This article is written by Monika Pilania, a student at Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak. This article seeks to elucidate the concept of the difference between theft and extortion.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.

Introduction

A state must not only safeguard citizens’ lives and maintain public peace if it is to function peacefully, but it must also ensure that its property is protected. Therefore, the protection of property is a feature of all jurisprudential systems worldwide. Hence, offences against property are covered by the Indian Penal Code of 1860.

Movable property and immovable property are the two basic categories of property. According to the Indian Penal Code, any crime involving property, whether it be movable or immovable, is considered to be criminal in nature. Offences against property are covered in Chapter XVII of the Indian Penal Code (hereafter, IPC), specifically Section 378Section 462 of the IPC.

Extortion is the technique of getting something, often money, using force or threats, whereas theft is a general term for all crimes where property belonging to someone is stolen without that person’s consent. The consent or permission of the legitimate owner is the primary distinction between theft and extortion; extortionists get the victim’s cooperation through intimidation or threat, whereas thieves do not. Because these two offences appear identical to one another, the present article concentrates on the distinctions between theft and extortion. 

Difference between theft and extortion

Definition

Theft 

According to Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, theft is a crime against property. Theft is defined as “dishonestly removing someone’s movable property from their possession without that person’s consent.” Although it may result in unfair losses for the owner of the stolen item, theft does not always result in unfair gains for the offender. A thief shares the stolen goods with the public with the good faith aim of promoting public benefit, but they do not transform the theft into a charitable act. Because it was an intentional act of dishonestly removing someone’s moveable property from the property holder’s possession without that person’s consent, it still qualifies as a theft.

Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code defines theft as “whoever, intending to dishonestly take any moveable property out of the possession of any person, without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft”.

Consequently, Section 378’s explanations make it plain that everything is not movable property and cannot be stolen as long as it is attached to the ground. But as soon as it is severed or cut off from the earth, this thing is susceptible to theft. Theft may be defined as the removal of property from the earth as a result of the same act. Additionally, it makes clear that either express or implicit consent may be included in the definition. However, theft is not committed when someone takes something from someone else without their permission and honestly believes that they are entitled to it.

This section specifies the conditions that must be met for theft to be considered an offence.

Let us understand the essential requirements of this section. 

Extortion 

Extortion is a theft-related offence. Section 383 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, defines extortion. It involves using threats and other forms of coercion to extract goods, money, or services from a person or an organisation. It is not required for the victim of extortion to receive any payment, goods, or services. The perpetrator of extortion may order a person or an organisation to give another person money, goods, or services. In order to get valuable assets in the form of cash, property, or services, the offender makes the victim fear instant death, injury, or wrongful restraint.

According to Section 383 of the IPC:

Extortion is defined as “the dishonest inducement of any person to transfer any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed that may be transformed into a valuable security, to any other person by placing that person willfully in fear of harm to themselves or to others.”

The following example will help you understand the definition of extortion:

If B fails to give A Rs. 1 crore on his birthday, A threatens to kill his wife. A is the victim of extortion in this evident instance.

The primary goal of Section 383 is to obtain the delivery of property or any other valuable object as a result of fraudulent inducement. More specifically, a crucial component of extortion is the intention to harm one person unjustly while benefiting another.

Essentials

Theft 

The following are the prerequisites for theft:

  • Theft with dishonest intention.
  • The property must be movable property.
  • The property must be removed from another person’s possession.
  • The property should be taken without that person’s permission.
  • The property must be moved in some way in order to be taken.

Dishonest intention 

One of the fundamental components of the stealing offence, like any other crime, is the intention. The intent of the culprit must be dishonest in order to commit theft. According to Section 24 of the IPC, having a dishonest intention means acting in a way that would result in someone else suffering harm. According to Section 23 of the IPC, wrongful gain is defined as a gain made via illegal means of property to which the person making the gain has no legal claim, whereas wrongful loss is defined as a loss made through illegal means of property to which the person making the loss has a claim. Malafide intention is another phrase for dishonest intention. Theft does not include taking someone else’s property while pretending it is your own.

In the case of M/s Shriram Transport Finance Co., Ltd. v. R. Khaishiullah Khan (1992), the Court determined that the seizure of the property after the hire purchase agreement’s payment fell behind would not constitute theft because the financer had the right to do so.

In the case of Venkat Narayan v. State (1976), the Court further declared that if the dishonest purpose is absent in any circumstance, the circumstance does not constitute a theft suit. To find someone guilty of the crime of theft, there must be evidence of dishonest intent.

Movable property

Section 22 defines “movable property” as “corporeal property of every description, excluding land and anything attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth,” including all corporeal property of every description. Immovable property is not an object for theft and cannot be removed. But according to Section 378’s Explanation 2, once an immovable property is split or cut off from the earth, it becomes susceptible to theft.

Example: A felled a tree on Z’s property with the purpose to dishonestly remove the tree without Z’s permission. Here, A has committed theft by cutting the tree in order to engage in such taking.

Let’s understand what constitutes and doesn’t constitute movable property. 

House

A house is immovable and cannot be stolen, as the court stated in the case of Francis v. the State of Kerala, 1960. The movable items inside the house, however, are susceptible to theft. Theft is defined as taking something with the purpose to steal under section 378 of the IPC.

Electricity

The Court determined that electricity is a movable property in the case of Avtar Singh v. State of Punjab (1964). Theft of electricity is now a crime that carries a penalty. Therefore, theft of electricity is punishable by up to three years in prison and/or a fine under Section 35 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

Data

In recent decades, data theft has grown to be one of the most significant problems that both courts and individuals must now address. Since data is just information and not a tangible object, it falls outside of the definition of theft in Section 378 of the IPC. However, if data is kept on a physical object, such as a hard drive, then stealing that object would fall under this provision and be considered theft.

Crops

Since they are rooted in the ground, growing crops are regarded as immovable property and are therefore safe against theft. However, once they are taken out of the ground, they turn into movable property and can be taken.

Person’s body

Because the human body cannot be regarded as movable property, Section 378 cannot be used to prosecute the theft of a human body. However, if the skeleton or the corpse have been preserved, then the item falls under the definition of movable property and is subject to Section 378.

The property must be removed from another person’s possession

The property in question must be in the prosecutor’s custody for the offence of theft to be committed, regardless of whether he is the owner or has another form of ownership. It is necessary to remove the property from the possessor. If a person acquires a piece of property that has no owner, meaning it is not in their possession, it cannot be argued that the item was stolen. Wild animal theft is therefore impossible. Theft of domesticated or tamed animals, birds, fish, etc. is nevertheless a possibility.

The possession of the property must have been taken without the owner’s permission 

With the use of illustrations (m) and (n) in Explanation 5, it is made clear that the consent may be expressed or inferred and may be granted by either the person in possession or by any other person who has express or implied authorization for that purpose. Given consent must be freely given. According to Section 14 of the Indian Contract Act of 1872, consent cannot be obtained through coercion, fear of harm, misrepresentation of the facts, undue influence, fraud, or mistake.

A person of unsound mind cannot be considered to have given valid permission, nor can consent be given when intoxicated. This was ruled in K.N. Mehra v. State of Rajasthan,

In State of Maharashtra v. Vishwanath Tukaram Umale (1979), the Supreme Court ruled that it constitutes theft if movable property is transferred without the consent of the person who is now in possession of it, whether temporarily or permanently.

Movement of property 

When the property is moved dishonestly, the theft has been fully committed. It is required to relocate the property, but it must only be at the location of the seizure. Even if something is just partially removed from its original location, it is still considered to have been stolen. It is not essential to transfer the item from the location where it was found or keep it out of the owner’s reach. This was held in Queen-Empress v. Venkatasami (1890).

The Court reaffirmed in Rakesh v. State of NCT of Delhi (2020) that certain circumstances must be met for stealing to constitute a crime. The Court further determined that the accused’s removal of the movable property from anyone else with malice is what constitutes theft in the most serious cases.

Extortion  

The following are the prerequisites for extortion: 

  • Intentionally putting a person in fear of injury;
  • Intention; and
  • To deliver property or valuable security.

Intentionally putting a person in fear of injury

The crime of extortion is a middle ground between the crimes of stealing and robbery. If the victim is placed in fear by the attacker at the time of the crime, causing fear of immediate death, injury, or unfair restraint, extortion turns into robbery. In contrast, the individual delivering the property cannot always be present when the property is taken by force during a robbery.

Before someone can be accused of putting another person in fear of suffering harm, it must first appear that the offender threatened to break a legal obligation or to do something that he was not legally required to do. If this was the case, the act would not be considered extortion.

The threat of harm anticipated under Section 383 need not involve physical harm or discomfort. It will cover harm to the person’s possessions, reputation, or mental health.

The fear must be of such a kind and degree that it disturbs the subject’s state of mind and eliminates the element of free will necessary for consent, which is the only requirement for fear to be effective.

According to Section 44 of the IPC, “injury” is defined as “any hurt whatsoever unlawfully caused to any person, in body, mind, reputation, or property.” Threats of divine punishment do not qualify as the hurt being contemplated; rather, it must be one that the accused himself may cause to be inflicted.

Intention 

Dishonest inducement and getting property delivery as a result of such inducement are at the core of Section 383. Therefore, it would not be sufficient to just produce wrongful loss; there must also be an intention to induce wrongful loss or gain.

Actual delivery of property by the individual who was put in fear of harm must occur for Section 384 to become an offence. 

Delivery of property or valuable security

The crime committed is robbery rather than extortion when a person gives no resistance to the taking of his property out of fear but refuses to provide any of the property to those taking it. Extortion is an illegal act, and it is not finished until the victim delivers the requested item.

The threat does not necessarily have to be used by the same person who receives the property. A single person may make the threat, and the property must be delivered as a result of that threat; therefore, it is not necessary to deliver the property to someone who might make the recipient fear for their safety. Rather, it may be given to anyone at the request of the former and as a result of the threat made. All individuals who threaten someone and deliver something to them are guilty of the crime of extortion.

Any property or valuable security may be transferred in accordance with Section 383, or anything signed or sealed with may be transformed into a valuable security. According to Section 30 of the Code, a “valuable security” is a document that creates, extends, transfers, restricts, extinguishes, or releases any legal rights, or wherein any person recognises that he is subject to legal obligations or does not have a certain legal right.

For instance, if A signs his name on the back of a bill of exchange, the endorsement is considered a “valuable security” since it grants the right to the bill to anyone who may later become its legitimate holder.

Punishment 

Theft 

The penalties for the theft offence are outlined in Sections 379 to 382. Depending on the circumstances of the theft offence, numerous types of punishment are available.

Punishment for theft

Punishment for theft is defined under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code.

According to Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code, the punishment for the crime of theft is either imprisonment for a time that may be up to three years, a fine, or both.

Punishment for theft in certain advancing situations

Theft in dwelling house

Theft in Dwelling Houses is defined under Section 380 of the Indian Penal Code, which states that anyone found guilty of committing the crime of theft in a building or a vessel used as a place of accommodation for people or as a storage facility for property will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that may exceed seven years. They will also be subject to a fine.

The term “dwelling house” refers to any structure or object that a person uses as a place to live, whether temporarily or permanently. For instance, a railway waiting room is a structure that accommodates people. Theft of items from a house’s roof is included in this category.

Theft by servant

Section 381 of the Indian Penal Code defines this. If a servant or clerk steals something that belongs to the master while it is in their employer’s or the master’s possession, they will be penalised with either type of imprisonment for a duration that may last up to seven years and will also be subject to a fine. 

Theft after making preparations to cause death, injury, or restraint in order to conduct the crime

Section 382 of the Indian Penal Code defines that any individual who commits theft while planning to harm, restrain, or restrain someone else in order to commit the theft, to effect his escape after committing the theft, or to retain the property stolen by such an offence will be subject to a rigorous ten-year prison sentence and will also be held accountable for a fine.

Extortion 

Section 384 outlines the penalties for extortion. Anyone found guilty of the crime faces a minimum sentence of three years in prison, a fine, or both.

However, the extortion penalty is distinct; it depends on the severity or conclusion of the extortion offence, which is outlined in later parts.

When extortion is committed by putting someone in fear of injury

Anyone who attempts to put another person in fear of harm will be penalised under Section 385 of the IPC.

The crime is a cognizable one, one that is subject to bail, one that may be tried by any magistrate, and it cannot be compounded. It is a form of preparation for Section 383; if someone is in preparation mode and is caught, the penalty could be up to two years in prison, a fine, or even both.

Because the extortion has not yet been carried out, the punishment is also less in this Section than it is in Section 384, where it would otherwise be.

Components of IPC Section 385

  • A person is put in fear of harm by the criminal or attempts are made to do so.
  • It is intended to commit the crime of extortion.

When extortion is committed by making a victim fear death or severe injury

We previously talked about the fear of harm coming to the individual or a person close to him, but in this case, the intensity of the harm rose under Section 386 of the IPC, which can go as high as the fear of death or grave harm.

According to the section, anyone who commits the crime of extortion by:

  • Creating a person’s fear of dying,
  • Grievous harm done to anybody or anything.

shall get imprisonment up to 10 years or fine or both.

It is a cognizable offence that cannot be compounded, is not subject to bail, and can only be tried by a Magistrate of the First Class.

Components of Section 386

  • Someone is made to fear death or severe harm by the criminal.
  • The offence is purposefully committed by the perpetrator.

When extortion is committed by putting someone in fear of grievous hurt or death

Extortion is a crime that is already covered by Section 386. The IPC’s Section 387 addresses the planning of extortion when someone attempts to put a person in fear of death or great harm to them or to someone else.

According to the Section, the penalty includes a fine and a term of imprisonment of up to seven years. Here, the offence is cognizable, not subject to bail, not subject to compounding, and subject to a first-class magistrate trial.

The only distinction between Sections 386 and 387 is that extortion is already a crime under Section 386. And in Section 387, additional things like fear of death and severe injury remain the same when extortion has not yet been committed.

When extortion is carried out under false pretences of committing an offence that is punished by death or life in prison

We have so far talked about the danger of harm, the danger of death, or the danger of severe harm. However, in accordance with Section 388, a person may threaten another person by accusing them of a crime for which they may receive a life sentence or the death penalty if they do not consent to the same.

When someone is made to fear being charged with a crime

According to Section 389, if someone is instructed to perform extortion or threatens or tries to threaten another person into agreeing to it, they will be accused of committing the crime, which carries a life sentence or the death penalty.

The extortion was already committed in Section 388, which is the only distinction between Sections 388 and 389. By instilling fear of being accused of an offence, a person is attempting to commit the extortion offence in Section 389.

Classification of offences

Theft

The offence of theft is cognizable and non-bailable. Also, it is triable by any magistrate. 

Extortion

Extortion is a crime that can be prosecuted by any magistrate and is non-bailable, compoundable, and triable.

Illustrations

Theft

Some of the illustrations for the offence of theft are:

  • Rahul visited Ajay’s residence. Ajay’s watch was liked by Rahul, who stole it dishonestly and with malicious purpose. The crime of theft was committed by Rahul.
  • Hemant came upon a gold ring lying on the ground while he was going along the road. Hemant searched the area but was unable to locate the owner of the gold ring. He takes the ring and sells it to his colleague’s business. Hemant is liable for criminal misappropriation even if he hasn’t really committed the crime of theft.
  • Ramu went to his uncle’s garden and cut down the mango tree in order to grab it from there. Ramu prepared to leave for his house after loading the tree onto a vehicle. Ramu’s uncle apprehended him and informed the police that he had committed the crime of theft. Ramu has committed theft.
  • Monika truly feels that Seema is the rightful owner of her iPhone 11 Pro. Without Tina’s permission, Monika removes the iPhone from her possession. Monika is exempt from liability for theft since she genuinely thinks the item is hers.

Extortion

Some of the illustrations for the offence of extortion are:

  • If Z doesn’t give A money, A threatens to publish a false statement about Z. As a result, he convinces Z to give him money. A has engaged in extortion.
  • A threatens Z, saying that unless Z signs and delivers to A a promissory note requiring Z to pay specific sums of money to A, he will put Z’s child in wrongful confinement. Z delivers the note and signs it. A has engaged in extortion.
  • A convinces Z to sign and deliver the bond by threatening to send clubmen to plough up Z’s field if Z doesn’t agree to sign a bond obligating Z to deliver specific produce to B. A has engaged in extortion.
  • Z is deceitfully persuaded by A to sign or seal a piece of blank paper and give it to him by being made to fear suffering great harm. Z signs the document and gives it to A. In this case, the signed paper might become a useful security. A has engaged in extortion.

Case laws 

Theft 

  • According to Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code, illegally extracting minerals from mines or violating permit requirements while doing so constitutes theft. The High Court of Kerala rendered this auspicious decision in the case of Shybi C.J. v. State of Kerala and others, 2020. The Court held that, 

The precedents aforementioned leave no room for doubt that illegal extraction of granite, without a requisite permit or in violation of the permit conditions, will amount to theft.”

  • The question in Niraj Dhar Dubey v. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2016) was whether or not an employee of the corporation could copy software that belonged to the company originally in violation of Sections 378 and 381 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Court came to the decision that copied software does not constitute theft since it lacks the necessary elements of theft. The court further stated that Section 381’s prerequisites were also missing. As a result, the person’s charges were dropped. Consent is always considered to be an essential element of what makes anything stolen. Theft can occur only when the person in possession does not consent.
  • In a case of Birla Corporation Ltd v. Adventz Investments & Holdings Ltd & Ors, 2019 the Supreme Court of india held that “Temporary removal of original papers for the purpose of copying the information contained in them in another media would thus fulfil the condition of “moving” property, which is the offence of theft as defined by Section 378 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code.”

The ruling adhered to the rule established by its earlier precedents, which said that it is not necessary to permanently remove movable goods from another person’s possession with the aim of keeping them that way in order to commit theft. If he removed any movable property from another person’s possession with the intention of returning it later, that would meet the criteria. According to the Apex Court, the loss need not be caused by a permanent deprivation of property but may even be caused by a temporary dispossession, even if the person taking it meant to restore it sooner or later. A temporary period of being deprived of or in possession of another person’s property results in a loss for that person.

Extortion

  • In the case of Anil B. Nandakarni & Ors. v. Amitesh Kumar (2001), the defendant argued that one of the conditions for an accused to be found guilty of the crime of extortion under the IPC is that the victim must have transferred property to the defendant while under duress or fear of harm. He cannot be found guilty of the crime of extortion because no valuable property was transferred to the accused. The Honourable Bombay High Court rejected the defendant’s argument. According to the Court’s ruling, it is not essential to demonstrate that all of the requirements are met in order to find someone guilty of the crime of extortion. Not every element necessary to establish an offence should be included in a complaint. The Court, while citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Rajesh Bajaj vs. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors. concluded that it is sufficient to prosecute the accused for extortion if the victim is able to establish and build a solid case that the accused committed the crime. The complainant is not rendered susceptible if one or more requirements for the offence are not satisfied.
  • The Honourable High Court of Bombay has ruled in Lalit Vilasrao Thakare v. The State of Maharashtra, (2018) that merely obtaining someone’s signature or thumbprint on blank paper, even if done forcefully, may not constitute extortion. This claim is supported by the Court’s explanation that, in accordance with Section 383 of the IPC, a piece of blank paper cannot be turned into any kind of valuable asset. Additionally, the Court in the same case held that one of the most crucial requirements for committing the crime of extortion under Section 283 of the IPC is that any property or a valuable security must be delivered to anyone, or it is to get anything signed or sealed that may later be converted into a valuable security. The Court ruled the accused to be innocent with regard to the extortion offence under Section 383 of the IPC because it was of the opinion that any blank document with only a person’s signature or thumbprint on it cannot be converted into a valuable security. He was also released from the punishment that he had been given by a lower court under Section 327 of the IPC since the charge of extortion against the accused was not proven by the pertinent circumstances of the case.
  • In a recent case Shatrughan Singh Sahu v. State of Chhattisgarh & Ors., (2021), the Chhattisgarh high court ruled that in order to establish an act of “extortion,” the prosecution had to show that the victim had willingly given up any specific property to the person who had put him in fear of harm. The most key element required to commit the crime of “extortion” would not be there if there was no handover of property. Furthermore, a “extortion” crime cannot be deemed to have been committed if a person voluntarily provides any property without being in fear of harm. It is clear that the alleged violation of Section 384 of the IPC has been quashed because the accused did not hand over any valuable assets in exchange for money or other benefits. 

Analysis of difference between theft and extortion

The difference between theft and extortion is:

  • Extortion is the unlawful obtaining of consent whereas theft is the taking of property without the owner’s consent.
  • Only movable property can be the target of theft whereas extortion may also target immovable property as well as “valuable property,” therefore it is not just limited to movable goods that might be the target of this crime.
  • In theft, the victim’s property is taken, whereas in extortion, the victim’s property is transferred to the culprit.
  • While theft does not involve the use of force, threats, or bringing of fear in the victim, extortion does. The victim is deceitfully made to fear harm to himself or others in order to part with their property. Theft, force, and even violence are all components of extortion.
  • The goal of theft is always to take something without the owner’s permission. Extortion is a crime that is committed by suppressing the owner’s will.
  • Only dishonest intent is evident in the act of the accused in theft, and in extortion, the accused also threatens harm or even death to the owner or possessor in addition to having dishonest intent.
  • On occasion, theft overlaps with cheating, criminal misappropriation, and criminal breach of trust. Extortion never overlaps with other crimes like theft, fraud, criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, etc. Blackmail and force are the only two things required for extortion. To meet its demands, it may occasionally also include wrongful confinement.
  • The Indian Penal Code defines “theft” in Section 378 and “extortion” in Section 383 of the Code.
  • Three years in prison and/or a fine are the punishments for both theft and extortion.

Table of differences 

BasicsTheftExtortion
ConsentMovable property is taken away without owners consent in theftConsent of person is obtained wrongfully by coercion
SubjectMatterTheft is of Movable property onlyIt may be movable or immovable property
Number of OffendersIt can be committed by one personIt can be committed by one or more person
ForceThere is no element of force or compulsionForce or compulsion exists in extortion, the person being put in fear of injury to himself or to any other persons
Element of FearElement of fear is absentElement of fear is present
Delivery of PropertyThere is no delivery of property by the victimThere is delivery of property by the victim
PunishmentPunished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine or with both (Section 379)Punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine or with both (Section 384)
ExampleA person who is Z’s servant and whom Z has entrusted with the safekeeping of Z’s plate dishonestly steals the plate without Z’s permission. A is guilty of theft.If Z does not donate money to A, A threatens to publish a false statement about Z. As a result, he convinces Z to give him money. A has committed extortion.

Conclusion 

For people to live peacefully and without fear of losing their lives, limbs, or property, peace and order must be maintained in every community. The primary goal of criminal law is to protect and uphold certain fundamental social institutions and values. To this end, it establishes a set of standards for acceptable human conduct, forbids certain behaviours, and specifies penalties for violating these standards and standards-of-behaviour.

Finally, to wrap up the subject, let me note that extortion and theft are two distinct crimes that involve property. The use of force is present in theft by extortion but not in thefts, which is the primary distinction between theft and robbery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, can someone be charged for theft of immovable property?

No, the crime of theft does not apply to immovable property. For crimes against immovable property, a person may be charged with trespass, criminal misappropriation, or criminal breach of trust.

How is blackmail different from extortion?

Another form of extortion is blackmail, and many people believe that the two expressions refer to the same thing. However, blackmail differs from other forms of coercion in a fundamental way. Blackmail, for one thing, doesn’t involve making threats of harm to people or property. Instead, it makes a threat to reveal facts that could be harmful to one’s reputation.

Can a person steal their own property?

Yes, a person can steal their own stuff, is the straightforward response. This may seem contradictory, as a person in possession of property has unrestricted enjoyment rights, but occasionally, a person may own the title to a property but not the enjoyment rights. When a piece of property is pawned, the real owner still owns it, but he is unable to use it, so a situation like this could occur. If the true owner steals the item back in that situation, it will be seen as theft.

Can a wife, clerk or a  servant commit theft?

According to Section 27 of the IPC, when a person’s wife, clerk, or servant is in possession of property on their behalf, it is in their possession within the meaning of the IPC. As a result, a wife, servant, or clerk cannot commit theft because they are still in possession of the property. However, there are some exceptions to this Section 27, which are explained by the following examples:

  1. Z’s wife is asked for a donation by A. She provides A with cash, food, and clothing, all of which A is aware belong to Z, her husband. Here, it’s likely that A will assume that Z’s wife is permitted to distribute alms.  If A believed this, then A has not committed theft here.
  2. The wife of Z is A’s lover. She transfers a substantial asset that A is aware belonged to her husband Z and over which she has no legal authority from Z. A commits theft if he takes the items dishonestly. 

Because there is no malicious intent, theft has not occurred in Example 1. On the other hand, theft is committed in the second illustration since the dishonest motive is visible.

  1. Being Z’s servant and given responsibility for the plate, A secretly flees with the plate without Z’s permission. A is guilty of Theft.
  2. Z, who is leaving on a trip, gives A, the warehouse keeper, custody of his plate until he returns. A sells the plate after delivering it to a jeweller. In this case, Z was not in possession of the plate. Considering that it was impossible to take it from Z’s possession, A hasn’t stolen anything, although he might have broken the law by committing criminal breach of trust.

Z already transferred the possession to the warehouse keeper in the 4th example, so theft was not committed because property must leave a person’s possession to commit theft. In this example, three servants’ possessions are equal to Z’s possession, which is why theft is committed.

What are the most effective examples of permitted theft and extortion?

For example, a $72 parking ticket has been issued for illegally parking on a roadway within specific hours. In contrast, not a single sign was visible anywhere within a square mile of this street parking, where many people parked that day. Following the adoption of a rule declaring it unlawful to park on some public streets between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., the city simply chose to arbitrarily issue parking violations. According to state law, citizens of any city are not required to be familiar with their local laws but are required to be familiar with state laws. As a result, the person who committed the violation should not be cited before being warned of the local legislation. When it comes to informing drivers of its own imposed laws, the city must abide by state regulations. In this case, this means posting a sign that reads, “No Parking Between the Hours of 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.”

In addition to breaking state law, the city is also stealing money when it issues this ticket based on false preferences and refuses to have it removed. This first part of your question is therefore answered by the city’s actions.

In the event that the fine is not paid, the amount of the fine doubles several more times, just like we would like our stock to do. The second half of your question about extortion is answered by the fact that if the victim still doesn’t pay the fine, the car will be seized and sold at auction, or the owner won’t be able to get a registration, and eventually impounding becomes unavoidable.

If I found someone’s mobile phone on the road and then tried to give it back to its owner in exchange for Rs 1000, but the owner refused to pay me so I kept it for me. Can I face legal consequences?

Let me be clear on this. Extortion occurs when you ask a stranger to pay you in order to get his own property back. It is considered theft if you keep something valuable while knowing that it belongs to someone else. So, you simply committed theft and extortion.

Can there be a theft of a deceased body?

Since a deceased individual is no longer capable of taking ownership of items, there is no theft in the case of a dead person. And possession is a main element of theft. The following are some key details relating to theft and the body of the deceased:

  1. A car accident has occurred which involved two people on the road. One passed away instantly, while the other was still alive. The car was seen by another person who was travelling down the same road. He approached the car and observed the individual who had removed all the jewels from the deceased person’s body before reporting the incident to the authorities. Because the victim of the theft is still alive, the theft was committed. When someone passed away, possession of that person’s belongings passed to the living individual.
  2. If there is only one individual in the example above, and he dies, the other facts are the same as point 1. Theft would therefore not occur under those circumstances.
  3. If Someone passed away, and his family buried him. B then returned to the scene, removed the body, and removed his organ. Because the body is not in someone’s custody, this is not theft.

Why paying taxes to the government is not considered as theft or extortion, because if you refuse to pay there is a real threat of violence from the government.

One of the main functions of any government is to provide services to its citizens. In order to pay for these services, the government must generate revenue, which is obtained through taxes (in their many forms). Therefore, the payment of taxes to the government is not considered theft or extortion. 

References 


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