THEFT

DEFINITION

Theft is defined under Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as “Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft”.

Theft means the dishonest removal of moveable property ‘out of the possession of any person’ without his consent. Thus the removal of the moveable property should be done dishonestly and without the consent of the owner. The offence is cognizable, non-bailable, and triable by any Magistrate.

The punishment for committing theft in the Indian Penal Code is mentioned under Section 379 of the Code as whoever commits theft shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

INGREDIENTS OF THEFT

DISHONEST INTENTION :

Dishonest Intention is the base of the theft. The petitioner must prove that a thing was taken away with the dishonest intention i.e. to cause wrongful gain or wrongful loss to any person.

MOVABLE PROPERTY :

Movable property is defined in section 22 of IPC as including ‘corporeal property of every description, except land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which is attached to the earth’.

BE TAKEN AWAY OUT OF THE POSSESSION OF ANOTHER PERSON :

A movable thing is said to be in the possession of a person where he is so situated with respect to it that he has the power to deal with it as owner to the exclusion of all other persons, and when the circumstances are such that he may be presumed to intend to do so in case of need. The property must be in the possession of another person from where it is removed. There is no theft of wild animals, birds or fish while at a large but there is a theft of tamed animals.

IT SHOULD BE TAKEN WITHOUT CONSENT OF THAT PERSON :

The consent may be express or implied and may be given either of the person in possession, or by any person having for that purpose express or implied authority.

MOVES THAT PROPERTY :

The offence of theft is completed when there is a dishonest moving of the property, even though the property is not detached from that to which it is secured. There must be moving of the property with an intention to take it.

CASE LAWS-

PYARELAL BHARGAVA V. STATE, 1963

In this case, a government employee took a file from the government office, presented it to someone, and brought it back to the office after two days. It was held that permanent taking of the property is not required, even a temporary movement of the property with dishonest intention is enough and thus this was theft.

STATE (NCT OF DELHI) V. SANJAY

In this case, it was held that the dishonest removing of sand, gravel and other minerals from the river, which is the property of the State, out of the State’s possession without the consent, constitute an offence of theft.

Aishwarya Says:

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