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Kamlesh Kumar 28

Corporations today exist as significant actors in nearly every domain of individual, social and
political action. This observation seeks to reconnoiter the criminal liability of corporations in
India, particularly concerning itself with the verdict of the Supreme Court in Iridium India
Telecom v.Motorola Inc. A research is also undertaken of the locus of law on corporate criminal
liability in India and the UK, so as to locate the observation in the framework of the existing
principles in this developing area of legal study. The observation critically examines the Courts
verdict at length, with a brief argument on the facets of the matter that were not settled and the
questions that persist to be answered by the court where the problem is finally decided on merits.

Across the world, the locus of law with respect to corporate criminal liability has been hidden in
inconsistency, speculation and controversy.1 With the growing role of big multinational
corporations in the global economy today and the developing stature of India as an ideal global
investment target, the nature and scope of corporate criminal liability in India positively assumes
a unique importance.

Corporate criminal liability report to importance in Indian legal spheres after the Bhopal gas leak
tragedy in 1984.2 The necessity for effective enactments to bring the culprits of the tragedy to

See e.g., Pamela Bucy, Corporate Ethos: A Standard for Imposing Corporate Criminal Liability, 75 MINN. L.
REV. 1095 (1991) (the corporate ethos standard of liability as representing corporate mens rea); Hall, Corporate
Criminal Liability, AM. CRIM. L. REV.549 (1998) (analysing the elements of corporate criminal liability and
discussing the use of corporate compliance programs to limit liability);
Upendra Baxi & Amita Dhanda, Valiant Victims And Lethal Litigation: The Bhopal Case(1990).

book dawned with realization that the provisions of the era old Indian Penal Code,3 were sadly
inadequate to solve the nature of offences committed by big business corporations.

The last two decades have experienced the Indian legal profession viciously woken up to the fast
developing reality of globalization, the effects of which were just too phenomenal to overlook.
New fields of law, which were previously unknown or meted out with a well-known stepmotherly treatment have since attained an extraordinary place in the profession. Intellectual
Property Rights Law, Antitrust law and Alternative Dispute Resolution are the most evident
examples of the development of such new fields of interest. Corporate criminal liability too
discovers a place among these disciplines, with a growing number of corporations discovering
themselves on the mistaken side of the Indian criminal law. The instant case, therefore, must be
studied in the context of these modifications in the current legal system.

The major issue addressed in this project is the legal locus of corporations in the criminal law of
our country, argued in the context of the decision in Iridium India Telecom Ltd. v. Motorola
Incorporated.4 The entire research is in four parts excluding conclusion. While Part I aids as a
statement of the point of law as it been prior to the judgment; Part II discourses the context of the
case and its holding and Part III analytically analyses the legal and rational tenability of the
judgment. Part IV studies the several questions left unanswered by Iridium. The conclusion
encapsulates the whole issue, briefly arguing the consequences of the judgment and putting
forward suggestions for the futurity of the notion of corporate criminal liability.


The Indian courts time and again turn to the deepness of the common law to fill spaces in
newfangled, developing or emerging fields, tort, the law of contract and taxation being just few
models of this development. It is therefore not astonishing that Justice Nijjar spun to the time
tried interpretations of English law in determining the present matter. It would be the most
unsuitable, therefore, to carry on with the analysis of a landmark case on the matter of corporate


No. 45 of 1860 [hereinafter the Code].

(2010) 160 CompCas 147 (SC) [hereinafter Iridium].

criminal liability without first conducting a brief study of the growth of common law in this area
and the parallel growths in Indian law.

1.1.The Position of English Law

The current Indian law on the matter being significantly influenced by growths in English law,
the historical progress of the ascription of mens rea to corporations in English law makes for
exciting study even to a person doing a study of the Indian corporate criminal liability regime
without help.5

At first, a corporate was treated independently, different in its existence from its titleholders or
shareholders,6 but with the track of time and the growth in events carried out by companies,
courts in maximum jurisdictions took to what is usually referred to as piercing the corporate
veil notion.7

The first important case on ascription of corporate accountability was DPP v. Kent and Sussex
Contractors Ltd.,8 in which it was said that a company recognized with those persons who are its
directing mind and will9. Now referred to as the identification principle, this design received
acceptance instantly,10 and was further candied by Lord Denning in H.L. Bolton Co. Ltd. v. T.J.
Graham & Sons,11 where he equated a corporation to a human body, equating the directors and

ANDREW ASHWORTH, PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LAW 117 (5th ed., 2006) (1991) [hereinafter
Salomon v. A Salomon & Co Ltd., (1897) AC 22 (The owner of a company was allowed to claim sums due to him
as a debenture holder before the outside creditors of the company were paid).
See, Jones v. Lipman, (1962) 1 WLR 832; Booth v. Bunce, 33 N.Y. 139 (1865); Fairfield County Turrnpike Co.
v. Thorp, 13 Conn. 173, 179 (1839); U.S. v. Milwaukee Refrigerator Transit Co., 142 F. 247 (C.C.E.D. Wisc.
1905); I.M. Wormser, Piercing the Veil of Corporate Entity, 12 COLUM. L. REV. (1912); J Dewey, The Historic
Background of Corporate Legal Personalit, 35 YALE L. J. (1926).
(1944) KB 146.
The case concerned two offences, making a statement known to be false and using a false document with intent to
deceive. Viscount Caldecote CJ held the company liable on both counts, laying down what is today known as the
Identification Principle.
The principle was adopted and used by the courts that very year in two cases: ICR Haulage Ltd., (1944) KB 551;
Moore v. I Bresler Ltd., (1944) 2 All ER 515.
(1956) 3 All ER 624. A difficulty with this exposition was that companies could now escape sanctions on the
ground that single human component of the company was responsible for forming the mens reanecessary to found a
criminal prosecution.

executives to the brain of the corporation and thereby permitting credit. In Tesco Supermarkets
v. Nattrass,12 the House of Lords further accepted this tactic.

Lately, this principle was further practiced in Meridian Global Funds Management Asia Ltd. v.
Securities Commission13, where the Privy Council decided that ...courts should be ready to go
beyond the persons who signify the directing mind and will of a corporation. Lord Hoffman
specified that the court should investigate as to whose action (or state of mind) was for this
purpose anticipated to count as the action of the corporation, uttering that such analysis would be
contingent from case-to-case on the legislative context.14

1.2.The Position of Indian Law

The position of law in India, though, has been far more vague and uncertain. Most Indian
legislations precisely take in references to companies in definitions of personality.15 The debate
neighboring the liability of corporations in crimes needing compulsory imprisonment as a
penalty was discoursed by the Law Commission of India16 and it proposed an amendment to the
Code to permit the trial of corporations for such crimes. To that conclusion, the Indian Penal
Code (Amendment) Bill, 1972 was presented, asserting to add Section 72(1)(a) and make
imposition of fine the only penalty for corporations in the abovementioned cases. Though, the
bill failed and was never re-introduced.

Today Indian courts recognize corporate criminal liability, but with the twin arrangement that:
first, few acts because of their nature cannot be committed by a company, such as murder, rape,
etc. and next, corporal punishment cannot be executed on the company but the company could be


(1972) AC 153 (In this case a corporation was held liable for selling goods at a higher price than indicated, in
violation of the Trade Descriptions Act, 1968).
(1995) 2 AC 500 (In this case employees of a company acting within the scope of their authority, but unknown to
the directors, used company funds to acquire some shares. The question was whether the company knew, or ought to
have known that it had acquired those shares).
Meridian Global Funds Management Asia Ltd. v. Securities Commission, (1995) 2 AC 500.
See, s. 3(42), General Clauses Act (No. 10 of 1897); s. 2(31) (iii), Income Tax Act (No. 43 of 1961); s.2(4),
Foreign Exchange Management Act (No. 42 of 1999); s. 2(1), Competition Act, 2002 (No. 12 of 2003); s. 2(s),
Prevention of Money Laundering Act (No. 15 of 2003); s.2(49), Indian Electricity Act, (No. 36 of 2003).

held liable by imposition of fine17. In general, a company is in the same locus in relation to
criminal liability as a Human being and may be punished in common law for legislative offences,
comprising those needing mens rea.18 However, Glanville Williams adds:

A corporation can only perform through natural person and a person who commits a crime on
account of or for the profit of a corporation will be accountable for that crime himself. The
significance of incorporation is that it holds the corporation itself responsible in certain
situations, as well as the persons.19

The fundamental issue of debate is that a juristic person cannot simply be qualified with mens
rea, needed as an important element of most criminal acts.20 Moreover, even once such state of
mind is attributed to a company, in cases where punishment for the crimes demand compulsory
imprisonment, the juncture of condemning creates a new dilemma for the courts.21 As the second
of these two concerns has been decisively established by the Supreme Court previously,22 this
dictum pursues to address the first concern in the light of the current pronouncement in Iridium.


The actual ground germane to dispute was that Iridium India Ltd., along with few other public
institutions, was convinced into making investments to the jingle of US $70 million in Iridium
Inc.23 , for their aspiring Iridium satellite communication plan. Grounded on Iridiums
exemplifications put forward in their Private Placement Memorandums (PPMs) of 1992 and
1995, as well as on exemplifications of Motorola Incorporated in its personal capability,
numerous investors financed around Rs. 600 crore in Iridium24. Later, the plan botched


Madras Port Trust v. A.M. Safiulla & Co., AIR 1965 Mad. 133.
State of Maharashtra v. Mayer Hans George, AIR 1965 SC 722; W.O. RUSSELL, RUSSELL ON CRIME17
(12thed. 2001); P.S.A. PILLAI, CRIMINAL LAW27 (10thed. 2009).
Assistant Commissioner v. Velliappa Textiles Ltd., (2003) 11 SCC 405.
Standard Charted Bank v. Directorate of Enforcement, (2005) 4 SCC 405 [hereinafter Standard Chartered].
Hereinafter Iridium. Iridium Inc. had an extremely complex ownership structure, but it would suffice to know that
in 1996 it had merged into Iridium LLC. Iridium LLC, a corporation incorporated in Delaware, was in turn a wholly
owned subsidiary of Motorola Incorporated.
Ibid., p.16.

commercially and Iridium Inc. filed for insolvency in the USA. The Iridium organization and its
properties were finally sold for 0.4% of their acquisition value.
As Motorola was the leading character behind the acts of Iridium25, and also regarded and
implemented the Iridium corporate model; known that Iridium was now penniless, the disputed
objection was focused towards Motorola. Also, entertainingly, most structures for the plan had
been bought from Motorola itself, for a completely paid consideration expected to be value
around $6.5 billion.26

The main accusation in the criminal complaint was that Iridium India, along with few fiscal
institutions, had financed their capitals on the strength of the exemplifications in the PPMs,
which had now arose as false, corrupt, deceitful and fraudulent27. It was purported that the
exemplifications were dishonest from the very start and the plan had, to the understanding of
Motorola, been unfeasible from beginning. To authenticate this, belief was positioned on the fact
that in the initial 1990s Motorola had themselves prohibited a proposal to finance the plan with
their own finance.28 Also, early market study that Motorola had commissioned exposed that the
organization would not be of ample use to the business travelers and purported target group.
Another study project had specified the plan to be possible only for oil rigs or in the desert.

On 3 October 2001, a criminal complaint was filed by Iridium India against Motorola under
Section 420 read with Section 120B of the Code.29 On 6 November 2001, there was a problem of
procedure by the Judicial Magistrate, Khadki, Pune. The accused went to the High Court under
Article 227 of the Constitution and Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and wanted
instant quashing of the complaint. The High Court acknowledged their proposals and quashed
the order issuing process in 2003.30 The case then came up before the Supreme Court on appeal.

It was Motorola who had conceived, directed and controlled Iridium and was at all material times Iridiums
dominant shareholder and at the time of the impugned transaction, Motorola continued to hold about 20% equity in
Iridium. It was also further alleged that most of the persons on the board of Iridium were either former or current
employees of Motorola who had been deputed or seconded to Iridium.
Iridium, supra note 4, p.6.
Ibid., p.11.
Ibid., p.13.
The offences made out therein are Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property (420) and Criminal
Conspiracy (120B), IPC.
Motorola Incorporated v. Union of India, CriLJ 1576.

Iridium India contended, at first, that the authority to quash a criminal complaint must be work
out very carefully and with plentiful caution, in accordance with the procedures stated in State
of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal.31 It was also debated, on the strength of many case laws, that the High
Court could only regard the complaint as a whole and not investigate into the facts of the case.32

Motorola, on the other hand, stayed compliant, arguing that the whole plan was and is a
technological achievement, quoting its usage in international aerospace platforms and the
defence sectors of different nations.33 It further contended that even if it was believed that the
plan was not fruitful, this datum alone was wholly inadequate to institute that it had any deceitful
or falsified intention. Lastly, it was argued that the 1992 PPM consisted all the essential
information, comprising a list of hazard factors. Since guesstimates in the PPM were grounded
on future expectations, the mere non-realization of these could not institute mens rea. Also, the
financiers were proficient institutions guided by their own specialists and it could not be
supposed that their choice was grounded purely on PPMs intelligence.

Approaching to the fundamental issue of corporate criminal liability, it was contended that as
deceit was a crime punishable with compulsory imprisonment, it would be illogical to authorize
proceedings to go any further. Also, the suspected offence being one necessitating the certain
existence of mens rea, it could not be attributed to a corporation at all. In light of this, it was
contented that there could not be any criminal liability in such a case as the essential ingredients
of the crime of cheating were not and could not be made out in such a situation.

These arguments were rebutted grounded on the verdict of a Constitution Bench in Standard
Charted Bank,34 which held, although by a slender majority, that a company could be held liable
for an offence punishable with compulsory imprisonment. Numerous of the aforementioned
foreign cases were cited in back up of the suggestion that companies are competent of having
mens rea.

1992) Supp. (1) SCC 335.

Smt. Nagawwa v. Veeranna, (1976) 3 SCC 736; Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Ram Kishan Rohtagi, (1983) 1
SCC 1; Dhanalakshmi v. R .Prasanna Kumar, 1990 (Supp) SCC 686.
Iridium, supra note 4, p.29.
2005) 4 SCC 50.

The Supreme Court punctually considered the opinions on the powers of the High Court under
Section 482 of the CrPC and only restated the well-established decree that such power was to be
exercised with great care and only in exceptional situations. It then concisely summarized the
now recognized position about the liability of companies in crimes providing for a compulsory
term of imprisonment before going on to argue at stretch the issue of corporate criminal liability
in wrongdoings involving mens rea.

About the issue of proceeding in contradiction of a company in wrongdoings necessitating

compulsory imprisonment, the Court set aside the respondents claims, observing its
pronouncement in Standard Chartered35 and agreeing in toto with the majority ruling in that
case. Notably, the Court declined to entertain arguments pursuing to distinguish that judgment
and other similar decisions36 on the ground that it concerned to special rule, thereby lengthening
the ratio laid down in Standard Chartered to all crimes.

In seeing the question as to whether a juridical person could be held liable for offences
containing mens rea, the Court observed that the matters involved are of substantial importance
to the parties in particular, and the world of trade and commerce in general37 and consequently
went on to examine the position of law on the matter in numerous other nations.38 On
contemplation of these cases, the court reached the conclusion that the universally established
position was that companies could be held liable for wrongdoings necessitating mens rea.39
While supplementing to its judgment the requirement that the matter was to be decided on facts
only by the appropriate lower court, the Court however observed:


2005) 4 SCC 405.

Kalpnath Rai v. State, (1997) 8 SCC 732; Zee Ltd. v. Sahara India Co. Corporation Ltd., (2001) 1 CALLT
Iridium, supra note 4, p.44.
New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Co. v. United States, (53 L Ed 613); DPP v. Kent and Sussex
Contractors Ltd., (1944) 1 All ER 119; H.L.Bolton (Engg.) Co. Ltd. v. T.J. Graham & Sons, (1956) 3 All ER 624;
Tesco Supermarkets Ltd. v. Nattrass (1971) All ER 127; The Director, Central Railway Company of Venezuela v.
Joseph Kisch (1867) 15 WR 821; Lennards Carrying Co. Ltd. v. Asiatic Petroleum Co. Ltd., () AC 705.
Iridium, supra note 4, p.40.

From the above it becomes obvious that a company is almost in the similar position as any
person and may be punished of common law as well as legislative offences including those
necessitating mens rea. The criminal liability of a company would uprise when a crime is
committed in relation to the commerce of the company by an individual or body of individuals in
control of its matters. In such situations, it would be essential to establish that the degree and
control of an individual or body of individuals is so strong that a company may be believed to
think and perform through an individual or the body of individuals .40
In doing so, the court has efficiently introduced the identification principle, an invention of the
common law, into the Indian legislation on corporate criminal liability.

Solely speaking, these interpretations/explanations would establish little more than obiter, it
would be but natural for later pronouncements to pay attention to the Courts declaration of the
rule on the matter, therefore making the credentials principle almost indeed the established rule
on the matter.
In conclusion, the court explicitly critiqued the Bombay High Courts deliberation of the subject
in extenso on facts,41 going on to permit the appeal and dismiss the order of the Bombay High
Court, thereby permitting further proceedings and investigation.


The current judgment is the first key judgment in the arena of corporate criminal liability
subsequently the Standard Chartered case. It has been greeted by utmost as a much required
measure in guaranteeing the effective trial and conviction of companies. However, as the matter
was in the nature of an appeal to quash the dispute of process, it was not decisively decided on
facts, consequently leaving numerous very interesting questions of law open.


Ibid., p.38.
Ibid., p.45

Motorolas crucial rebuttal was that it had incorporated a comprehensive chapter on hazard
factors in its PPM, thus shielding itself against claims of fraud at a future time. It had also
appealed that since Iridium India was a big institutional financier, it had at its administration its
own experts and specialists, therefore preventing their claim of cheat and dishonesty.42 The
purpose as to where the courts make the line between a false business choice by one party and
dishonesty by the other would definitely encompass complex problems of both criminal and
corporate law.
Moreover, the court stated in its judgment that the Indian position is now nearly the similar as
the Canadian position.43 The exclusion to the rule of attribution in Canada is when the guiding
mind is himself deceiving the business, in which incident liability cannot be affiliated to the
company.44 Whether or not this exclusion can be made valid in India is an arguable proposal,
since the court has not explicitly deliberated any such exception to the rule of attribution, it
having no actual comportment on the matter at hand.

Lastly, the accurate point of the rule attribution is yet to be established in Indian law. The present
development of merely combining the acts and omissions of two or more natural individuals
performing for the company could have bizarre outcomes, as seen in United States v. Bank of
New England.45 Also, it has been realized that very frequently, companies gain a momentum and
dynamic of their own which provisionally excels the activities of their officers.46 In these
circumstances, the simple collective rule of attribution would not serve in awarding liability.

Corporate criminal liability is a new and developing field of law in India and the propagation of
companies at all stages of financial activity in the nation aptitudes that the Iridium verdict is
extreme from the last word on the matter. It can only be wished that a court of law that ultimately
does hear the issue on merits decisively decides the numerous questions that the Supreme Court
has, in its intelligence, did leave open for determination.

Ibid., p.19
Ibid., p.38.
R. v. Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., (1985) 1 SCR 662; Stephens v. Stone Rolls Ltd. (2009) UKHL 39.
821 F.2d 844 (1987) (In this case it was a statutory requirement for the bank to report fortnightly all transactions
above $10,000. A customer withdrew in excess of that amount by simultaneously presenting cheques of lesser
amounts to a single bank teller. court held the bank liable, applying the rule of aggregation.).
ASHWORTH, CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 5, at 118.


Those who have started a study of a judicial pronouncement will affirm to the validity of the
suggestion that in such analysis, what a Court leaves unsaid is over and over again just as
significant as what it states in its decision. In that framework, an important error on the part of
the Supreme Court was the deficiency of the reference to the Privy Councils reasonably recent
pronouncement in Meridian Global Funds Management, Asia v. Securities Commission.47 That
pronouncement is broadly accepted as an important judgment on the subject of attributing mens
rea to organizations and is considered as locus classicus in maximum common law jurisdictions.
The ruling also botched to note the Kerala High Courts decision in Reji Michael v. M/s. Vertex
Securities Ltd.48 where it had been said that all juristic persons come inside the definition of
person for the determination of Section 415 of the Code.

While concluding, the court specified that corporations could be held liable for crimes
necessitating mens rea, regardless of whether they were legislative or common law offences.49
Since in the Indian framework offences must be identified by statute,50 the issue of common law
offences does not grow and hence, such a reference, while significant in English law, could be
ambiguous in the Indian framework.

The question of great significance that any court of law that decides the issue on merits would
have to address with concerns the standard of evidence that would be necessary to prove
effectively the use of dishonest or fraudulent means by another party in a private commercial
dealing. In dealings involving problem of securities that are scheduled or proposed to be
scheduled on a known stock exchange, the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act51 sets an
express bar. However, the nature of the problem of securities in this situation being a private
engagement, the determination of the standard of proof requisite to accuse a PPM as dishonest
would be a landmark as far as corporate criminal liability in India is concerned.

1995) 2 AC 500.
1999 CrLJ 3787 (Ker.).
Iridium, supra note 4, p.38.
No. 15 of 1992.

Furthermore, the ratio laid down in these cases definitely institutes an intention that the
punishment for offences by a company must be imposed as fine alone. This finicky tactic to
addressing the malaise of corporate offence has been rigorously criticized by academics in the
field.52 Ashworth points out the misconception in this situation, observing that:

A corporation can hardly be sentenced...reasonable penalties can be swallowed up as commerce

overheads and swingeing penalties may have such severe side effects on the service and living of
innocent employees, so as to provide them unbefitting.53

However, numbers of academics have recommended alternative ways of punishing corporations

and safeguarding justice for victims of corporate offence. These comprise imaginative solutions
such as the compulsory community service,54 reactive fault theory,55 in what Sullivan terms as
expressing corporate guilt56, corporate probation57 and terrible punitive damages58.

The disputes in Iridium include numerous facets of corporate criminality and corporate
personalities which, though lectured by the court, are still distant from established. A correctly
final and obligatory decision of these problems shall be found only after the trial concludes and
consequent petitions lapse. It can only be expected that all the several aspects of the concerned
dispute are appropriately addressed by the courts.


See Michael Jefferson, Corporate Criminal Liability: The Problem of Sanctions, 65 J. CRIM. L.235 (2001)
(discussing inter alia, the merits and demerits of fines as the only sanction for corporate crime); John T. Byam,
Comment, The Economic Inefficiency of Corporate Criminal Liability, 73 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY582
(1982) (arguing that corporate criminal liability is inefficient from the perspective of deterrence); RICHARD A.
ASHWORTH, CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 5, at 121.
Fisse, Community Service as a Sanction against Corporations, WISC. L.R. 970 (1981).
as a post-hoc phenomenon, this approach requires action to be taken by the corporation itself and then mandates a
subsequent assessment by the courts, of the adequacy of measures taken by the company.
GR Sullivan, Expressing Corporate Guilt, 15 OXFORD JLS 281 (1995).
Gruner, Preventive Fault and Corporate Criminal Liability: Transforming Corporate Organizations into Private
Policing Entities,16 A.J. CRIM. R16 (1988); Gobert, Corporate CriminalityPenal Sanctions and Beyond,2 WEB.
J.C.L.1 (1998).
Buries, The Criminal Liability of Corporations, 141 N.L.J. 609 (1991). However, it is submitted that in light of
very high damages companies may be less willing to settle quickly than they otherwise would be and accordingly,
the compensation process would be dragged on even longer than it now is.

In 2002, when Donald Rumsfeld discussed 'known knowns' and 'known unknowns', the context
was for sure inside and out different.59 However, what can be gathered from his statement and
what is helpful to us in the present connection is the importance of an opportunity. That
corporate criminal liability is another new field of law and that the Indian legal will soon need to
make proper plans as respects culpability, attribution and proof in such cases are certain truths.
What stays to be seen, be that as it may, is the thing that judiciary makes of such prospect. It can
only be wished that a final pronouncement on merits decreases the different issues raised here to
known knowns and illuminates the position of law on the subject decisively.

While the fundamental position of law with respect to corporate criminal liabilty appears to have
been settled by the Supreme Court's recent judgments, a few inquiries regarding the legitimacy
and outcomes of such a principle of corporate criminal liability hold on all things considered. For
one, there are the individuals who feel that the court has gone too far in perusing down the
compulsory imprisonment necessity from different statutes, opining this was an undertaking to
be performed by the legislature.60 However, as talked about over, an administration of corporate
criminal liability that spins around fines as a sole cure has a few antagonistic outcomes.
The attribution of mens rea to companies speaks to a fresh start as far as jurisprudence of
corporate liability in India is concerned. The Supreme Court has guaranteed that organizations
can no more set up the wobbly shield of lack of identity to criminal allegations including mens
rea, connecting the apparently impossible to miss escape clause to our criminal law. In the wake
of the Bhopal gas disaster, a few proposition of new enactment handling corporate liability were
proposed, none of which ever saw the light of day. It is in this manner more excellent that the
Supreme Court, painted as the antagonist of equity in the fallout of the Bhopal catastrophe, has
advanced this dynamic elucidation to the Code and thus gave a solid obstruction to corporate


The controversial statement, made at a press briefing on February 12, 2002, was in the context of the absence of
evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups.
See Standard Chartered, supra note 23 (per B.N.SRIKRISHNA J., dissenting).