Section 217 deals with the offence on the part of a public servant who disobeys direction of law with intent to save a person from punishment or property from forfeiture. It says that whoever in his capacity as a public servant with knowledge does not obey any direction of the law as to the way in which he must conduct himself as such public servant, with the intention thereby to save, or with the knowledge that it is likely that he will thereby save, any person from legal punishment, or subject him to lesser punishment than what he is liable, or with the abovementioned intention or knowledge thereby to save, any property from forfeiture or any charge to which it is liable by law, shall be punished with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to two years, or with fine, or with both.
The disobedience on the part of the public servant must be with knowledge of any direction of the law as to the way in which he has to conduct himself. The intention on his part must be to save any person from legal punishment, or any property from forfeiture or any charge to which it is liable by law. If there is no such intention, then there must be knowledge on the part of the public servant that he is likely to save any person from legal punishment, or any property from forfeiture or tiny charge to which it is liable by law.
The public servant charged under this section will still be liable although the intention on his part to save a person was founded on a mistaken belief as to that person’s liability to punishment. The dereliction of duty must be in discharge of the function of the public servant in his capacity of a public servant.
The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by any magistrate.