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Starting with the basics, googling the meaning of crime, the search results are- something that is illegal and for which people are punished. Further, deep diving into the meaning of crime; as defined by the Indian Penal Code, 1860- offence is committed when an act that is forbidden by law


Starting with the basics, googling the meaning of crime, the search results are- something that is illegal and for which people are punished. Further, deep diving into the meaning of crime; as defined by the Indian Penal Code, 1860- offence[1] is committed when an act that is forbidden by law is voluntarily done by a person. The essential act constitutes the guilty act and a guilty mind. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) is the principal code that defines crimes and provides punishment whereas The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provides the procedures for the punishment under the penal laws[2]. The offences are categorized as cognizable and non-cognizable, bailable, non-bailable, offences against the human body, State and terrorism, public tranquillity and the list goes on.

In recent times, new terminologies have emerged that are used to describe various crimes. Different crimes are described by different shades of color for various working groups or socio-economic classes. For example, white collared crime, black collared crime, green collared crime, and so on. These words are not legal rather these terms are used in common parlance for better understanding. It is more focused on conceptual apprehension. From the perspective of India, the meaning of these terminologies shall be discussed further.

White Collared Crime

The term ‘white collared crime’ was coined by Edwin H. Sutherland.[3] It means an illegal act committed by a person of the higher socio-economic class of society[4], usually people in power such as government officials, politicians, high net-worth individuals, and businessmen who take advantage of their position, dominance, and money. These crimes are driven by financial motives and are non-violent in nature. The common types of crimes under this category are tax evasion, forgery, money laundering, insider trading, etc. Such crimes are increasing in India because of various reasons such as inequality in society, the disparity in income distribution, corruption in the system, and media houses’ independency being controlled so that no one can voice against such crimes.

Red Collared Crime

 The term ‘red collared crime’ was coined by Frank S. Perri[5], Red-collar crime is an understudied phenomenon that occurs when white-collar crime turns into physical violence and/or death.[6] To avoid disciplinary action or to save the reputation when either the accused or the other person tries to silence the victim or the public at large using undue influence or coercion so that the action of the wrongdoer is not disclosed. As red resembles blood, the crimes under this category consist of murder, assault, etc.

 This type of crime occurs when a white collared crime is more serious or heinous. In India, due to bribes and influence such crimes are either not reported or if reported, are settled through means of money or murder.

Orange Collared Crime

This type of crime takes place in the labour industry.[7] The crimes may be petty like tampering with billings, intentional misstatements of the financial report, non-existent employees on payroll, or crimes to a greater extent like robbery and burglary.

The orange colour resembles the uniform of manual labour and so it is named as an orange collared crime. India is a populated country and more of a labor-intensive industry, people accept work in such conditions and earn a little without voicing against such crimes.

Pink Collared Crime

This term was coined by Kathleen Daly[8] in one of her articles. When crimes are done by lower to middle-level working groups[9]. Unlike pink resembles women, such crime is not confined to women only rather is gender neutral. The common type of offences under this category is theft from the office, embezzlement, fraud, harassment at the workplace, and sexual assault.

Due to male dominance and the patriarchal system in the country, pink collared crimes are increasing day by day.

Blue Collared Crime

The ‘blue collared crime’ is related to lower economic classes of society[10]. It is a contradiction to ‘white-collared crime’. This category includes violent acts like murder, and sexual assault and non-violent acts like gambling, theft, drugs, prostitution, etc.

The main reasons are lack of education and awareness and deprivation of monetary and non-monetary means to satisfy one’s desires. These crimes are executed with proper planning and usually in response to oppression from white collared crime doers.

Grey Collared Crime

This term is not commonly used and is related to technology. In today’s era, the world of digitalization and the shift of the corporate world from offline to an online mode such crimes are increasing day by day. Cyber crimes generally involve the motive of financial benefit by stealing sensitive financial information and blackmailing[11].

It is not limited to financial data but includes infringement of individuals’ privacy using hacking, phishing, etc. Though a lot of emphasis is given to protecting against such crimes is a lack of awareness and resources to combat them.

Green Collared Crime

As green resembles nature, ‘green-collared crimes’ are crimes against the environment[12]. The common types include environmental pollution, forgery in environmental laws, hazardous waste emissions in the air, water, etc.

Even after a lot of efforts by the government and various schemes and initiatives, such crimes are increasing, and the reason is people do not give much heed to such issues as it does not involve any financial loss. To reduce this, stricter environmental laws must be implemented and compliances regarding the environment shall be strictly adhered to.

Black Collared Crime

This term is used to refer to illegal acts committed by religious leaders or people who are looked upon with faith in religious sentiments. The term ‘black collared crime’ is used more in foreign nations than in India. For example, when a priest commits a crime, it is called a black-collar crime[13]. It may be for financial gains or non-financial motives such as sexual assault, molestation, etc.


These are some popular colored-collared crimes for conceptual understanding. Thus, each shade of the color represents a different crime. White-collared crime is a more common term compared to any other term. These terms are used by laymen and aren’t legally defined anywhere. On a lighter note, It is pertinent to note that in terms of crimes, we aren’t confined to black and white but expanded the horizons to the color palette.

Author(s) Name: Andlib Khan (ICSI)


[1] Indian Penal Code, 1860, § 40, No.45, Acts of Parliament, 1860 (India).

[2] BYJUS, (last visited Apr. 15, 2023).

[3] Edwin H. Sutherland, White-Collar Criminality, 5 AMRCN. SOCIO. R. 1-12 (1940),

[4] Kasuta Manas, Concept of White Collar Crime, LEGAL SERVICES INDIA (Apr. 15, 2023, 09:02 PM),

[5] Frank S. Perri, Red Collar Crime, 8 INT’L J. PSYCH. STDS. 1 (2016),

[6] Kortni MacDonald, Red-Collor Crime:The Field Re-Examined, CITY UNIV of NY, (2022),

[7] What is the difference between white collar crime and other types of offenses, ROLANDO CANTU ATTORNEY (Apr. 15, 2023, 9:57 PM),

[8] Kathleen Daly, Gender and varieties of white-collar crime, 27 CRIMINOLOGY 769-794 (1989),

[9] FORBES, (last visited Apr. 15, 2023).

[10] Id.

[11]  Neeraj Soni, Grey- Collar Crimes in Cyberspace, CYBER PEACE FOUNDATION (Apr. 15, 2023, 13:08 PM)

[12] Rupali Baghel, Green Collar Crimes – A Crime against Environment and Wildlife, 4 INT’L J. of LAW, MNGMNT & HMNTS 1462-1476 (2021),

[13] Samantha Larson, The Different Shades of Collared Crime, SOMETHING ABOUT ORANGE, (Apr. 15, 2023, 10:02 PM)