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Criminal Breach Of Trust

The offence of criminal breach of trust, is similar to the offence of embezzlement under the English law. A reading of the section suggests that the gist of the offence of criminal breach of trust is 'dishonest misappropriation' or 'conversion to own use' another's property, which is nothing but the offence of criminal misappropriation defined u/s 403 IPC. The only difference between the two is that in respect of criminal breach of trust, the accused is entrusted with property or with dominion or control over the property.

Entrustment. As the title to the offence itself suggests, entrustment of property is an essential requirement before any offence under this section takes place. The language of the section is very wide. The words used are 'in any manner entrusted with property'. So, it extends to entrustments of all kinds-whether to clerks, servants, business partners or other persons, provided they are holding a position of trust.

Essentials Of The Offense
Entrustment

Entrustment means control over the property by one person to the other in such a way that the person on whose interests the property is handed over continues to be an owner. The word entrustment is very essential to constitute the offence of criminal breach of trust.

Following the case, Surendra Pal Singh Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh describes the same.

The only difference between the two is that in the scope of criminal breach of trust, the defendant is entrusted with property or with dominion or control over the property. As the title to the breach of law itself suggests, entrustment of property is an essential requirement before any offence under this section takes place. The language of the section is very wide. The words used are 'in any manner entrusted with property'. So, it extends to entrustments of all kinds-whether to clerks, servants, business partners or other persons, provided they are holding a position of trust. "The term "entrusted" found in Section 405 IPC rules the word "with the property".

Before there can be any entrustment there must be a trust meaning thereby an obligation annexed to the ownership of property and a confidence reposed in and accepted by the owner or declared and accepted by him for the benefit of another or of another and the owner. But that does not mean that such an entrustment need conform to all the technicalities of the law of trusts Jaswantrai Manilal Akhaney v. State of Bombay.

The expression 'entrustment' carries with it the implication that the person handing over any property or on whose behalf that properly is handed over to another, continues to be its owner. Further the person handing over the property must have confidence in the person taking the property so as to create a fiduciary relationship between them. A mere transaction of sale cannot amount to an entrustment.

The State Of Gujarat vs Jaswantlal Nathalal 23 November, 1967
Facts:
The appellant The State Government gave a contract to a contractor for the work of construction of a building. The contractor in turn gave that work on sub-contract to a firm K & Co. and the respondent, was looking after the construction work on behalf of the firm. Upon an application made to the Deputy Engineer, Ahmedabad, the contractor was allotted 100 bags of cement for construction work. This cement was sold by the Government to the contractor and delivered to the respondent for and on behalf of the contractor.

After taking delivery of the cement, the respondent delivered only part Of it to the construction site and the balance was diverted and stocked on account of K & Co. On these facts and the appellant's complaint, the respondent was prosecuted for breach of trust under s.409 of the Indian Penal Code. The respondent's case was that in anticipation of allotment of cement to the contractor, K & Co. had utilized some of their own cement and therefore.

The cement liveries to them were on account of a quantity already used by them for the contractor. The Trial Court disbelieved this version and convicted the respondent. The High Court, however, allowed an appeal and acquitted the respondent. The appellant The State Government gave a contract to a contractor for the construction of a building. The contractor, in turn, gave that work on sub-contract to a firm K & Co. and the respondent was looking after the construction work on on behalf of the firm.

Upon an application made to the Deputy Engineer, Ahmedabad, the contractor was allotted 100 bags of cement for construction work. This cement was sold by the Government to the contractor and delivered to the respondent for and on behalf of the contractor. After taking delivery of the cement, the respondent delivered only part of it to the construction site and the balance was diverted and stocked on account of K & Co. On these facts and the appellant's complaint, the respondent was prosecuted for breach of trust under s. 409 of the Indian Penal Code.

The respondent's case was that in anticipation of allotment of cement to the contractor, K & Co. had utilized some of their own cement and therefore The cement liveries to them was on account of a quantity already used by them for the contractor. The Trial Court disbelieved this version and convicted the respondent. The High Court, however, allowed an appeal and acquitted the respondent.

Judgment - Dismissing the appeal: The prosecution had failed to prove entrustment to the respondent. The expression entrustment carries with it the implication that the person handing over any property or on whose behalf that property is handed over to another, continues to be its owner. Further, the person handing over the property must have confidence in the person taking the property so as to create a fiduciary relationship between them. A mere transaction of sale cannot amount to an entrustment.

Although the Government had sold the cement in question to the contractor solely for the purpose of being used in connection with the construction work, that circumstance did not make the transaction in question anything other than a sale. After the delivery of the cement, the Government had neither any right nor dominion over it. If the purchaser or its representative had failed to comply with the requirements of law relating to the cement control, he should have been prosecuted for the same. It could not be held that there was any breach of trust.

Property
The defendant must spend with a trust or secure the property with authority. There must be an entrustment of property. Presiding over the case of Ramaswami Nadar vs the State of Madras, SC held that the basic requirement of entrustment must be there to fulfil the essentials of criminal breach of trust offence under Section 405.

Dominion Over Property
The domain is the superior right of property inland, it is the most and fullest right of goods or property which is a legal concept derived from dominium of the Roman law. The domain is the right of the property as well as the possession or use of the property. It is absolute and complete ownership of property or land. The government can under some situation seize property without or with permission.

Every partner has dominion over property by reason of the fact that he is a partner. This is a kind of dominion which every owner of property has over his property. out it is not dominion of this kind which satisfies the requirements of S.405. In order to establish `entrustment of dominion' over property to an accused person the mere existence of that person's dominion over property is not enough. It must be further shown that his dominion was the result of entrustment.

Therefore, as rightly pointed out by Harris, C.J., the prosecution must establish that dominion over the assets or a particular asset of the partnership was, by a special agreement between the parties entrusted to the accused person. If in the absence of such a special agreement partner receives money belonging to the partnership he cannot be said to have received it in a fiduciary capacity or in other words cannot be held to have been 'entrusted' with dominion over partnership properties. "

If that is so in the partnership relation it appears to me that it would be more so in the conjugal relationship with regard to the property within the matrimonial home. The nature, character and the incident of property within the matrimonial home, so long as the marriage subsists, seem to be such that except by a special written agreement, no entrustment or dominion etc.

The individual property of the spouses to each other can be presumed. Equally, herein the specific and ascertainable (I) A.T.R. 1965 S.C. 1433 property of each spouse within the matrimonial home can be so equivocal and problematic as to oust the requisite mens rea with consequent criminality with regard thereto until the title to such property is clearly and specifically established. If the civil remedy seems to be adequate between partners, during the subsistence of partnership there is no reason why it would not equally be so between spouses in an existing matrimonial home during the subsistence of the conjugal relationship.

As already referred to, apart from the civil remedy under the general law, added provisions exist in this context under S.27 of the Hindu Marriage Act buttressed by the procedural provisions of 0.32-A of the Code of Civil Procedure. In view of the above, it would be equally untenable to hold that either the desertion or the expulsion one of the spouses from the matrimonial home would result in entrusting dominion over the property belonging to the other so as to bring the case within the ambit of this prerequisite under S.405, Indian Penal Code.

The joint custody and possession once established would thereafter exclude either express entrustment or the passing of dominion over the property. It was rightly argued that if an irate husband or wife walks out from the matrimonial home in a huff, this cannot constitute an entrustment or dominion over the property to the other.

Consequently, unless a special written agreement to the contrary can be established, the strongest presumption arises that during the existence and immediately after the crumbling of the matrimonial home, there was in essence, a joint possession and custody of the property of the spouses therein, including dowry and traditional presents, which would preclude the essentials entrustment of dominion over the property which form the corner-stone of criminality under S.405, Indian Penal Code."

Equally the common use and enjoyment of certain articles of dowry and traditional presents, by the other members of a joint family with the leave and licence of a Hindu wife, cannot have the effect of extending the jointness of control and custody of the couple to undefined and unreasonable limits. Consequently, there is no reason to assume that the mere use or enjoyment of dowry by other members of the household, would have the effect of passing the possession and control thereof Jointly to the Hindu Undivided Family as such.

In the aforesaid context, pointed reference must be made to the opening word 'whoever' of S.405 of the Code to highlight that the criminal law does not take note of any proximity of relationship for the offence of breach of trust. Whoever would include within its ambit the parents-in-law, the brothers-in-law, sisters- in-law (and other close relations of the husband) of a Hindu wife provided that the basic ingredients of entrustment or passing of dominion over her separate individual property stands fully satisfied.

Apart from the peculiarity of the conjugal relationship and the consequent sharing of the matrimonial home, the existence of the blood relationship of the parties does not seem to be relevant for the applicability or otherwise of S.406 of the Code, Since the other members of the Hindu Joint family, to which the husband may belong, would not be covered by the presumption of jointness of custody v and possession of their individual properties by the spouses alone, they cannot by the mere fact of kinship be excluded from the scope of ss. 405 and 406 of the Code."

In case of Stridhan:
A woman's power of disposal, independent of her husband's control, is not confined to saudavika but extends to other properties as well. Devala says: "A woman's maintenance (vritti), ornaments, perquisites (sulka), gains (labha), is her stridhan. She herself has the exclusive right to enjoy it. Her husband has no right to use it except in distress...".

In "N.R. Raghavachariar's "Hindu law - Principles and Precedents'' [8th Edn.] edited by Prof. S. Venkataraman, one of the renowned Professors of Hindu law Para 468 deals with "Definition of Stridhan''. In Para 469 dealing with "Sources of acquisition" it is stated that the sources of acquisition of property in a woman's possession are: gifts before marriage, wedding gifts, gifts subsequent to marriage etc.

Para 470 deals with "Gifts to a maiden". Para 471 deals with "Wedding gifts' ' and it is stated therein that properties gifted at the time of marriage to the bride, whether by relations or strangers, either Adhiyagni or Adhyavahanika, are the bride's stridhana. In Para 481 at page 426, it is stated that ornaments presented to the bride by her husband or father constitute her Stridhan property.

In Para 487 dealing with "powers during coverture" it is stated that sahayika meaning the gift of affectionate kindred, includes both Yasutaka for gifts received at the time of marriage as well as its negative Yutaka. In respect of such property, whether given by gift or will she is the absolute owner and can deal with it in any way she likes. She may spend, sell or give it away at her own pleasure.

It is thus clear that the properties gifted to her before the marriage, at the time of marriage or at the time of giving farewell or thereafter are her stridhan properties. It is her absolute property with all rights to dispose at her own pleasure. He has no control over her stridhan property. Husband may use it during the time of his distress but nonetheless he has a moral obligation to restore the same or its value to his wife.

Therefore, stridhana property does not become a joint property of the wife and the husband and the husband has no title or independent dominion over the property as owner thereof. when the wife entrusts her stridhan property with the dominion over that property to her husband or any other member of the family and the husband or such other member of the family dishonestly misappropriated or converts to his own use that property or wilfully suffers any other person to do so, he commits criminal breach of trust.

The essential ingredients for establishing an offence of criminal breach of trust as defined in Section 405 and punishable under Section 406, IPC with sentence for a period upto three years or with fine or with both, are:
  1. Entrusting any person with property or with any dominion over property;
  2. The person entrusted dishonestly misappropriating or converting to his own use that property; or dishonestly using or disposing of that property or wilfully suffering any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of any legal contract made touching the discharge of such trust.
The expression entrustment carries with it the implication that the person handing over any property or on whose behalf that property is handed over to another, continues to be its owner. Entrustment is not necessarily a term of law. It may have different implications in different contexts. In its most general significance, all its imports is handing over the possession for some purpose which may not imply the conferment of any proprietary right therein.

The ownership or beneficial interest in the property in respect of which criminal breach of trust is alleged to have been committed, must be in some person other than the accused and the latter must hold it on account of some person or in some way for his benefit.

In view of the finding that stridhan property is the exclusive property of the wife on proof that she entrusted the property or dominion over the stridhan property to her husband or any other member of the family, there is no need to establish any further special agreement to establish that the property was given to the husband or other member of the family.

It is always a question of fact in each case as to how property came to be entrusted to the husband or any other member of the family by the wife when she left the matrimonial home or was driven out therefrom. No absolute or fixed rule of universal application can be laid down on that behalf.

It requires to be established by the complainant or the prosecution, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, as to how and in what manner the entrustment of the stridhan property or dominion over her stridhan came to be made to the husband or any other member of the family or the accused person, as the case may be.

Misappropriation
'Dishonest misappropriation' is the basic element of this action. Dishonesty is as defined in Sec.24, IPC, generating wrongful gain or wrongful loss to a person. The meaning of wrongful gain and wrongful loss is defined in Section 23 IPC. In order to constitute an offence, it is not enough to attain that the money has not been accounted for or mismanaged. It has to be accepted that the defendant has insincerely put the property for his own use or to some without the permission of the owner before using. Dishonest intention to misappropriate is a crucial fact to be proved to bring home the charge of criminal breach of trust.

Krishan Kumar Vs Union of India
Misappropriation arises when a person illegally sets apart or assigns to some other person use to which it should assign to some other person to the exclusion of the owner in case of actus rea it will consist of either of the four positive acts:
  • Conversion
  • Misappropriation
  • Disposal of property
  • User

Aggravated Forms Of Criminal Breach Of Trust
The section of 407- 409 includes the aggravated form of criminal breach of trust which talks about three distinct classes to which entitles belong i.e. a carrier, a warehouse keeper and a wharfinger who is the owner of a wharf who received some property or goods under some contract who is expected to carry the goods in the safe custody with them.

Whosoever, being entrusted with the property dishonestly converts or misappropriation for his own use in breach of any law or any legal contract commits 'Criminal breach of Trust'.
Section 407 confers with 'criminal breach of trust by carrier'. Carrier is basically a person who attempts or seeks to transport goods for hire.

So, according to the section of 407, if any carrier, warehouse keeper or a wharfinger who is entrusted with that property not necessarily movable but dishonestly misappropriated or converts the property for own use then, in that case, he shall be punishable under the offence of criminal breach of trust. And the punishment for the same would be liable with imprisonment of 7 years with a subsequent fine.

Section 408 deals with 'criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant'

Punishment for Criminal Breach of Trust
According to Section 406, the punishment for this offence is imprisonment up to 3 years or fine or both. In order to prosecute the offender, the complainant has the burden to prove his guilt.

In certain special transactions like transportation of goods, some persons may be in positions of trusts. For example, they may work as carriers, wharfingers or warehouse-keepers. The punishment for breaching trust under such cases includes imprisonment up to 7 years with fine.

Similarly, persons like office clerks and employees also enjoy a position of trust inherently under their duties. If they criminally breach that trust, their punishment also includes imprisonment up to 7 years with fine.

Even public servants, bankers, merchants, brokers, attorneys or agents enjoy positions of trust with respect to properties. For example, a person may entrust his property with his advocate under a power of attorney agreement. Breach of trust by such persons is punishable with higher imprisonment up to 10 years with a fine.

Views Of Judges & Courts In Various Cases
In Jaswant Rai Manilal Akhaney vs State of Bombay, it was held that when securities are pledged with a bank for specific purpose on specified conditions, it would amount to entrustment. Similarly, properties entrusted to directors of a company would amount to entrustment, because directors are to some extent in a position of trustee. However, when money was paid as illegal gratification, there was no question of entrustment.

In State of UP vs Babu Ram, the accused, a sub-inspector (SI) of police, had gone to investigate a theft case in a village. In the evening, he saw one person named Tika Ram coming from the side of the canal and hurriedly going towards a field. He appeared to be carrying something in his dhoti folds. The accused searched him and found a bundle containing currency notes. The accused took the bundle and later returned it.

The amount returned was short by Rs. 250. The Supreme Court held that the currency notes were handed over to the SI for a particular purpose and Tika Ram had trusted the accused to return the money once the accused satisfied him about it. If the accused had taken the currency notes, it would amount to a criminal breach of trust.

In Rashmi Kumar vs Mahesh Kumar Bhada, the Supreme Court held that when the wife entrusts her stridhan property with the dominion over that property to her husband or any other member of the family and the husband or such other member of the family dishonestly misappropriated or converts to his own use that property, or wilfully suffers any other person to do so, he commits criminal breach of trust.

Even failure to handover marriage gifts and ornaments received from in laws to the wife on being driven out amounts to criminal breach of trust. Taking away such gifts and cash offerings from her in -laws also amounts to misappropriation.

Judgements
Surendra Prasad Verma vs State Of Bihar on 25 April, 1972
The appellant who was the cashier and one Ram Chander Lal, a lower division clerk in the Engineering school of the Government of Bihar at purnea were prosecuted for offences of criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust in respect of Rs. 11,021-35 alleged to have been entrusted to them and over which they had dominion. The Engineering School was at first located in a building known as Asad Manzil in Purnea City. It was shifted from there in part to zila school in August 1961.

Even after such shifting Asad Manzil continued to be in the occupation of the school and an iron safe embedded in a wall of the office room and some old papers remained there. The cash of the school used to be kept in that iron safe, besides money belonging to what is described as the students' fund. The safe had a double locking system. There were two keys to the outer door both of which had to be operated to open the said door. At first one of these keys used to be with the appellant and the other used to be with the principal of the school.

The cash however used to be kept in a drawer within the safe of which the key was originally in charge of Ramchander Lal. In order to enable anybody to take out any money from the safe it was necessary to have all three keys to be put into use. The evidence is that after the school shifted from Asad Manzil the Principal entrusted his key of the outer door to the appellant.

The two duplicate keys of the outer door and the duplicate key of the drawer used to be kept in a sealed envelope within the drawer. The appellant had gone on leave from 15th May 1961 to 3rd or 4th June, 1961 during which time Ramchander Lal was in charge of the work of the cashier and had all the three keys in his possession.

The documents show that at the time when he went on leave the appellant handed over the keys of the outer door to Ramchander Lal. There are no corresponding documents to show that he had taken charge after coming back from leave but the facts make it abundantly clear that he had assumed such charge after he joined duty. It was he who used to maintain the cash book and was in charge of the cash. There used to be periodical verification of the contents of the safe. The evidence shows that there was one such verification on August 31, 1961.

According to Arvind Kumar, an Assistant Professor who had been entrusted by the Principal to verify the actual cash in hand with the cash balance according to the registrar the iron chest and the drawer were opened on that date by the appellant when Ramachander Lal was not there. The verification showed that the cash and the drafts in the bank exceeding Rs. 1 lakh tallied with the amounts entered in the register. The evidence further showed that on September 30, 1961 Arvind Kumar did not verify the cash physically as he had done in August 1961.

On October 9, 1961 the appellant went to open the safe to take out some cash accompanied by Ramchander Lal. They then found that a large amount of cash was missing from the drawer. They reported the matter to the Principal and a first information report was lodged the same night, the report being written out by the Principal at the dictation of the appellant. According to the report the safe which was locked was opened by the appellant with the two outer keys.

When the drawer was opened no money was found inside it and the envelope containing the duplicate keys was lying torn there having no keys inside.

The Sessions Judge arrived at the following findings:
  1. The arrangement regarding the custody of the keys was as regards the outer door one was kept by the Principal and the other by the appellant while Ramchander Lal had the custody of the key of the drawer, duplicates of all three keys being kept in the safe itself. On 28th March, 1960 the Principal had handed over his key to the appellant.
  2. At the relevant time or near about i.e. October 9, 1961, the two keys of the outer door were with the appellant Surendra Prasad Verma and the keys of the drawer was with the accused Ramchander, the duplicates being in the drawer of the iron safe.
  3. The prosecution evidence with regard to all the three keys being in the custody of the appellant at the relevant time was "below the mark"
  4. Ordinarily both the accused persons used to be present at physical verification of cash. According to the Principal this practice was not always followed. On August 31, 1961 Prof. Arvind Kumar had done the physical verification but on 30th September 1961 he had given the certificate in the zilla school itself i.e. he did not go to Asad Manzil.
  5. Nobody had opened the safe between 1st October 1961 and 8th October 1961. The possibility of the loss having taken place even before 30-9-1961 could not be ruled out.
  6. The keys of the iron safe were no doubt in the custody of the accused persons but they individually or collectively could have misappropriated the amount but in that respect it is difficult to say which one alone could have done it. The chance of someone else getting hold of the duplicate keys somehow could not be ruled out. In the result he gave the accused the benefit of doubt.

The High Court proceeded on the basis that even if there was no document showing that the appellant had taken charge from Ramchander Lal after coming back from leave, it was his duty to report to the principal whether the duplicate keys were inside the safe or not at the time. The evidence of P.W. 3 Arvind Kumar established that no embezzlement or theft of the money had taken place before August 31, 1961. Under Rule 122 of the Bihar Treasury Code the whereabouts of the duplicate keys had to be ascertained whenever charge was transferred.

This was followed when the appellant had made over charge to Ramchander Lal before going on leave and there was no reason to hold the same course was not adopted when the latter made over charge to the appellant again. On October 9, 1961 the duplicate keys were found about the safe while the envelope supposed to contain them was lying torn inside the safe. The High Court relied on the statement of the Head-Clerk that when the appellant re-joined after leave in the beginning of June 1961 he took all the three keys from Ramchander Lal.

The evidence on record went to show that there was very little amount in the students' fund account at the relevant time and it was the appellant who immediately before that date had to take out and keep money practically every day. Considering the evidence as a whole, the High Court took the view that when the appellant re-joined in June 1961 Ramchander Lal had handed over the Key of the inner drawer to the appellant. The High Court therefore concluded that it was the appellant who had custody of all three keys between August 31, 1961 and October 9, 1961 when the loss was discovered.

His liability as cashier to account for the contents of the safe cannot be disputed. He was either a party of privy to the extraction of the cash from the safe. In the absence of evidence to show that he had parted with the keys of the outer door between 31st August 1961 and 9th October 1961, he was under a duty to account for the contents of the safe including the cash. The charge under Section 409 was therefore duly brought home to him.

Pratibha Rani vs Suraj Kumar & Anr on 12 March, 1985
The appellant, Mrs. Pratibha Rani filed a case against her husband and her in-laws in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate of Ludhiana. She was married to Suraj Kumar according to all Hindu customs. Her husband's family demanded dowry from her parents as a reflection of the marriage. This demand was recognized and a dowry worth Rs. 60,000/- was given in the form of jewellery. Even after that, the accused maltreated the appellant and over a period of time isolated her.

Later, when the appellant asked for the articles given, as a part of her 'Stridhan', the accused refused to return it to her. The lower court granted her relief. But, later on, Punjab & Haryana High Court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that this case does not attract under Section 405 and Section 406 of the IPC as handling of articles to the husband does not amount to assignment under law. The High Court relying on the case of Vinod Kumar Sethi v. State of Punjab delivered this judgment.

It was held that the husband may be put on trial in accordance with the Criminal law as under Section 405 of IPC.

In this judgment, the accused husband was held liable under Section 405. It was observed that any person who denies a woman her Stridhan is guilty of the offence of criminal breach of trust. The husband or in-laws are bound to return the Stridhan whenever demanded by the wife. At present, this is the only landmark judgment in dealing with the applicability of Section 405 of IPC in cases of Stridhan.

This is a landmark judgment upholding the rights of women and setting an example for the male-dominated society. But at the same time, the views opined by minority judgment are important as well. The family completely breaks when criminal provisions are attracted. There is a possibility of reconciliation when a civil suit is attracted. Also, there have been certain instances where women have misused this right to Stridhan to grab money from their husbands.

The major difference between Criminal Misappropriation and Criminal Trust
On the basis of:
  1. Provision: Section 403 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines Misappropriation of the property whereas Section 405 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines Criminal Breach of Trust.
  2. Possession: In Criminal Misappropriation, the property comes into the possession of the offender in some natural manner or by some casualty, but in Criminal Breach of Trust, the property comes into the possession of the offender due to the entrustment by the owner of the accused.
  3. Relationship: In Criminal Misappropriation, there is no contractual relationship between the offender and owner of the property, but in Criminal Breach of Trust, there is a contractual relationship between the offender and owner regarding the property.
  4. Nature of the property: In Criminal Misappropriation, the subject matter i.e. the property is always movable in nature, but in Criminal Breach of Trust, the property may be movable or immovable in nature.

Misappropriation:
In Criminal Misappropriation, the property is dishonestly misappropriated by the offender for his own use, but in Criminal Breach of Trust, the property or goods are misappropriated for his own personal use.

Analysis
Various suggestions were provided by various law commissions in order to amend the laws related to criminal breach of trust. The most important one being submitted by the Fifth Law Commission:
  1. Section 408 (criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant) should be brought in tune with its proposed s 381 of the IPC so that breach of trust by any employee in respect of his employer's property can be brought within purview of Section 408.
  2. The maximum punishment (of life imprisonment) provided for criminal breach of trust by public servants etc, should be scaled down to rigorous imprisonment for a term up to fourteen years.
Hence it's clear that for an offence to fall under this section all the four requirements are essential to be fulfilled. The person handing over the property must have confidence in the person taking the property, so as to create a fiduciary relationship between them or to put him in the position of trustee. The accused must be in such a position where he could exercise his control over the property i.e., dominion over the property.

The term property includes both movable as well as immovable property within its ambit. It has to be established that the accused has dishonestly put the property to his own use or to some unauthorized use. Dishonest intention to misappropriate is a crucial fact to be proved to bring home the charge of criminal breach of trust.

It is submitted that the offence of criminal breach of trust is very much common in today's world. It happens during the daily routine of a common man's life. From offices to the marriage ceremonies, everywhere its presence can be traced. Not only in the truest sense but also there are many cases of white collar crimes, where the person without any intention is involved in such crimes.

The best way to get rid of such crime is by educating people about the stringent laws regarding this offense. In the case of a public servant, the laws are more stringent and thus they deter the public servant from committing such crimes.

Conclusion
Hence it's clear that for an offence to fall under this section all the four requirements are essential to be fulfilled. The person handing over the property must have confidence in the person taking the property. So as to create a fiduciary relationship between them or to put him in the position of trustee.

The accused must be in such a position where he could exercise his control over the property i.e; dominion over the property. The term property includes both movable as well as immovable property within its ambit. It has to be established that the accused has dishonestly put the property to his own use or to some unauthorized use. Dishonest intention to misappropriate is a crucial fact to be proved to bring home the charge of criminal breach of trust.

Written By:
  1. Gurmeet Singh, Advocate, For M/S Gurmeet Singh & Associates, Advocates and Legal Consultants,
    Website: www.gurmeetsinghandassociates.com /.in, Email: [email protected], Ph No:+91 8750002000
  2. Miss Srestha Nandy
  3. Miss Prabha Dabral.

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