CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY IN INDIA: A JURISPRUDENTIAL APPROACH

CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY IN INDIA:

A JURISPRUDENTIAL APPROACH

Ms. Sayantani Das

FACULTY OF LAW, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF LEGAL STUDIES, SILIGURI

 

Gavel symbol as a concept of law or auction

Gavel symbol as a concept of law or auction

“Corporate bodies are more corrupt and profligate than individuals, because they have more power to do mischief, and are less amenable to disgrace or punishment. They neither feel shame, remorse, gratitude nor goodwill”                                                                                                             

 – Hazlitt

The word laws are developed by the common consciousness of the people, and corporate laws are no exception to it. Business people of the Indian subcontinent utilized theconcept corporate firm from the era of British period. Corporations as such were not unknown to India as is clear from Kautilya’sArthashastra (4th Century BC). The word company was standing upon the three pillar they are namely, sole proprietorship, partnership and company as a separate legal entity. If we make a comparative analysis of the three separate concept and their transition from primitive to modern era, it is that everything is interrelated. Now coming to the concept of corporate criminal liability, in criminal law, corporate liability determines to what extent to which a corporation as a legal person can be liable for the acts and omissions of the natural persons it employs. Corporate criminality became challenges at the capital market and it is this characteristic that makes corporate crime a serious issue. The spontaneous flow of the corporate criminal liability has become a problem which a growing number of prosecutors and judicial system have to deal at the present time. In the common law world, following standing principles in tort law, English courts began sentencing corporations in the middle of the last century for statutory offences. On the other hand, a large number of European continental law countries have not been able to or not been willing to incorporate the concept of criminal liability into their legal systems. The fact that crime has shifted from almost solely individual perpetrators only 150 years ago, to white-collar crimes on an ever increasing scale has not yet been taken into account in many legal systems. At the same time, crime rate has also become increasingly international in nature.[1]It is always said that company is not liable for any of its criminal liability as the incorporation of the company makes it an independent entity separate from its members and shareholders and consequently, the company has its own legal personality. [2]

 

[1]http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l101-Corporate-Criminal-Liability—An-Analysis.html, last cited on 18/7/16.

[2] This principle of the independent corporate existence of a registered company is well illustrated by the House of Lord’s decision in Salomon v. Salomon & Co, last cited on 18/7/2016.

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