The section requires that the offender must commit mischief either by fire or by any explosive substance. There must be an intention on his part to cause, or he must have knowledge that he is thereby likely to cause, damage to property worth one hundred rupees or more, or where the property is agricultural produce it must be worth ten rupees or more. The expression ‘explosive substance’ has been defined in section 2, Explosive Substances Act, 1908 as including any material for making any explosive substance, and also any apparatus, machine, implement or material used, or intended to be used, or adopted for causing, or aiding in causing, any explosion in or with any explosive substance and also any part of any such apparatus, machine or implement. It is a serious offence as is clear from the quantum of penalty prescribed.
Where the accused collected a heap of rubbish in his field and set it on fire, but the wind carried the flames to a protected forest nearby causing some part of the forest to burn, it was held that in the absence of the requisite mental element the act could not be a mischief and thus this section was not attracted.
The offence under this section is cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by magistrate of the first class.