Some professions offer lucrative opportunities for criminal acts and unethical practices which barely attract public attention. There have been crooks and unscrupulous people in business, various professions, and even in public life. They tend to become unscrupulous because of their neglect at school, at home, and other social establishments.
Therefore, they carry on their illegal path without the fear of loss of prestige or status. Apart from the traditional crimes like assault, robbery, dacoity, murder, rape, etc. which involve violence, there are certain anti-social acts committed mostly by upper-class people in the course of exercising their professions, occupations, or business. The crimes of this nature are called White collar crimes.
The economic and industrial growth throughout the world has been the most potent cause of the increase in white collar crimes in recent years. The changing socio-economic scenario of the society coupled with the increase in wealth and prosperity has furnished opportunities for such crime.
On the growing incidence of white collar crime in India, the Law Commission in its Report mentioned that modern scientific and technological development and monopolistic trends in the business world have led to enormous increase in white collar crime.
Some of the professions involve technical skills which provides ample opportunities for white collar criminals. They include medical professions, engineering, legal practices, private educational institutions, etc. Making misrepresentation through Fake and misleading advertisement, infringement of intellectual property rights is yet another area in which white collar criminals operate.
White Collar Crime in India
White collar crime has become a global phenomenon with the advancement of commerce and several advancements of new technology. Like any other country, India is not an exception it equally in the grip of white collar criminality. The reason for the enormous increase in white collar crime in recent decades is to be found in the fast developing economy and industrial growth of the developing countries.
The Santhnam Committee Report gave a vivid picture of white collar crimes committed by persons of respectability such as businessmen, industrialists, contractors, and suppliers as also the corrupt public, and both, bribe-giver as well as bribe-taker are equally punishable.
Some important white collar crimes well recognized in India include hoarding, black-marketing, adulteration, tax evasion and unethical professional practices in medicine, law, business houses, educational institutions etc. There are also some white collar crimes in the nature of fake employment placement rackets, real estate rackets, fake messages centers, etc.
White Collar Crime Vs Conventional or Blue Collar Crime
Both white collar crimes and conventional crimes are crimes against society. There is some resemblance between these two types of crimes. Both these types have their origin in common law having the basic features of adopted theft, fraud, etc.
The following are some of the important distinctions between white collar crimes and conventional crimes-
- White-collar crimes are common among the privileged classes whereas conventional crimes or blue collar crime are more common among the underprivileged classes.
- White-collar crimes committed in the commercial world are indirect, anonymous, impersonal, and difficult to detect whereas conventional are direct and involve physical activity such as beating, stealing, etc, and can easily be identified and detected.
- The financial cost involved in white-collar crimes is several times greater than that of conventional crimes.
- White-collar crimes are generally supported by higher strata of people whereas it is not possible in conventional crime.
- In white-collar crimes, mens rea is not a criterion whereas it applies in conventional crimes.
- A public cry against white collar crimes is minimal whereas it is more in the case of conventional crimes.
Remedial Measures of White Collar Crimes
In a country like India wherever massive scale starvation, mass illiteracy, and ignorance affect the lifetime of individuals, white-collar crimes are bound to multiply in massive proportion.
Management of those crimes may be a crucial downside for the criminal justice administration in this country. However, some of the remedial measures for combating white collar criminality are as follows-
- Creating public awareness among people against these crimes.
- Intensive legal literacy programs may perhaps help in reducing the incidence of white collar criminality to a considerable extent.
- Special tribunals should be constituted with the power to award sentences of imprisonment up to 10 years for white collar crimes. Providing stringent and effective regulatory laws.
- Public vigilance at all levels.
- Effective Law enforcement authorities.
Finally, it must be stated that in a developing country like India where the population is fast escalating, economic offenses are increasing by leaps and bound beside the traditional crimes. These are mostly associated with an upper and middle class of society.
To a great extent, these crimes are an outcome of industrial as well as commercial developments and the progress of science and new technology. Consequently, moral values have either changed or thrown to the winds with frauds, misappropriation, corruption, tax evasion, etc. have become the techniques of trade, commerce, and profession.
Perhaps the reason for white collar crimes being carried on unabated is that these crimes are committed generally by influential persons who are shrewd enough to resist the efforts of law enforcement against them. White collar offenses may either be cognizable or non-cognizable in nature depending on the nature of crime.