Section 183 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

This section makes offering of resistance to the taking of property by the lawful authority of a public servant a punishable offence. It says that where any property is being taken by the lawful authority of a public servant, whoever offers any resistance to such taking with the knowledge or having reason to believe that he is such public servant, shall be punished with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to six months, or with fine extending up to one thousand rupees, or with both.

The section requires that the public servant possesses lawful authority to take the property in question. If he acts without any authority, the resistance offered to his act does not amount to an offence under this section. It is also necessary for the section to apply that the person offering resistance either knows or has reason to believe that the other person is a public servant having lawful authority to act the way he is acting.

Where a bailiff is executing attachment of property under a warrant the duration of which has already expired, resistance to such an action is not an offence under this section. But if no period has been fixed for the execution of the attachment, any resistance to such action would attract liability under this section.

It has been held by the Supreme Court in Keshoram v. State that absence of a prior notice of seizure of cattle under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 for recovery of arrears in milk tax does not necessarily make seizing of cattle an unlawful act and consequently, using force against the municipal officers under the false presumption of a right of private defence of property does amount to offences under sections 353, 332 and 333 of the Code, and the accused would be guilty under section 183 of the Code as well if charged there under.

The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by any magistrate.