In our day-to-day life, we come across instances of theft. Let us understand what theft is and the punishment for it. This article will discuss Section 379 of IPC in detail and the difference between extortion and theft.
What is Section 379 of IPC?
If a person commits theft, then such person will be liable for punishment under Section 379 of IPC.
What is theft?
Theft is an essential ingredient of this section and is defined under Section 378 of IPC. Now, let us understand the meaning of it.
Taking any movable property out of the possession of another person without that person’s consent, with dishonest intention to move or take away that property, is called theft.
- A parks his car outside a wedding hall. B takes away the car from the venue without A’s consent. Here, B has committed a theft.
- X robs Y’s mobile phone in a market. Here, X has committed a theft.
- B finds C’s ring lying on the table in C’s house. B hides the ring, fearing that detection at someplace where C will not be able to find it, intending to sell the ring at a later period. Here, B commits theft by moving the ring from the table.
Essential ingredients of theft
To make a person guilty of theft under Section 379 of IPC, the following essential ingredients should be there:
- There should be a dishonest intention to take the property from the person’s possession.
- The stolen property should be moveable property and not immovable property. If a property can be detached or severed from the soil, it becomes moveable property. For example, crops are immovable, but if someone cuts down the crop and removes it without the owner’s permission, they have committed a theft.
- The property must be taken without the person’s consent in whose possession the property is. The property can be in the possession of the owner or any other person.
- The property must be moved from the owner’s possession or any other person to the offender. If a person removes any obstacle that enables the property to move is equivalent to moving the property. For example, if a person opens the rope of a cow to let the cow move out of the shed, constitutes theft.
Punishment under Section 379 IPC
A person who commits an offence of theft will be liable for imprisonment of either description (simple or rigorous) for a term of up to three years, or with a fine or with both.
Is Section 379 IPC bailable?
Under Section 379 of IPC, the offence is non-bailable, cognizable, and triable by any Magistrate. Therefore, it is compoundable by the person whose property is stolen.
How to get bail under Section 379 IPC?
Section 379 of IPC is a non-bailable offence. Therefore, bail can be granted only at the discretion of the Magistrate. The accused must make an application under Section 438 of Cr.P.C., where the officer in charge and the court are empowered to grant bail at its discretion. However, the accused can apply for anticipatory bail if an FIR has not been filed.
Difference between theft and extortion
1) Section 378 IPC: Taking any movable property out of the possession of another person without that person’s consent, with dishonest intention to move or take away that property, is called theft. As per Section 383, IPC extortion means putting a person in fear of any damage or danger to obtain the property or any other valuable security.
2) In theft, no consent is obtained before taking or moving the property. In extortion, consent is wrongfully obtained to take the property or valuable security.
3) Theft is done only on moveable property, whereas extortion can be for moveable or immovable property.
4) In theft, force is not necessary. Whereas, in extortion, force is used to put fear in the person’s mind.
State Vs. Anas @ Rahul, 2012
In this case, 4 accused had robbed the mobile phones and other belongings of Lal Babu (truck driver) and Bilas (conductor) after stopping a truck by their car at the point of a knife and also caused severe injuries to the victims.
The court had convicted Anas @ Rahul under Section 392, read with Section 394 and Section 397 of IPC, and sentenced him to a period of seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000/- and in case of default payment of fine, further simple imprisonment of one month. The accused was also convicted under Section 25/27/54/59 of the Arms Act. The court had sentenced other accused under Section 392 and 394 of IPC and sentenced them for four years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000/- and in case of default in payment of fine, further simple imprisonment of one month.
A person who commits theft then shall be punished under Section 379 of IPC. Theft means moving any moveable property of another person with the dishonest intention to take away the property without that person’s consent and out of his possession. The punishment prescribed under Section 379 is imprisonment of 3 years or with a fine or both. The offence under Section 379 of IPC is non-bailable and cognizable. Dishonest intention to take away the property is an essential ingredient to constitute theft.