SECTION 403 IPC : Dishonest misappropriation of property: Anyone found guilty of dishonestly taking or converting any transportable property for their own use faces up to two years in prison, a fine, or a combination of the two.


(a) A takes property that belongs to Z out of Z’s possession in good faith, believing that the property belongs to him at the time of the take. A is not guilty of stealing, but he is in violation of this section if, after realizing his error, he dishonestly appropriates the property for his own use.

(b) A visits Z’s library while Z is away because they are friendly and takes a book without Z’s express permission. In this case, if A believed that he had Z’s implied permission to take the book for the purpose of reading it, then A has not engaged in stealing. However, A is in violation of this provision if he later sells the book for his personal gain.

(c) A and B are co-owners of a horse, and A removes the horse from B’s care with the intention of using it. Here, A does not dishonestly misappropriate the horse because he has a right to utilize it. However, A is in violation of this clause if he sells the horse and keeps the entire profit for himself. First Explanation. A dishonest misappropriation within the meaning of this section is one that occurs for a brief period of time.

Illustration: A discovers a government promissory note with a blank endorsement that belonged to Z. Knowing that Z is the rightful owner of the note, A gives it to a banker as security for a loan with the intention of returning it to Z in the future. A has broken the law according to this section. 2. explanation A person who finds property that is not in the possession of another person and takes it to protect it for, or to return it to, the owner, does not take it dishonestly, and is not in violation of the law; however, he is in violation of the law if he appropriates the property for his or her own use while knowing who the owner is, or before using reasonable means to find and notify the owner, and before doing so. It depends on the circumstances as to what constitutes acceptable measures or a reasonable amount of time. It is sufficient if, at the time of appropriating it, the finder does not believe it to be his own property or in good faith believes that the genuine owner cannot be discovered. It is not essential for the finder to know who the owner of the property is or that any specific person is the owner.


(A) A discovers a rupee on a high road, but is unsure of its owner. A takes the rupee in hand. In this case, A has not violated the laws outlined in this section.

(b) A discovers a letter with a bank note inside on the highway. He determines who the message belongs to based on the letter’s direction and substance. He keeps the note for himself. He has violated this section’s offense definition.

(c) A discovers a check made out to the bearer. He is unable to speculate as to who might have misplaced the check. However, the person’s name who drew the check is visible. A is aware that this person can point him in the direction of the person for whose benefit the check was written. A appropriates the check without making an effort to identify the owner. He has committed a violation of this section.

(d) Z drops his wallet in front of A. A picks up the handbag with the idea of giving it back to Z, but he later keeps it for himself. A has broken the law according to this section.

(e) A finds a bag containing money without knowing to whom it belongs; he later learns that it belongs to Z and takes it for himself. A has committed a crime in violation of this section.

(f) A discovers a priceless ring, but is unsure of its owner. A instantly sells it without making an effort to track down the owner. A has committed a crime in violation of this section.

DEFINITION OF THE OFFENSE Punishment: Two years in prison, a fine, or both; non-cognizable; bailable; triable before any magistrate; compoundable by the owner of the property wrongfully taken with the court’s permission. comments theft or property conversion that is dishonest The phrase “converts to his own use” inevitably implies using or managing the property in violation of the owner’s rights; State of Madras v. Ramaswami Nadar, AIR 1958 SC 56. Ingreidents It has been determined that the terms “dishonestly” and “misappropriate” are essential elements of a section 403 offense. Any disagreement only of a civil nature is one involving the recovery of money. Therefore, it is not possible to maintain a criminal complaint over this situation. Jharkhand State v. U. Dhar, AIR 2003 SC 974.


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