Offences against property Chapter – 17 of IPC Of Theft

Offences against property

Section 378 – 462 deals with property

Section 378 – 382 deals with theft

Of Theft

Section – 377. Theft.—whoever moves movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent intending to take dishonestly, it is said to commit theft.

*Movable  Property Sec. 22.-

All corporeal propperties (the property which is tangible by sensorgans, Like – Car, Tree, Scooter, metal etc.) are movable property except

  • Land
  • Things attached to land or things permanentaly fastened to anything which is attached to land.

Theft can only be of movable property. If Immovable prop. is to be stolen then convert into movable property firstly. ( Immovable – Movable – Theft)

As soon as thing is moved the offence gets  completed. There is not necessary that thing must be taken.

*Dishonestly Sec. 24.-

Whoever does an act with the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person, is called dishonestly.

Dishonest intention has to be proved.

*Out of the possession- Here word used possession is not ownership. Owner himself can do theft of his own property.

Explanation 1.Whenever any thing is attached to the earth, there cannot be theft because it is not movable property but as soon as it is severed from the earth it has been movable property able to be theft.

Explanation 2.A moving  may be a theft effected by the same act which effects the severance.

Explanation 3.Whoever removes any obstacle from thing by which it was prevented    or seperated from any other thing, then as soon as obstacle is removed the offence gets completed.

Explanation 4.whenever any person moves any animal in consequence of the motion everything  which is moved by that animal, is said to commit theft.  (Bullock + cart)

Explanation 5.The consent mentioned in the definition may be express or implied and may be given by the person in possession.

Illustrations

  • A cuts down a tree on Z’s ground, with the intention of dishonestly taking the tree out of Z’s possession without Z’s consent. Here, as soon as A has severed the tree he has committed theft.
  • A puts a bait for dogs in his pocket, and thus induces Z’s dog to follow it. Here, if A’s intention be dishonestly to take the dog out of Z’s possession without Z’s consent, A has committed theft as soon as Z’s dog has begun to follow A.
  • A meets a bullock carrying a box of treasure. He drives the bullock in a certain direction, in order that he may dishonestly take the treasure. As soon as the bullock begins to move, A has committed theft of the treasure.
  • A being Z’s servant, and entrusted by Z with the care of Z’s plate, dishonestly runs away with the plate, without Z’s consent. A has committed theft.
  • Z, going on a journey, entrusts his plate to A, the keeper of a warehouse, till Z shall return. A carries the plate to a goldsmith and sells it. Here the plate was not in Z’s possession. It could not therefore be taken out of Z’s possession, and A has not committed theft, though he may have committed criminal breach of trust.
  • A finds a ring belonging to Z on a table in the house which Z occupies. Here the ring is in Z’s possession, and if A dishonestly removes it, A commits theft.
  • A finds a ring lying on the highroad, not in the possession of any person. A, by taking it, commits no theft, though he may commit criminal misappropriation of property.
  • A sees a ring belonging to Z lying on a table in Z’s house. Not venturing to misappropriate the ring immediately for fear of search and detection, A hides the ring in a place where it is highly improbable that it will ever be found by Z, with the

intention of taking the ring from the hiding place and selling it when the loss is forgotten. Here A, at the time of first moving the ring, commits theft.

  • A delivers his watch to Z, a jeweller, to be regulated. Z carries it to his shop. A, not owing to the jeweller any debt for which the jeweller might lawfully detain the watch as a security, enters the shop openly, takes his watch by force out of Z’s hand, and carries it away. Here A, though he may have committed criminal trespass and assault, has not committed theft, inasmuch as what he did was not done dishonestly.
  • If A owes money to Z for repairing the watch, and if Z retains the watch lawfully as a security for the debt, and A takes the watch out of Z’s possession, with the intention of depriving Z of the property as a security for his debt, he commits theft, inasmuch as he takes it dishonestly.
  • Again, if A, having pawned his watch to Z, takes it out of Z’s possession without Z’s consent, not having paid what he borrowed on the watch, he commits theft, though the watch is his own property inasmuch as he takes it dishonestly.
  • A takes an article belonging to Z out of Z’s possession without Z’s consent, with the intention of keeping it until he obtains money from Z as a reward for its restoration. Here A takes dishonestly; A has therefor committed theft.
  • A, being on friendly terms with Z, goes into Z’s library in Z’s absence, and takes away a book without Z’s express consent for the purpose merely of reading it, and with the intention of returning it. Here, it is probable that A may have conceived  that he had Z’s implied consent to use Z’s book. If this was A’s impression, A has not committed theft.
  • A asks charity from Z’s wife. She gives A money, food and clothes, which A knows to belong to Z her husband. Here it is probable that A may conceive that Z’s wife is authorised to give away alms. If this was A’s impression, A has not committed theft.
  • A is the paramour of Z’s wife. She gives a valuable property, which A knows to belong to her husband Z, and to be such property as she has not authority from Z to give. If A takes the property dishonestly, he commits theft.
  • A, in good faith, believing property belonging to Z to be A’s own property, takes that property out of B’s possession. Here, as A does not take dishonestly, he does not commit theft.

“Necessitas inducit privilegium quo ad jura privata” – In the offence of theft exception of necessity can not be taken.

There can not be theft of living or dead person (except bodies, or portions of ,mummies preserved in museums or scientific institutions) Case -Ramadhin,(1902) 25 All 129.

Idol is a movable property and can be the subject matter of theft. Case- ( Ahmed v State, AIR 1967 Raj 190

Section – 379. Punishment for theft.Whoever commits theft shall be punished with imprisonment for a term  which may extend to three years or fine or both. ( upto 3 yrs. / fine/ both)

Section – 380. Theft in dwelling house, etc.Whoever commits theft in any building, tent or vessel which is used as a human dwelling or used for the custody of property shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and fine. ( upto 7 yrs. + fine)

Section – 381. Theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master.Whenever any clerk or servant commits theft of any property  in the possession of his master or employer shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and fine.  ( upto 7 yrs. + fine)

Section – 382. Theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to the committing of the theft.Whoever commits theft after preparation made for causing death or hurt or restraint or fear of death or hurt or restraint to any person in order to the committing of such theft or in order to the effecting of his escape after the committing of such theft or in order to the retaining of property taken by such theft shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and fine. (10yrs. + fine)

Illustrations

  • A commits theft on property in Z’s possession; and while committing this theft, he has a loaded pistol under his garment, having provided this pistol for the purpose of hurting Z in case Z should resist. A has committed the offence defined in this section.
  • A picks Z’s pocket, having posted several of his companions near him, in order that they may restrain Z, if Z should perceive what is passing and should resist, or should attempt to apprehend A. A has committed the offence defined in this section.\

Offences against property IPC

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