scales of justice

This is a preliminary compilation of legal provisions which are on the statute books and give the lie to the argument that the proposed anti-conversion law in Karnataka is filling a much needed legal gap. A perusal of these provisions will indicate that there is no need for an anti-conversion law to cover the use of force and fraud and that the real purpose of the proposed law is to target the constitutional right to profess and practice faith of one’s choice. This compilation has been prepared by Arvind Narrain and Manavi Atri who are advocates associated with the People Union for Civil Liberties- Karnataka ( PUCL-K) assisted by Shivani.

Indian Penal Code
Section Content Text

Section 349
Definition of Force

A person is said to use force to another if he causes motion, change of motion, or cessation of motion to that other, or if he causes to any substance for such motion, or change of motion, or cessation of motion as it brings that substance into contact with any part of that other’s body, or with anything which that other is wearing or carrying, or with anything so situated that such contact affects the other’s sense of feeling:

Provided that the person causing the motion, or change of motion, or cessation of motion, causes that motion, change of motion, or cessation of motion in one of the three ways hereinafter described:

First.—By his own bodily power.
Secondly.—By disposing any substance in such a manner that the motion or change or cessation of motion takes place without any further act on his part, or on the part of any other person.
Thirdly.—By inducing any animal to move, to change its motion, or to cease to move.

Section 350- Definition of Criminal Force

Whoever intentionally uses force to any person, without that person’s consent, in order to the committing of any offence, or intending by the use of such force to cause, or knowing it to be likely that by the use of such force he will cause injury, fear or annoyance to the person to whom the force is used, is said to use criminal force to that other.

Section 351-Definition of Assault

Whoever makes any gesture, or any preparation intending or knowing it to be likely that such gesture or preparation will cause any person present to apprehend that he who makes that gesture or preparation is about to use criminal force to that person, is said to commit an assault.

Section 352 – Punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person otherwise than on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

Section 355 -Assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour person, otherwise than on grave provocation.

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person, intending thereby to dishonour that person, otherwise than on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 356 -Assault or criminal force in attempt to commit theft of property carried by a person.

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person, in attempting to commit theft on any property which that person is then wearing or carrying, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 357 -Assault or criminal force in an attempt wrongfully to confine a person.

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person, in attempting wrongfully to confine that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Section 358 -Assault or criminal force on grave provocation

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.

Section 383 -Definition of Extortion

Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property, or valuable security or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits “extortion”.

Section 415 -Definition of Cheating

Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to “cheat”

Section 508 -Act caused by inducing person to believe that he will be rendered an object of the Divine displeasure.

Whoever voluntarily causes or attempts to cause any person to do anything which that person is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do anything which he is legally entitled to do, by inducing or attempting to induce that person to believe that he or any person in whom he is interested will become or will be rendered by some act of the offender an object of Divine displeasure if he does not do the thing which it is the object of the offender to cause him to do, or if he does the thing which it is the object of the offender to cause him to omit, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Section 190 -Threat of injury to induce person to refrain from applying for protection to public servant

Whoever holds out any threat of injury to any person for the purpose of inducing that person to refrain or desist from making a legal application for protection against any injury to any public servant legally empowered as such to give such protection, or to cause such protection to be given, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Indian Contract Act

Section 19 Voidability of agreements without free consent. When consent to an agreement is caused by coercion, fraud or misrepresentation, the agreement is a contract voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so caused.

Section 15 Coercion defined

“Coercion” is the committing, or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement.

Section 16 Undue Influence defined

A contract is said to be induced by “undue influence” where the relations subsisting between the parties are such that one of the parties is in a position to dominate the will of the other and uses that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the other.

Section 17 Fraud defined

“Fraud” means and includes any of the following acts committed by a party to a contract, or with his connivance, or by his agent1 , with intent to deceive another party thereto of his agent, or to induce him to enter into the contract:—
(1) the suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;
(2) the active concealment of a fact by one having knowledge or belief of the fact;
(3) a promise made without any intention of performing it;
(4) any other act fitted to deceive;
(5) any such act or omission as the law specially declares to be fraudulent.


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