White Collar Crime & Laws in India

Generally, crimes could be distinguished as White collar crimes and Blue Collar crimes. The difference between White Collar Crimes and Blue Collar Crimes is that the latter are the traditional crimes whereas the former are the crimes committed by professionals in course of their occupation by breach of trust.

A special status has been provided to these offences because when a person approaches a professional for help then that person creates a trust over that professional. When that professional breaks the trust of the common man, it not only hurts the common man but there is a distrust over the profession also.

What are White Collar Crimes?

White collar crimes are such upper socio-economic crimes which are committed by professionals practicing high status occupation. These professions include medical profession, engineering, legal profession, private educational institutions, etc.

White collar crimes also include economic offences such as hoarding, black-marketing, adulteration, tax-evasion, etc.

Laws in regard to White collar crimes in India

These crimes are committed even in business where the businessman can go to any extend for the purpose of profit earning. The best example to this is adulteration of food items. Laws such as Adulteration Act, Drugs Act, Opium Act have been made to eradicate this evil. There are provisions in Indian Penal Code also for the same.

Crimes Acts of legislation
Tax Evasion Income Tax Act
Illegal trafficking in contraband goods and Smuggling Customs Act,1962 COFEPOSA, 1974
Evasion of Excise Duty Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944
Cultural Objects’s Theft Antiquity and Art Treasures Act,1972
Money Laundering Foreign Exchange Regulations Act, 1973
Foreign Contribution manipulations Foreign Contribution Regulation Act,1976
Trafficking in Human body parts Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994
Illegal Drug Trafficking Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
Fraudulent Bankruptcy Banking Regulation Act,1949
Corruption and Bribery of Public Servants Prevention of Corruption Act,1988
Frauds Indian Penal Code
Financial Frauds Indian Penal Code
Foreign Trade Import and Export (Control) Act, 1947
False Travel Documents and Identity Cars Frauds Passport Act, 120 Indian Penal Code
Terrorist Activities Illegal Trafficking in Arms POTA-2002 Arms Act,1959
Illegal Trafficking in Explosives Explosives Act,1884 Explosive Substances Act, 1908
Theft of Intellectual Property Copyright Act, 1957 (Amendments of 1994,1999)
Computer Crime/ Software Piracy/ Cyber Crime Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1999 Information Technology Act, 2000 as amended in 2008
Stock Market Manipulations Companies Act, 2013 Indian Penal Code
Company Frauds (Contraband) Competition Act, 2002

Some other white collar crimes include blackmailing. Blackmailing can be considered as a white collar crime when the person blackmailing is at a higher social status. It is made punishable under Section 503 of Indian Penal Code.

Racketeering could also be considered as a white collar crime. Racketeering could be of organs or humans.

When any shopkeeper uses wrong weights for weighing goods for the purpose of selling, it shall also fall under a white collar crime.

White Collar Crimes in Professions

Following are the major profession where white collar crimes can be seen −

  • Medical Profession − The medical profession is a lifesaving profession. But there are certain white collar crimes which are committed in this profession too. For example, making false diagnostic report, aiding in illegal abortions, issuing fake medical certificates, etc.

  • Legal Profession − Legal profession is not left untouched from indulging into white collar crimes. For example, using fake evidence, calling fake witnesses in the court of law, etc.

  • Engineering Profession − The engineering profession encourages white collar crimes by providing low quality products and services for the purposes of building or constructing.

White Collar Scams in India

Following are some of the well-known examples of white collar scams in India −

  • Harshad Mehta Securities Fraud Case − Harshad Mehta was an influential stockbroker. He used his popularity and trust of people and made a fictitious market. He took advantage of his status and manipulated certain stock prices. Thus resulting into abnormally increasing the prices of these shares.

  • Satyam Scandal− This scam was unveiled only after retrieving a confession letter written by the founder and chairperson of Satyam Computers Services Limited. In the letter, it was confessed that there was tampering of account books.

  • 2G Scam − This scam began with the sale of licenses for the 2G spectrum. In this case, A. Raja granted the license to the applicants who were not qualified. Likewise, provided false information and even concealed certain information. Thus resulting into a loss of approximately 1.5 lakh crore.


The increasing rate of white collar crimes in India is threat to its economic development. Even though these crimes are non-violent, yet they have a big negative impact on the society. The more concerning situation is that it is committed by officials at a very high status. Thus, resulting into distrust on the societal governance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Are white collar crimes punishable in India?

Ans. Yes. In fact, depending upon the type of crimes, there are different types laws that penalize the respective white crime.

Q2. Is mens rea important in white collar crime?

Ans. No. Mens rea is not an important factor of white collar crime.

Updated on: 11-May-2023


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