Section 427 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!
The prosecution must prove that the loss or damage caused as a result of the mischief committed by the accused amounted to fifty rupees or more. The penalty is sterner than that provided in section 426. To the question as to how should the loss or damage be assessed, it has been suggested that only the actual loss or damage should be taken into account and if the same is of fifty rupees or upwards this section does apply; damage in consequence of such loss cannot be counted to make it fifty rupees or upwards.
The amount of fifty rupees is too meagre an amount in the present day and this in effect means that the normal cases of mischief have become punishable under this section and not under section 426, and this indirectly means that mischief today has become more severe than when the Code was enacted.
Where the complainant who was not entitled to a piece of land cultivated it and the accused drove his cattle into it and destroyed the crop, this section was held to apply. Where the house of the complainant had encroached into the land of the accused, and the accused demolished the encroached portion and took away the materials under the bona fide belief that the encroached portion belonged to them, it could not be held to be theft because of the absence of dishonest intention and it could not be mischief either in the absence of the requisite intention or knowledge.
The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable when the only loss or damage caused is loss or damage to a private person, and is triable by any magistrate.