Sec 135 – Presumption of culpable mental state

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Sec 135 – Presumption of culpable mental state 2017-04-14T02:45:49+00:00

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  • Miloni ShahMiloni Shah
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    #1124 |

    In any prosecution for an offence under this Act which requires a culpable mental state on the part of the accused, the court shall presume the existence of such mental state but it shall be a defence for the accused to prove the fact that he had no such mental state with respect to the act charged as an offence in that prosecution.
    Explanation.-For the purposes of this section,–
    (i) the expression “culpable mental state” includes intention, motive, knowledge of a fact, and belief in, or reason to believe, a fact;
    (ii) a fact is said to be proved only when the court believes it to exist beyond reasonable doubt and not merely when its existence is established by a preponderance of probability.

    Priya MadrechaPriya Madrecha
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    135.1    Introduction
    In this section the framers of law have cast the responsibility upon the shoulders of the one who is alleged of culpable mental state to prove otherwise.
    135.2    Analysis
    Now once the law has stated that in case of any prosecution which requires the existence of a culpable mental state, the court would presume the existence of it.
    Under the current revenue laws, the burden to prove was on the one who alleges it. Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Uniworth Textiles Limited vs. Commissioner of Central Excise, Raipur (2013) 31 67 (SC) stated that “Burden to prove invocation of extended period on Department. The assessee cannot be asked to bring evidence to prove his bona fide. Similarly it is a cardinal postulate of law that the burden of proving any form of mala fide lies on the shoulders of the one alleging it.”
    The accused can prove that he had no such mental state in respect of a particular act for which he is charged. The expression “Culpable Mental State” is defined inclusively to cover “intent, motive, knowledge of fact, belief in or reason to believe”. It also covers facts which exist beyond a reasonable doubt and not based on probabilities.
    Hence a very landmark judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court would lose its relevance in the cases covered by this section.
    135.3 Comparative Review
    Section 9C of the Central Excise law has a identical provision. Under the present laws the onus to prove non-existence of Culpable Mental State is cast on the assessee only.

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