Mala in se

Mala in se

Literal Meaning

Bad in themselves.


In the legal system, mala in se refers to acts that are inherently wrong, or an act that is wrong in and of itself. Criminal acts are broadly classified into two i.e., mala in se and malum prohibitum. Criminal acts mala in se require no extra reasons to prove that they are wrong, or how wrong they are. These are the types of crime that clearly and discernably affect or cause harm to other people. These are the crimes that engender moral outrage.



Case References

Sunil Kumar Ghosh vs State of West Bengal & ors.: AIR 1970 Cal 384

The court held that old distinction between mala prohibita and mala in se has broken down because many acts which have been made punishable as an offence by statutes do not involve any moral turpitude:”In particular, nothing in the moral character of an act or omission can distinguish it from a civil wrong or make it a criminal offence. There are, for example, many breaches of statutory regulations and bye-laws which, because they are punishable in criminal proceedings, must be classed as criminal offences though they do not involve the slightest moral blame.

Buddha Pitai Vs. Sub-divisional Officer Malihabad and ors,AIR 1965 All. 382

The court held that the common law distinguished, between felony and misdemeanour or between crimes mala in se and mala prohibitas or between crimen falsi and infamous crimes. These classifications were objectionable and legislators drafting civil statutes that referred to criminal offences needed a classification less tenuous and employed the general term ‘crimes involving moral turpitude.’ It is not clear whether this established a new criterion or was merely a synthesis of previously recognized classifications.

Padmanabhan v. Badrinath , 35 Mad. 582

Court held that the partnership was illegal and mala in se.

Edited by Sree Ramya

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Shivani Rani
I am Shivani Rani from Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University,Aligarh pursuing BALLB(Hons.). Criminal law and personal laws of country attracts me the most. I like to read books mostly based on fictin and also like to watch suspense & thriller movies as well as crime thriller web series, in free time. I love to take part in moot court competitions as well as research study work. I am enthusiastic about exploring new places and listening music. I am kind of ambivert person i.e., not so introvert and not so extrovert.