Theft, extortion, robbery, dacoity etc. are offences directed against a person’s property.

Section 378 of the IPC deals with the offence of ‘theft’.

Essential Elements:

A person guilty of committing theft when:

  • He intentionally takes out property from another person’s possession
  • That property must be movable
  • He must remove the property with a dishonest intention
  • The property must be taken out without the consent of the victim

Example: A cuts don a tree on Z’s ground, with the intention of taking the tree out of Z’s possession without his consent. A is guilty of theft the moment he has severed the tree from the ground.

Intending to take dishonestly:

‘Dishonestly’ means intentionally doing an act which causes wrongful gain to a person or wrongful loss to another person. The taking of the property may be even temporary.

Movable Property:

Any corporeal property which is not fixed to the earth or if it is fixed, can be severed constitutes movable property.

Taking Property without consent:

When movable property is taken out of a person’s possession, it becomes theft if the person did not consent. The consent can be expressed or implied.

Taking property out of a person’s possession:

For property to be subject of theft, it must be taken from someone’s possession. The person possessing it may not be its owner. So, things which are not in anybody’s possession cannot be stolen.

Example: A picks up a 1000 rupees note from the highway. A is not guilty of theft as the note was not in any one’s possession.


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