Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has said it will file a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking ‘immediate intervention’ after Jio Infocomm towers were allegedly vandalised by farmers in Punjab protesting against the new farm laws.
Which law punishes vandalism?
The Indian Penal Code, 1860 punishes acts of vandalism, also known as destruction of property or mischief.
Anyone who intentionally seeks to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or to any person, by destroying any property or decreasing its value causes mischief in the eyes of the law. It is not necessary that the person suffering the loss is the owner of that property, as long as the offender knows they can cause loss.
The punishment for causing mischief is imprisonment for up to three months and/or a fine. If the mischief results in a loss of Rupees fifty or more, the punishment is imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine.
Mischief affecting roads or waterworks
The punishment for causing mischief is more severe it aims at:
- Reducing the supply of water meant for agricultural purposes, food or drink, or manufacture.
- Reducing the safety of any public road, bridge, or river meant for travelling or transporting property.
The punishment is imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine.
Mischief by fire
The law can punish anyone who commits mischief by fire or any explosive substance to cause damage to any property. The amount of damage should be worth Rupees one hundred or more for a person to be punished under this law. If the property is agricultural produce, the damage amount should be Rupees ten or more. The punishment is imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine.
If a person causes mischief by fire or any explosive substance intending to destroy any place of worship or human residence, they can be punished with imprisonment for up to ten years, or even life imprisonment, along with a fine.
The crime of vandalism is often coupled with criminal trespass. Criminal trespass occurs when someone unlawfully enters or remains in the property of another person, with the intention to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy that person. The punishment for criminal trespass is imprisonment for up to three months and/or a fine of Rupees five hundred.