Chapter XVII: Of Offences Against Property (Section 378- 462)

1. Of Theft (Section 378- 382)

One of the most common crimes committed, the offence of theft has been talked about in this sub-chapter. However, the provisions of theft work in a tight, well knitted form and some factors have to be ticked to constitute the offence. Firstly, the accused must intend to take the property dishonestly. Secondly, the means employed to take away the movable property were unlawful. Thirdly, the deprivation was done without the actual consent of the victim. Thus, as enunciated above, the offence of theft have some prerequisites to be fulfilled before punishing the accused.


2. Of Extortion (Section 383- 389)

Striking a balance between theft and robbery, the offence of extortion also deals in wrongfully depriving a person of his/her property. The basic ingredients of extortion, however are different. Intentional putting of a person in fear of injury to himself or someone else and dishonestly inducing the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security are the sine qua non of the offence of extortion.


3. Of Robbery & Dacoity (Section 390 – 402)

Robbery is an exaggerated and an aggravated form of either of theft or extortion or both. Theft becomes robbery when either during the actual commission or in order to commit theft, a person voluntarily causes or attempts to cause to any person death/ hurt/ wrongful restraint or the “fear” of death/ hurt/ wrongful restraint. Similarly, extortion takes the form of robbery when the offender who is present causes fear of instant violence by demanding immediate delivery of the property.
Dacoity is a graver form of robbery. To constitute the offence of dacoity, 5 or more persons must conjointly commit or attempt to commit robbery or are said to have aided such commission or attempt. Here, the liability is shared by each one of them as if the act is done in the individual’s capacity.


3. Of Criminal Misappropriation Of Property (Section 403- 404)

Any dishonest misappropriation or the conversion of any movable property, for the benefit of oneself falls under this sub-chapter. Criminal misappropriation has two further ingredients to fully constitute the abrogation. The first essential is that the accused misappropriated/converted to his own use someone else’s movable property. The second essential is that such act of misappropriating must be done dishonestly.


4. Of Criminal Breach Of Trust (Section 405- 409)

Any act where an entrustment of property is created between two parties and the trusted party dishonestly misappropriates/ converts the said property (movable/ immovable) for his own use, violating any direction or prescription given by law, is said to constitute criminal breach of trust.


5. Of The Receiving Of Stolen Property (Section 410- 414)

A property (movable/ immovable) whose possession is obtained on account of either theft, extortion, robbery or has been obtained via criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust is said to be a stolen property. Since there is a wrongful loss to the rightful owner and a wrongful gain to the person now possessing the property, the provisions under this sub-chapter seeks to restore the status quo and hence punish the accused if found in possession of the said property.


6. Of Cheating (Section 415- 420)

Unlike other offences under this Chapter, the offence of cheating not only involves the retention of the possession of the property but also the property itself is now under the accused’s name. Cheating is caused when any deception is created by the accused with a fraudulent or dishonest intention to wrongfully gain any property (movable/immovable), further inducing the person so deceived to deliver or to consent that someone shall retain the property and to cause him damage or harm in body/mind/reputation/property. This sub-chapter also deals with cheating which is caused via personation and also the dishonestly inducing delivery of property.


7. Of Fraudulent Deeds And Dispositions Of Property (Section 421- 424)

The dishonest or fraudulent removal/concealment of property to prevent distribution amongst the creditors or preventing debt being available to the creditors or execution of deed of transfer containing false statement of consideration or removal/concealment of property attracts criminal punishment if the accused is found guilty for any of the above acts.


8. Of Mischief (Section 425- 440)

The offence dealing with the damage to property falls under mischief. If the accused alters the property of the victim, which is different to its natural and normal use or employment. The part dealing with ‘aggravated forms of mischief’ contains the extent of punishment for various acts resulting in mischief to the property of the victim.


9. Of Criminal Trespass (Section 441-462)

A convulated part of criminal jurisprudence, criminal trespass can be civil where unintentional or simple entry upon someone else’s land is made out. However, the liability changes completely when the element of mens rea for entering the land is concluded.


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