Theft of sand is a cognizable offence.
If Mines and Mineral Development Act creates a bar to take action u/s 378 of IPC?
Definition of theft in sec 378 IPC:
378. Theft.—Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.
Merely because initiation of proceeding for commission of an offence under the MMDR Act on the basis of complaint cannot and shall not debar the police from taking action against persons for committing theft of sand and minerals in the manner mentioned above by exercising power under the Code of Criminal Procedure and submit a report before the Magistrate for taking cognizance against such person. In other words, in a case where there is a theft of sand and gravels from the Government land, the police can register a case, investigate the same and submit a final report under Section 173, Cr.P.C. before a Magistrate having jurisdiction for the purpose of taking cognizance as provided in Section 190 (1)(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
In the light of relevant provisions of the Act vis-à-vis the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Penal Code, we are of the definite opinion that the ingredients constituting the offence under the MMDR Act and the ingredients of dishonestly removing sand and gravel from the river beds without consent, which is the property of the State, is a distinct offence under the IPC. Hence, for the commission of offence under Section 378 IPC, on receipt of the police report, the Magistrate having jurisdiction can take cognizance of the said offence without awaiting the receipt of complaint that may be filed by the authorized officer for taking cognizance in respect of violation of various provisions of the MMRD Act.