Criminal Law Indian Penal Code LAW EXPLAINED
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Over the period in our society, we have seen many types of offences against human body where the alleged always tries to harm the deceased with the bad intention of giving bodily harm and in some instances, the bodily harm can turn into the murder of the deceased. But the time has changed and the type of crimes also changed with the changing environment now the criminals harm the deceased not physically but by damaging the property of the deceased and criminal misappropriation of property is one of the offences which is related to property offence.


Meaning of misappropriation is to steal something(property) which you have been trusted by someone to take care of and you use it for your use.

Example- Person “A” is entrusted with the car of person “B”. But instead of taking care of the car, he uses the car for his use without the permission of the person “B”.

Meaning of property is that any property but the property needs to be the moveable property. Personal property of an individual is called to be moveable property and in the civil law system, moveable property means which can be moved from one place to another.


Dishonest misappropriation of property- whoever dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his use any moveable property, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, with fine, or with both.

Illustrated situations:

1) A person finds a rupee note on the high road and he did not know about the note to whom it belongs and he picks that note. Here the person has not committed the offence.

2) Another situation in which persons finds the rupee note on the high road and after some time he learns about to whom it belongs. He appropriates the note. Hence, he is guilty of an offence under this section.

3) In this situation person, “A” finds a cheque and he did not know about to whom this cheque belongs. But the name of the person who has drawn the cheque appears.  A knows that this person can direct him to that person in whose favour the cheque was drawn. A appropriates the cheque without knowing the owner of the cheque. He is guilty of an offence under this section.

On the other hand, if the person attempts to know about the owner of the cheque and tries to give the cheque to real owner then he would not be held guilty of an offence under this section.

  1. A) Embezzlement of property and converted that property to use for his self.
  2. B) Dishonest act of the accused against that embezzled property.
  3. C) In this, the property is required to be a personal property which is a moveable property.
  4. D) It is very important that the property belongs to the complainant.
CASE- Ramaswami Nadar v. the State of Madras

In this, the supreme court held that the words used in section 403 such as “converts to his use” necessary shows that the accused has used or dealt with the property in derogation of the rights of the owner of the property. [1]


This section provides for criminal misappropriation of property in a specified situation in which the property was possessed by the deceased person at the time of his death.

  1. A) Dishonest misappropriation or conversion of that property.
  2. B) The property must have been on the possession of the deceased at the time of his death.
  3. C) After the death of that person, the property does not reach to the person who is legally bound to receive. But that property received by the person who is not bound to receive such property and he uses that property for his use.
  4. D) If the situation is such that the person having dishonest misappropriation of property is the clerk or servant of the deceased person then the punishment is imprisonment of 7 years and liable to pay fine.

Illustration- “A” dies with the possession of the furniture and the possession of the property received by some other individual and kept that property dishonestly and uses it for his use and he had the knowledge about the legal owner of the property but he still keeps using the property.

CASE: State of Orissa v. Bishnu Charan Muduli

In this case, the head constable had taken the articles from the boatman, who found that articles from the dead body of the drowned person. in this the officer has taken the articles in his possession dishonestly and then the officer held liable for holding the articles dishonestly and guilty under the offence of section 404 IPC. [2]


In this paper we have discussed all the corners of the offence criminal misappropriation of property and also in the 21st-century crime is not steady and moving forward and forward and new types of crime and offences are occurring day by day so for that matter, our legislature had done a great job in drafting the laws which will protect the individual’s property from the person who dishonestly owing that property and using that property for his use.

In this type of offence, we have the sections like section 403 and 404 of INDIAN PENAL CODE 1860, 403 of IPC deals with cases of dishonest misappropriation of property and the punishment is of about 2 years of imprisonment and fine also. 404 of IPC deals with the cases where dishonest misappropriation of property occurs after the death of the previous owner instead of delivering property to legal heir, he kept the property with himself and he knew that matter.


[1] AIR 1958 SC 56.

[2] 1985 Cr LJ 1573 (SC).

This blog is written by Shivam, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies.

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