CRIMINAL MISAPPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

INTRODUCTION

The offence of criminal misappropriation of property is an offence against property. In criminal misappropriation, criminal refers to something related to an act that is wrong or crime or something prohibited by law. And Misappropriation refers to the unfair taking of another person’s belongings for one’s own use. Thus, criminal misappropriation is the dishonest conversion of another’s property for one’s own use. The offence of criminal misappropriation of property is also known as dishonest misappropriation of property.

MEANING AND DEFINITION OF CRIMINAL MISAPPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY UNDER IPC

Section 403 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever maliciously or dishonestly misappropriates or converts to one’s own use any moveable property, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Meaning of essential words to understand the meaning of criminal misappropriation:

  • Malicious: It refers to having a wrong intention or an intention to cause harm.
  • Dishonest: The word dishonestly is defined under section 24 of the Indian Penal Code, which means something which is done with the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person and wrongful loss to another person.

Explanation 1: A dishonest misappropriation of property can be of temporary or permanent nature. Therefore, if a person commits criminal misappropriation of property for a time only, it amounts to the same offence as under section 403 of IPC.

Illustrations:

  1. Z takes property belonging to B out of B’s possession, in good faith, believing, at the time when he takes it, that the property belongs to himself. Z is not guilty of theft; but if Z, after discovering his mistake, dishonestly appropriates the property for his own use, he is guilty of an offence under this section 403 of IPC.
  2. Z, being on friendly terms with B, goes into B’s library in B’s absence, and takes away a book without B’s express consent. Here, if Z was under impression that he has B’s implied consent to take the book for the purpose of reading it, Z has not committed theft. But if Z afterward sells the book for his own benefit, he is guilty of an offence under this section of IPC.

Explanation 2: A person who finds the property, not in the possession of any other person, and takes such property for the purpose of protecting it for, or of restoring it to, the owner, does not take or misappropriate it dishonestly, and he is not guilty of an offence, but he is guilty of the offence defined in section 403 of IPC, if he appropriates it to his own use when he knows or has the means of discovering the owner, or before he has used reasonable mean to discover and give notice to the owner and has kept the property for a reasonable time to enable the owner to claim it.

Illustrations:

  1. Z finds a rupee on the high road, not knowing to whom the rupee belongs. Z picks up the rupee. Here Z has not committed the offence denied in this section.
  2. Z finds a cheque payable to the bearer. He can form no conjecture as to the person who has lost the cheque. But the name of the person, who has drawn the cheque, appears. Z knows that this person can direct him to the person in whose favor the cheque was drawn. Z appropriates the cheque without attempting to discover the owner. He is guilty of an offence under section 403 of IPC.

ESSENTIALS OF CRIMINAL MISAPPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY

  1. There must be a property that belongs to another person.
  2. There should be the presence of dishonest intention while committing offence.
  3. The person must misappropriate or convert another person’s belongings to one’s own use.
  1. The property must be of another person:

This essential of offence of criminal misappropriation of property means to say that the owner of the property should not come under the definition of ‘another person’. The said property must belong to its owner and have been dishonestly misappropriated by another person to satisfy his own purpose.

  • Dishonest intention:

In criminal misappropriation of property, the property must be misappropriated or converted with dishonest intention for one’s own use.

  • Conversion of the property:

The offence of criminal misappropriation of property is completed when the offender converts any property for his own use. The word ‘converts to his own use’ deals with the property in derogation of the right of the owner, as per Ramaswami Nadar v State of Madras (1957)[1].

PUNISHMENT FOR CRIMINAL MISAPPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY

The punishment for the offence of criminal misappropriation of property is defined under sections 403 and 404 of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 403 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever dishonestly misappropriates or converts to one’s own use any movable property, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine, or with both.

Section 404 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use property, knowing that such property was in the possession of a deceased person at the time of that person’s decease, and has not since been in the possession of any person legally entitled to such possession, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and if the offender at the time of such person’s decease was employed by him as a clerk or servant, the imprisonment may extend to seven years.

JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENT

State of Madhya Pradesh v Pramod Mategaonkar (1964)[2]

In this case, the court held that misappropriation could be temporary or permanent, and no endorsement is required to constitute this offence of criminal misappropriation of property.

Ramaswami Nadar v State of Madras (1957)[3]

In this case, the Supreme Court held that the words ‘converts to one’s own use’ under section 403 IPC denote that the accused has used the property in derogation of the rights of the owner of the property.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEFT AND CRIMINAL MISAPPROPRIATION

  • In theft, the intention is always dishonest from the beginning of the act. But in criminal misappropriation, the initial intention may be innocent and lawful, but dishonest intention develops subsequently.
  • In theft, the moving of property is itself an offence. But in criminal misappropriation, the mere moving of property does not amount to an offence of criminal misappropriation and it is necessary that the property is dishonestly converted to own use.

REFERENCES

  1. Sood, Jyoti Dogra. “PSA PILLAI’S CRIMINAL LAW.” (2018): 357-360.
  2. Ratanlal Ranchhoddas. Ratanlal & Dhirajlal’s the Indian Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860). New Delhi :Wadhwa & Co., 2007.
  3. https://www.writinglaw.com/criminal-misappropriation-of-property/
  4. https://blog.ipleaders.in/difference-between-criminal-misappropriation-and-criminal-trust/#:~:text=Under%20Section%20403%20of%20the,the%20offense%20of%20criminal%20misappropriation.
  5. https://lawsofland.blogspot.com/2016/09/a-comparison-between-criminal.html

[1] Ramaswamy Nadar v State of Madras: AIR 1971 Mad 136

[2] State of Madhya Pradesh v Pramode Mategaonkar (1965) 2 Cr LJ 562 (MP).

[3] Ramaswamy Nadar v State of Madras: AIR 1971 Mad 136.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: