-By Riya Manuja


    Section 425 in the Indian Penal Code
    Section 425. “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, wrong¬ful loss or damage to any person by injuring any property, wheth¬er 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.
    a) A voluntarily burns a valuable security belonging to Z in¬tending to cause wrongful loss to Z. A has committed mischief.
    b) A introduces water into an ice-house belonging to Z and thus causes the ice to melt, intending wrongful loss to Z. A has committed mischief.
    c) A voluntarily throws into a river a ring belonging to Z, with the intention of thereby causing wrongful loss to Z. A has com¬mitted mischief.
    d) A, knowing that his effects are about to be taken in execu¬tion in order to satisfy a debt due from him to Z, destroys those effects, with the intention of thereby preventing Z from obtain¬ing satisfaction of the debt, and of thus causing damage to Z. A has committed mischief.
    e) A, having insured a ship, voluntarily causes the same to be cast away, with the intention of causing damage to the under-writers. A has committed mischief.
    f) A causes a ship to be cast away, intending thereby to cause damage to Z who has lent money on bottom on the ship. A has committed mischief.
    g) A, having joint property with Z in a horse, shoots the horse, intending thereby to cause wrongful loss to Z. A has committed mischief.
    h) A causes cattle to enter upon a field belonging to Z, intend¬ing to cause and knowing that he is likely to cause damage to Z’s crop. A has committed mischief.”

    A case of mischief is under Section 425, I.P.C. and are essentially watched with a criminal intent causingdamage or wrongful loss, or a criminal intent to commit any offence, to dominate any person in possession of a property. If facts indicate that no criminal intent can be proven and a bona fide exercise of a civil right, the two offences cannot be brought home including criminal trespass.

    Ingredients of the Offence

    The essential ingredients of the offence mischief are as follows
    (1)Intention or knowledge of the likelihood to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or to any person.
    (2) Causing the destruction of some property or any change in it or in its situation; and
    (3) Such destruction or change must destroy or diminish its value.
    It requires the intention of a person causing damage or wrongful loss to any person or the general public. With the intention to injure any person with changing situation of property, mischief can be created.

    The offence of mischief can be committed with both movable as well as immovable property. Whereas, in case of movables in the offences of grave nature like robbery, theft, extortion etc. are committed, for the application of mischief there lies little scope. Mayne says, “Thus one who has stolen a sheep cannot be charged with mischief if he has changed the sheep into mutton by killing it.”

    In case of NagendraNath Roy v. Bijoy Kumar Das Verma[[1]] , it was held by the Court that mere negligence is not mischief. Negligence followed with intention to cause wrongful loss or damage will amount to mischief.


    1) 1992 CriLJ 1871


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