Theft
Theft
378.  Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any movable 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.
     Explanation 1.—A thing so long as it is attached to the earth, not being movable property, is not the subject of theft; but it becomes capable of being the subject of theft as soon as it is severed from the earth.
     Explanation 2.—A moving, effected by the same act which effects the severance, may be a theft.
     Explanation 3.—A person is said to cause a thing to move by removing an obstacle which prevented it from moving, or by separating it from any other thing, as well as by actually moving it.
     Explanation 4.—A person, who by any means causes an animal to move, is said to move that animal, and to move everything which in consequence of the motion so caused is moved by that animal.
     Explanation 5.—The consent mentioned in the definition may be express or implied, and may be given either by the person in possession, or by any person having for that purpose authority either express or implied.
     Explanation 6.—A person may move property which is intangible or incorporeal by transferring the property from one account to another account or transferring the interests in the property from one person to another person or by extinguishing the property.
Illustrations
     (a)  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, in order to such taking, he has committed theft.
     (b)  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.
     (c)  [Deleted by Act 51 of 2007]
     (d)  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.
     (e)  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.
     (f)  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.
     (g)  A finds a ring lying on the high road, not in the possession of any person. A by taking it commits no theft, though he may commit criminal misappropriation of property.
     (h)  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.
     (i)  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.
     (j)  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.
     (k)  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.
     (l)  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 therefore committed theft.
     (m)  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.
     (n)  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.
     (o)  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 no authority from Z to give. If A takes the property dishonestly, he commits theft.
     (p)  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.
     (q)  A gains access to Z’s bank account and dishonestly transfers money from Z’s account to A’s own account without Z’s knowledge or consent. A commits theft.
[51/2007]
[Indian PC 1860, s. 378]
[Act 15 of 2019 wef 01/01/2020]
Punishment for theft
379.  Whoever commits theft shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both.
[Indian PC 1860, s. 379]
Punishment for theft of a motor vehicle
379A.—(1)  Whoever commits theft of a motor vehicle or any component part of a motor vehicle shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
[23/84; 51/2007]
(2)  A person convicted of an offence under this section shall, unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order otherwise, be disqualified for such period as the court may order from the date of his release from imprisonment from holding or obtaining a driving licence under the Road Traffic Act (Cap. 276).
[51/2007]
(3)  In this section —
“component part”, in relation to a motor vehicle, means any component part attached to the motor vehicle, and includes any tyre, accessory or equipment attached to the motor vehicle;
“motor vehicle” means a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads, and includes a trailer drawn by a motor vehicle.
[51/2007]
Theft in dwelling-house, etc.
380.  Whoever commits theft in any building, tent or vessel, which building, tent or vessel is used as a human dwelling, or for the custody of property, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
[Indian PC 1860, s. 380]
Theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master
381.  Whoever, being a clerk or servant, or being employed in the capacity of a clerk or servant, commits theft in respect of any property in the possession of his master or employer, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
[Indian PC 1860, s. 381]
Theft after preparation made for causing death or hurt in order to commit theft
382.  Whoever commits theft, having made preparation for causing death or hurt or restraint, or fear of death or of hurt or of restraint, to any person in order to commit such theft, or in order to effect his escape after committing such theft, or in order to retain property taken by such theft, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be punished with caning with not less than 3 strokes.
[62/73]
Illustrations
     (a)  A commits theft of 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.
     (b)  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.
[Indian PC 1860, s. 382]