Section 184 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

This section punishes intentional obstruction in the sale of property offered for sale by authority of a public servant. It states that whoever obstructs intentionally any sale of such property as has been offered for sale by the lawful authority of any public servant, as such public servant, shall be punished with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to one month, or extending up to five hundred rupees, or with both.

The prosecution has to prove that the obstruction on the part of the accused has been intentional. It is also necessary to establish that the public servant has the authority under law to put the property in question for sale in his capacity as such public servant. In the absence of either of these requirements conviction under this section cannot be maintained.

The word ‘obstructs’ in the section should not have a limited interpretation in the sense of a physical obstruction only. The obstruction is perhaps not intended towards a public servant but towards proceedings being conducted by him, and obstruction of proceedings is possible by physical as well as by other ways. The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by presidency magistrate or magistrate of the first or second class.