Indian Penal Code

Offence Affecting Property – Criminal Misappropriation of Property

The word misappropriation means a dishonest appropriation and use of another’s property for one’s own usage. In this article let us study about Criminal Misappropriation in detail.

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What is Misappropriation?

Section 403 & Section 404 of the Indian penal code, 1860 deals with Criminal Misappropriation of Property. Section 403 of the Indian penal code deals with criminal misappropriation and prescribes the penalization for the offence. Also, Section 404 of the Indian penal code deals with dishonest misappropriation of a deceased person’s property.

Criminal Misappropriation

                                                             Criminal Misappropriation

Dishonest Misappropriation of Property 

Section – 403 of the Indian penal code reads that, whoever dishonestly misappropriates any movable property to his own usage, shall be punished with imprisonment up to 2 years or with fine or both.

Illustrations

  1. Ajay takes property belonging to Zeeshan out of Zeeshan’s possession, in good faith, believing, at any time when he takes it, that the property belongs to himself. Ajay is not guilty of thef. But if Ajay, after discovering his mistake, dishonestly appropriates the property to his own use, he is guilty of an offence under this section.
  2. Ajay, being on friendly terms with Zeeshan, goes into Zeeshan’s library in Zeeshan’s absence, and takes away a book without Zeeshan’s express consent. Here, if Ajay was underneath the impression that he had Zeeshan’s implicit consent to take hold of the book for the aim of reading it, Ajay has not committed theft. But, if Ajay subsequently sells the book for his own profit, he is guilty of an offence under this section.

Ingredients

To establish the offence of misappropriation following ingredients have to be satisfied:
(i) the defendant embezzled property and converted the property to his own use.
(ii) he does so dishonestly.
(iii) the property is movable; and
(iv) the movable property belonged to the complainant
The offence underneath Section 403 of the Code is non-cognizable, bailable, compoundable with the permission of the court and triable by any magistrate.

Finder of goods

If the intention wasn’t dishonest at the time possession was taken a subsequent alter of intention doesn’t make the possession unlawful. Explanation to the section emphasizes that in case of the finder of goods if he has taken all precautions to ascertain the true owner and kept the goods for a reasonable time for restoring it to actuality owner, he may use the property for himself if actuality owner isn’t found. But if forthwith misappropriate the property he would be liable underneath the section.

Dishonest misappropriation of property possessed by a person who passed away:

Section 404 of the Indian penal code says 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 can reach 3 years, and shall also be liable to fine, and if the offender at the time of such person’s decease was utilised by him as a clerk or servant, the imprisonment may extend to 7 years.

Ingredients

To invoke Section 404 of the Indian penal code following ingredients should be met.
(i)  The property must be a movable property
(ii)  Such property was in possession of the deceased at the time of his death
(iii) The defendant misappropriated it or converted it to his own use
(iv) The accused did so dishonestly.
Offence underneath this Section is non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable, and triable by a magistrate of the first class.

Criminal Misappropriation of Property

When an individual converts any movable property to his own use, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Section – 378 Theft
Section –  379 Punishment for theft
 Section -380 Theft in dwelling house, etc.
 Section – 383 Extortion
 Section – 384  Punishment for extortion
 Section -385 Putting an individual in fear of injury in order to commit extortion
Section –  398 Attempt to commit robbery or dacoity when armed with a deadly weapon
Section –  399 Making preparation to commit dacoity
Section –  400 Punishment for belonging to a gang of dacoits
Section –  401 Punishment for belonging to a gang of thieves
Section –  402 Assembling/gathering for purpose of committing dacoity
Section –  403 Dishonest misappropriation of property
Section –  404 Dishonest misappropriation of property possessed by a person who passed away
Section –  405 Criminal breach of trust
Section –  406 Punishment for criminal breach of trust
Section  407  Criminal breach of trust by carrier, etc
Section  408 Criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant

Question on Criminal Misappropriation

Ques. What is the meaning of Misappropriation?

  1. Dishonest appropriation
  2. Dishonest appropriation and use of another’s property for one’s own usage
  3. a & b both
  4. b only

Ans. The correct answer is b. The word misappropriation means a dishonest appropriation and use of another’s property for one’s own usage.

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