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White Collar Crime in India

Any system that values profit over human life is a very dangerous one indeed.

Introduction
Famous Sociologist and Criminology Professor, Edwin H. Sutherland gave his definition of the term ‘White Collar Crime’ as “violation of criminal law by a person in of upper social-economic class in the course of his occupational activities” He incorporated legal organisations and big corporations, which were initially considered to be only committed by the lower class.

These crimes arise from deceptive practices involving tax evasion, adulteration of foodstuffs, edibles, and drugs, black marketing, corruption, cyber-crime bribery, extortion, fraud and funds embezzlement etc.

Cause of rising of white-collar crime

The general perception is that white-collar crimes are committed because of greed, lack of awareness or economic instability, however, With the development of technology and competition these Crimes has become a global phenomenon.

In India, it is increasing at a tremendous pace because of the increase in fiscal and industrial growth. There are many professions where criminal and unethical practices are often going unnoticed creating no evidence and a lack of fixed laws and punishments amount to inadequacy to deal with these crimes.

Other crimes vs white collar crimes

White-collar crime is a relatively old phenomenon. The Supreme Court of India in the State of Gujarat vs. Mohanlal Jitamalji Porwal and Anr  has explained the difference between general crimes and white-collar crimes. In the judgement, Justice Thakker stated that murder can be committed in the heat of the moment however, these economic offences are committed with a cool calculation and planned strategy to gain personal profits.

White-collar crime is present in all spheres. False medical certificates, illegal abortions, providing fake educational certificates, low-quality materials being used for the construction of buildings, roads and dams, are some examples. These practices damage the life of many citizens causing a huge debt on the government.

Laws relating to these crimes

The government of India has introduced various regulatory legislation like the Industrial (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951, Essential Commodities Act 1955, The Import and Exports (Control) Act, 1947, the Foreign Exchange (Regulation) Act, 1974, Companies Act, 1956, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, Information Technology Act, 2000 etc.

There are certain provisions in the Indian Penal Code to check crimes such as Insurance fraud, Bank fraud etc. The Reserve Bank of India has also issued directions to be stringently followed by the banks under KYC (Know Your Customer) guidelines.

The Central Investigation Bureau (CBI) has formed an “Economic Intelligence Wing” To keep a check on the economic offenders who have taken shelter in foreign nations, Some of the prime examples of the economic offences are the Vijay Mallaya case, Nirav Modi Case, Harshad Mehta Securities Fraud Case and Satyam Scandal, biggest-ever corporate accounting fraud

Conclusion
White-collar criminals not only disrupt harmony and trust but also create distrust which degrades social morale. These crimes result in social dysregulation while other crimes produce relatively little effect on social institutions. Hence, it is evident that these crimes should be dealt with strictly as they corrupt the very social framework.

It is important to create public awareness of crimes through the press, media and other audio-visual and legal literacy programmes. Special Laws and tribunals should be constituted with the power to sentence the offenders for legitimate time being and conviction should result in heavy fines rather than arrest and detention of criminals. It is important for people to strongly detest such crimes to control this growing menace.

References:
  1. Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem, available at https://www.goodreads.com/ work/quotes/14994756-rise-up-and-salute-the-sun-the-writings-of-Suzy-Kassem
  2. Edwin Sutherland Crime and Business, research article, available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/000271624121700114
  3. B&B Associates, White-Collar Crimes in India: A Legal Perspective, available at https://bnblegal.com/article/white-collar-crimes-in-india-a-legal-perspective/
  4. The State of Gujarat vs. Mohanlal Jitamalji Porwal and Anr ,1987 AIR 1321 1987 SCR (2) 677
  5. Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, available at https://dor.gov.in/link/ceib last seen on 16-07-2020

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