Posted November 10, 2013 by advocateguru in Learning Centre



The essential ingredients of the offence of mischief, as defined in Section 425, IPC are: (i) an intention or knowledge or likelihood to cause wrongful loss or damage to: (a) the public; or (b) any person (mens rea of mischief); (ii) causing the destruction of some property or any change in it or in its situation, and (iii) such change must destroy or diminish its value or utility or affect it injuriously.

No mischief can be committed if , the act complained of is only an invasion of civil right, as the necessary element of criminality by way of intention or knowledge to cause the wrongful loss or damage does not prima facie exist.

Intention or Knowledge to Cause Wrongful Loss or Damage

Underlying the offence of mischief is the intention to cause or knowingly cause the destruction or change of property. Mens rea is an essential concomitant to establishing the offence. Thus, the mere fact that any loss or damage was caused to the property would, by itself, not be sufficient cause to constitute mischief, unless the intention of the offender was to cause wrongful loss or wrongful damage to the person considered. Therefore, removal by a person of obstruction from property, which is not his own, but when he believed to be his right, and thereby causes loss, does not amount to mischief as he had not requisite mens rea.

Wrongful Loss or Damage

The inclusion of the term ‘damage’ along with ‘wrongful loss’, makes it clear that the legislature wanted to bring within the purview of the offence of ‘mischief’, not just acts which result in wrongful loss, but also to cover instances of all types of damage by unlawful means, which are actuated, however with the intention or knowledge to cause the same. The term ‘damage’ must then involve invasion of a right, though it does not necessarily contemplate damage of destructive character, but it does require diminution of the value of the property caused by the invasion of the right which , to be punishable, must have been contemplated by the person committing it at the time when the act was committed.

Destroys or Diminishes Value or Utility, etc

Destruction or diminution in value of the property in question is one of the essentials of mischief. It does not necessarily mean change in character or composition or form of the property.