Punishment for Fouling Water of Public Spring or Reservoir - Section 277

Punishment for Fouling Water of Public Spring or Reservoir - Section 277

As inhabitants of a nation, we are conscious and responsible taxpayers of that nation. India has seen a huge rise in tax fees in recent years. After the issuing of Goods and Sales Tax or GST, people now have to pay a large amount of money. The amount paid goes to the District, State, or the Central Government’s citizen welfare fund. 

Before the commencement of the Constitution of India, 1949 some tax laws were contradicting the situation at hand. Laws which are in favor of the citizen at that time period such as Art. 277 were announced to be recommenced until the time the deemed Parliament fit.

What is IPC Section 277?

Section 277 states that “ Any taxes, duties, cesses or fees which, immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, were being lawfully levied by the govt of any State or by any municipality or other agency or body for the needs of the State, municipality, district or other local areas may, notwithstanding that those taxes, duties, cesses or fees are mentioned within the Union List, still be levied and to be applied to an equivalent purpose until provision to the contrary is formed by Parliament by law.” 

In simple words, it is mentioned that any taxes, duties, cesses, or fees which were lawfully levied just before the commencement of the Constitution by the Government of any state or by any municipality or any other local body or authority for the purpose of the state, municipality, district or any other local area may, regardless those taxes, duties, cesses or fees which are mentioned in the Union List, will continue to be levied and applied for the same purposes until a provision to the contrary is made by the Parliament by law.


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Is Section 277 bailable?

Bail simply means the discharge of an accused person awaiting trial on a temporary basis, sometimes on the condition that a sum of cash is registered to form sure their appearance in Court. Till now, there hasn’t been any clear-cut proclamation in the Indian Penal Code regarding this matter. Bail may be granted if the damage is substantial or may not be granted if the damages have a ruinous effect, based on the matter and the decree passed by the Court.

What is the punishment for the Section 277 Case?

This offence has no punishment in essence but with strong evidence against the accused, the Court can pass a rigorous decree.

Is Section 277 a cognizable offence or non - ­cognizable offence?

A cognizable offence is defined as an offence where a police officer can arrest a person without a warrant. After the arrest has been made, the accused will be presented before the Magistrate within 24 hours. In this case, it is a non ­ cognizable offence. Even if the damage caused by the accused is done voluntarily, police cannot arrest him/her without a warrant as this will go in opposition of a citizen's fundamental right enumerated in the Constitution of India, 1949.

How to file/defend your case for Section 277 offence?

Defending one’s case in this matter can be a little problematic for both parties. This law does not have any punishment per se, therefore, it becomes a task for the Advocates to explain to the Lordship or Ladyship the exact incident and the purpose for which their client is asking the Court for help.

If the prosecution or defence has strong arguments and vital evidence through which it can be observed that this executor deliberately caused damage and has a malicious intention. The fallacious can be punished as the Court fits it mandatory. 

Is Section 277 a bailable or non­ - bailable offence?

As stated above, there are no rigid laws in this matter, the accused can be set free before the trial on bail if the Courts deem fit.

Famous judgment w.r.t. Section 277:

Union Of India And Others vs Maharaja Krishnagarh Mills, 1961: The question for determination within the appeal was whether the Union of India was entitled to levy and recover arrears of excise duty on cotton for the amount April 1. After the approaching into force of the Indian Constitution and therefore the extension of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944, and therefore the rules framed thereunder to the State of Rajasthan by s. II of the Finance Act of 1950, the duty in respect of fabric manufactured on and from April 1, 1950, became payable thereunder Act. The appellant Union, however, claimed that as a result of the agreement entered into on February 25, 1950, by the President of India with the Rajpramukh of Rajasthan under Art. 278 and Art.295 of the Constitution, the Union of India became entitled as of April 1, 1950, to say and recover all arrears of excise duties which the State of Rajasthan was entitled to Rs. 1,36,551­12 as payable by it moved the High Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution. On a reference by the Division Bench which heard the matter within the first instance, the complete Bench finding in favor of the respondent held that Art. 277 was an entire refutation of the said claim by the Union and Art. 278 and therefore the said agreement was overridden by it. Held, that the provisions of Art. 277 and 278 of the Constitution, properly construed, leave no manner of doubt that Art. 277 was within the nature of a saving provision, subject in terms to the provisions of Art. 278, permitting the States to levy a tax or duty which, after the Constitution might be levied only by the center. But Art. 277 had to yield place to any agreement in respect of such taxes and duties made between the Union Government and the Government of a Part B State under Art. 278. Since there could not be the least doubt in the instant case that the agreement between the President and the  Rajpramukh of  Rajasthan conceded to the Union the right to levy and collect the arrears of the cotton excise duty in  Rajasthan, the  High Court was wrong in taking a contrary view of the matter.


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It was decided that the combined operation of Arts. 277 and 278 read with the agreement vests the power of levy and collection of the duty in the Union of India. It is only in the absence of an agreement like the one we have in this case that the Rajasthan Government could continue to levy and collect the duty in question. The agreement between the two Governments completely displaced the operation of Art. 277 in regard inter alia to the levy of this duty so far as the State of Rajasthan is concerned. It is clear, therefore, that the High Court was in error in holding that Art, 277 was an answer to the claim of the Government of India and should override the provisions of Art. 278 read with the agreement. On a proper construction of these provisions, in our opinion, the result is just to the contrary. In this view of the matter, it is not necessary to consider the other arguments advanced on behalf of the appellants, whether Art. 295 should prevail over Art. 277.

Conclusion: Paying such high taxes is getting heavy on the citizen's pockets day by day. As a developing nation, India needs to work on its infrastructure and that is only possible if full tax is paid on time by the citizens. But if taxes are not fully paid on time, the infrastructure of the nation, a policy made for the lower class, or farmers suffer huge damages. Filing your tax before 31 March every year is as important as paying your bank’s monthly EMI. The government is trying to make the best of our nation but it is not possible without our support. We are the Government, we are the citizens and we are India, it's now in our hands to make it a great nation.

This remarkable article was drafted by Nishi Ved, Fourth year B.L.S.L.L.B. student, M.K.E.S. College of Law, Mumbai.

Offence Punishment Cognizance Bail Triable By
Punishment for Fouling Water of Public Spring or Reservoir As per the court decree non-cognizable Bailable Any Magistrate
Offence Punishment for Fouling Water of Public Spring or Reservoir
Punishment As per the court decree
Cognizance non-cognizable
Bail Bailable
Triable By Any Magistrate


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