Criminal Breach of Trust Under Indian Penal Code,1860


The offence of criminal breach of trust, as defined under section 405 of IPC, is similar to the offence of embezzlement under 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. 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.

A criminal breach of trust is a non-bailable and cognizable offence, which is triable by the Magistrate of the first class. Also, this offence is compoundable by the owner of the property in respect of which breach of trust has been committed, with the permission of the court.

The essential ingredients of the offence of criminal breach of trust are;

(1)   The accused must be entrusted with the property or with dominion over it,

(2)   The person so entrusted must use that property, or;

(3)   The accused must dishonestly use or dispose of that property or wilfully suffer any other person to do so in violation,

(a) of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or;

(b) of any legal contract made touching the discharge of such trust.

Punishment for criminal breach of trust. —Whoever commits criminal breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

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