IGNORANTIA FACTI EXCUSAT – IGNORANTIA JURIS NON EXCUSAT

• The Latin maxim “ignorantia facti excusat” means ignorance of fact is an excuse and the maxim “ignorantia juris non excusat” means ignorance of law is no excuse.

• The maxim is often cited simply as Ignorantia legis [or juris] neminem excusat.

• This legal principle basically means that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because one was unaware of its content. But a person will exclude from a criminal and a civil liability when they are ignorant of the existence of the relevant fact or commit a wrongful act which he neither could foresee nor intended the unlawful consequences.

• Drug Inspector vs Mani Maran (Cri. App. No. 1493 of 2018) : When the concerned drug inspector inspected the chemist shop of Mani Maran on December 17, 2008, it was found that the shop was running without a valid drug license required under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Consequently, the shop was seized and a charge sheet under the Act was filed by the inspector. The accused in his arguments said that he was not informed by the previous owner of this rule and he was not aware of the act. But The Supreme Court found the accused guilty and said ignorance of fact might be a strong defense but one can not plead ignorance of law as an excuse.


Credit: KIRAN DHAIYA

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