UPSC LAW OPTIONAL NOTES 2019/2020 :
BIRLA CORPORATION LTD. VS. ADVENTZ INVESTMENTS AND HOLDINGS LTD. & OTHERS : MAY 2019 JUDGEMENT :
HELD : The Supreme Court held that “………To commit theft, one need not take movable property permanently out of the possession of another with the intention not to return it to him. It would satisfy the definition if he took any movable property out of the possession of another person though he intended to return it later on……..”.
Section 380 IPC : "Theft in dwelling house, etc.". In order to constitute theft, the following ingredients are essential:
i. Dishonest intention to take property;
ii. The property must be moveable;
iii. It should be taken out of the possession of another person;
iv. It should be taken without the consent of that person;
v. There must be some removal of the property in order to accomplish the taking of it.
IMPORTANCE OF INTENTION : Intention is the gist of the offence. It is the intention of the taker which must determine whether taking or moving of a thing is theft.
The intention to take "dishonestly" exists when the taker intends to cause wrongful loss to any other which amounts to theft.
It is an essential ingredient of the offence of "theft" that the movable property should have been "moved" out of the possession of any person without his consent.
CASE LAW 1 : In the light of the ratio laid down in Pyare Lal Bhargava vs State Of Rajasthan 1963 AIR 1094, temporary removal of original documents for the purpose of replicating the information contained in them in some other medium would thus fulfill the requirement of “moving” of property which is the actus reus of the offence of theft as defined under Section 378 IPC.
WHY? Information contained in a document, if replicated, can be the subject of theft and can result in wrongful loss, even though the original document was only temporarily removed from its lawful custody for the purpose of extracting the information contained therein.
CASE LAW 2 : In the case of K.N. Mehra vs. State of Rajasthan AIR 1957 SC 369, this Court held that gain or loss contemplated need not be a total acquisition or a total deprivation but it is enough if it is a temporary retention of property by the person wrongfully gaining or a temporary keeping out of property from person legally entitled.
The observations are part of a 68-page judgment on the appeal filed by Birla Corporation alleging the theft of 54 documents by Adventz Investments and Holdings.
 FACTS OF THE PYARE LAL BHARGAVA CASE : Pyare Lal Bhargava, a superintendent in the Chief Engineer's Office, at the instance of one Ram Kumar Ram got a file from the Secretariat through a clerk and took the file to his house, made it available to said Ram Kumar Ram who replaced the same documents in the file with other papers and thereafter, returned the file the next day. In the said case, the arguments was advanced contending that appellant/accused Pyare Lal Bhargava was one of the officers working in the department and 48 the facts do not constitute the offence of theft for the reason that there was no intention to take it dishonestly as he had taken it only for the purpose of showing the documents to Ram Kumar Ram and returned it on the next day to the office and therefore, he had not taken the said file out of the possession of any person.
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