things such as industrialisation, World War 2, lack of the moral etc. As the agricultural countries shifted to the industries for a better living standards it also brought offences with it, also after the war conditions were pretty rough so when the changes were done new offence too found its way to crawl into the society and with the change in the times people forgot their basic morals and became more and more money mined and opted for whatever way to gain profits as fast as they can.

So it was seen that due to see that the offences we have to take effective measures to stop it and for that the judiciary has made some laws to counter it and control it:

  • The Drugs Cosmetics Act, 1940

  • The Wealth Tax Act, 1957

  • Income Tax Act, 1961

  • The Customs Act, 1962


So how do we determine that these socio economic offences are done or find out that these kinds of offences the answer is simple we just have to look for the features of the offences to state a few these are as follows:

  • Motive

  • Mental Element

  • Mode of operation

  • Target victim

First of all things we must check is there any kind of motive any kind of gain a person could have from this anything that might be a value to him by doing such and offence, Second thing is whether or not there was a mental element which is commonly known as ‘mens rea’ that was the offence wilful or was the offence deliberately done for some personal gain or anything else. Thirdly To commit a traditional crime one uses a bit of force like in murder the killing blow is dealt with a sharp object or something else and then in non conventional offences there is need of fraudulent approach not a forceful one. Fourthly the target or the victims are not someone who are at a high status but the target victim are those who are a daily consumers or on a lower status.

By taking care of all these above mentioned points we can determine that how the offence is being done.


If we focus on the Modern Day Scenario we can easily identify that all those who have power as well as who are in an advantageous position are all riled up in doing these kinds of offences some of them are Politicians, Doctors, Businessmen and their secretaries, but the big question is what is our government doing in order to help society avoiding such kinds of crimes? The answer lies in the 47th report of the Law Commission of India which is also known as the Santhanam Committee Report and the things stated in the report are very important in order to get a better understanding of what actually are the socio economic offences as the features of the socio economic offences are discussed their in a very elaborative manner. The committee was formed by the central government in order to discuss what could be the counter measures to avoid such offences so due to that the above mentioned committee was constituted and they gave a full report as to why India fell prey to such offences.

Although it was true that everyone wanted money and fast but in a country of like India of vast cultures and religion people left their basic ethics and there was seen a rapid downfall in the religious ethics and lack of work and resources opened a passage for such offences to crawl into the society and pollute it. Currently the new criminal jurisprudence is working very hard to regulate the control of such offences and the only way to do is to impose strict laws like heavy fine and strict liability, confiscating the property in question etc. As stated above there are various laws taking care of such offences to name a few these laws are:

  • The Drugs Cosmetics Act, 1940

  • The Wealth Tax Act, 1957

  • Income Tax Act, 1961

  • The Customs Act, 1962

In modern times now even if someone tries to do such offences the law holders are there with a pair of handcuffs to put an end to these offences and they are working hard to impose the laws so that these activities stay at bay and a few of them do get away with it but a lot of them are punished too. These offences have deepened their roots inside the society and to get them out the laws are being made more and more stringent as well as all the planning’s to impose them are being done with utmost carefulness, Since these offences are not only limited to the high status societies but towards middle as well as lower status too so it will take time but eventually these offences will be wiped off and people will be treated equally.

By Mayank Sharma

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