Section 448 of IPC – Punishment for House Trespass
“Whoever commits house-trespass 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.”
Before going to House trespass, we need to know what is trespass. And, in what circumstances trespass is criminal trespass. Ordinarily, trespass is a civil wrong for which a defendant has the right to sue. Lord Macaulay, defined ” trespass is every usurpation, however slight, of dominion over property’. But only when it includes criminal intention, it becomes Criminal trespass. Whereas, Section 441 on Indian Penal Code defines criminal trespass.
Section 441- Criminal Trespass
“Whoever enters into or upon property in the possession of another with intent to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy any person in possession of such property, or having lawfully entered into or upon such property, unlawfully remains there with intent thereby to intimidate, insult or annoy any such person, or with intent to commit an offence, is said to commit “criminal trespass”.
The only difference between trespass and criminal trespass is Intention. A trespass with an intention to commit an offense is criminal trespass. The object of Section 441 is to protect the possession of the property. This section is concerned with possession, but not with ownership Sahebrao Kisan Jadhav Vs State of Maharashtra. It is not relevant if the person has entered the property lawfully or unlawfully. Lawfully entering a property and staying there unlawfully with an intention to commit an offense, is criminal trespass.
Further, Section 447 lays down the punishment for Criminal trespass. Punishment for Criminal Trespass is imprisonment of up to 3 months or fine up to Rs.500 or both.
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Section 442- House trespass
“Whoever commits criminal trespass by entering into or remaining in any building, tent or vessel used as a human dwelling or any building used as a place for worship, or as a place for the custody of property, is said to commit “house-trespass”.
The offense of house-trespass is an aggravated form of criminal trespass. The House trespass must have all the ingredients of criminal trespass. moreover, in addition to the element of criminal trespass, the house-trespass occurs at entering or remaining on the property. Here, Property includes any building tent, vessel, place of worship or any place for Human Dwelling.
The building here constitutes any place which can give protection to any human or any person dwelling inside it. Or any property placed inside it. The mere surrounding of any place by fencing or any wire of any opens space does not construe building. And trespass upon such space is not House-trespass.
However, in order to attract House trespass, an illegal entry upon the premises is necessary. A person does not commit house-trespass if he enters the property with permission or consent.
Rajmogali Ashayya Arkal and others. vs. Govind Hanumantu Nandlal and Anr.
As stated earlier, House trespass is an aggravated form of criminal trespass. So the punishment is also more than ordinary trespass. Punishment for House trespass can extend up to one year or fine up to 1000 or both. Moreover, this offense is compoundable, bailable and cognizable :
Those offenses in which compromise can be done at the instance of the party, are compoundable in nature. Hence, a compromise is available in the offense of House trespass. If the aggrieved party gives consent, without any force or undue influence, to compromise. In such a case, they can avoid a trial.
In Cognizable offense, police have the authority to arrest the person without any warrant. Also, police can start an investigation without the order of the court. Here, police can arrest a person on the mere complaint of aggrieved and/or founding accused on the property. Police do not require any warrant or order from the court.
In an offense, police have the authority to release an offender on bail. The offense of House-trespass in enumerated under the list of Bailable offences. Hence, a person accused of House-trespass has the option to get bail. One can provide for security to get the bail.
A person commits House-trespass upon entering any property of others with a criminal intention. For entering, it is not necessary to enter completely, but any part of the body is sufficient to construe House-trespass. The Offence is Compoundable as it is easy to compromise outside the court and the nature of the crime is less serious as it does not harm the body of the individual. Whereas, Cognizable as the police requires to act as soon as possible on the complaint. If the police have to wait for the warrant it will be too late.