1. Theft means dishonest removal of property out of the possession of any person without his consent. The crime of theft comes under offenses against property and has been dealt with under sections 378 to 382 of the Indian Penal Code.
2. Under English laws theft is an offense punishable with imprisonment for 10 years under section 7 of the Theft Act, 1968 and defines theft as a person guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other.
3. Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code defines theft as any person intending to take any movable property without honesty, out of the possession of any person without that individual's consent, is said to commit theft.
4. Ingredients essential to consider an offense a theft;
1. The accused must have dishonest intention to take the property.
2. The property concerned must be movable.
3. The property must be taken out of the custody of another person, resulting in wrongful gain by one and wrongful loss to another.
4. The property must be obtained by deception.
5. The property must be taken away without the consent of the person holding it.
5. Dishonest intention is the core element of criminal law. The petitioner has to prove that the accused has taken away something with a dishonest intention. The main measurement of dishonest intention is to cause wrongful gain to one and wrongful loss to another. If the accused proves that he did not intend to take away the property then it will not be considered a theft.
6. The subject of theft must be a movable property. Immovable property cannot be stolen so they are immune to theft. Property is movable when it can be carried around and immovable when it is permanently attached to the earth. It becomes the subject of theft when it is taken off from the surface of the earth. The movable property must be in the possession of another individual from where it is taken away.
7. Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code specifies the punishment for the offense of theft. It states that anyone found guilty of committing theft will be punished with imprisonment which could extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both.
8. In India, theft is considered a cognizable and non-bailable offense.
9. To commit the offense of theft, someone must own the property and then removed from his possession without his consent. Either of the persons involved in the possession or any individual having the power to express authority can give the consent.
10. If an owner of the property gave it to his servant for safekeeping, but someone took away the property then, here the theft is against the owner and not the servant as the servant is only an agent of the owner.
11. Theft in a dwelling house is defined under section 380 of the Indian Penal Code. It states that any person committing the offense of theft in a place used for human dwelling, or custody of property shall be punished with imprisonment extending to 7 years, or with fine or with both. Here the term dwelling house refers to any building or place used by humans for living permanently or temporarily.
12. Section 381 of the Indian Penal Code defines theft committed by a servant of property in possession of the master. When the offense of theft is committed by a servant or clerk in possession of any asset owned by their employer, shall be punished with imprisonment extending to 7 years, and will also be liable to fine.
13. Section 382 of the Indian Penal Code deals with theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint to the committing of theft. Any person committing theft, after having made preparation for causing death, fear of death, restraint, hurt to any person, or in order to the effecting of his escape after the commitment of such theft, or to keep any property taken by such an offense will be punished with imprisonment extending to 10 years and will also be liable to fine.
14. Moving a thing is an initial stage for possession of that thing, and theft is considered complete with such an initial stage. Therefore, real taking or possession does not matter as far as theft is considered. What the law contemplates is the intention of theft and not the genuine process of theft.
15. It is not necessary that the theft should be permanent, or that the accused should have derived any profit. For example, we can characterize a temporary removal of a file from any government office and making it available to a private acquaintance as an offense of theft.
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