Section 379 IPC: Essential Elements of the Section

by Mansi Gehrana · 3 min read

Section 379 IPC


  • The Indian Penal Code 1860 lists offenses against property in addition to those against people, the State, marriage, and public order. 
  • The Code’s Chapter 17 contains several provisions. These crimes include theft, extortion, robbery, dacoity, and various aggravating versions of these offenses. 
  • Theft is the most fundamental and pervasive crime against property under the IPC. Criminal law deals with Section 379 IPC

What is Theft?

The dishonest removal of moveable goods “out of the custody of any person” without that person’s agreement constitutes theft, according to Section 378 of the IPC. The Code provides 16 examples to go along with each of the five explanations for the aforementioned definition.

Intent (in any form, such as dishonesty) is a key factor in theft. However, Section 378 (Illustration Clause “p”) implies that if something is taken in reliance on a claim of right, the thing taken cannot be dishonest if the claim is just, legitimate, and fair. Thus, such taking cannot be regarded as larceny. Theft is punishable under Section 379 IPC.

Section 379 IPC at a Glance

According to Section 379 IPC, theft is punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine, or both. The punishments for theft in aggravating circumstances are more severe in the parts that follow. For instance, theft in a structure, tent, or vessel used for habitation or habitation is prohibited by Section 380 of the IPC. This clause’s objective is to make residential dwellings’ contents more secure. This carries a fine and a possible prison sentence of up to 7 years.

Nature of Section 379 IPC is Non-bailable & Cognizable, Non- Compoundable offences & Triable by Magistrate.

Essential Elements of Section 379 IPC

There are various components or prerequisites for the crime of theft. All of these conditions must be completed for the theft offense to be considered complete. If any of them are missing, the theft is not considered to have occurred. The following are the essential elements of theft that must be established in any specific case in order to subject a person to punishment under Section 379 IPC, which specifies the penalty for stealing:

  • Willful intent to steal property- The main element that makes the crime of theft punishable under Section 379 IPC is that the criminal must have malicious intent in order to commit theft. With dishonest purpose, the criminal typically causes the victim to sustain unjust losses while making an erroneous profit.

One of the key elements in the crime of stealing is the dishonest intent to take property. The purpose is one of the most important criteria for judging whether or not an act qualifies as theft. The intent to steal shall exist at the time when the property is moved.

The onus is entirely on the prosecution to prove that the defendant intended to act dishonestly. If the accused did not plan to steal, they are not guilty of doing so.

  • Movable Property- The second important element of Section 379 IPC is Movable Property. Rather than being stationary, the stolen goods must always be mobile.

Therefore, it is illegal to steal real estate, structures, or other goods. Things affixed to the earth that cannot be moved are not subject to theft. If they are cut loose from the ground, Section 378 may apply to them as mobile property. For instance, trees are immovable property, but cutting them down and taking them away constitutes theft.

  • Taking control of the property without permission- The prosecutor need only be in charge of the relevant property; he is not required to be the owner. In addition, the offender must purposefully take the property out of the prosecutor’s control. 

This means that taking possession of a piece of property is necessary for addition to simply claiming ownership of it.

Second, he must seize the property without the prosecutor’s permission. This agreement may be explicitly stated or implicit. Without this element, the offender cannot be punished under  Section 379 IPC. 

  • The item has to be moved– The property must be moved in order for the thief to complete the crime and take ownership of it. To put it another way, he needs to move it under his true control; just having physical possession is insufficient. 

Moving is the removal of an impediment that is preventing the object from moving. For instance, it is theft to just drive a car out of a garage after opening the doors to it.

Therefore, these are the essential elements that, in combination, make the offender liable for punishment under Section 379 IPC. Always take Legal Consultation from a criminal expert in case of the offense under Section 379 IPC. 

Difference between Extortion & Theft 

The delivery of goods is a crucial factor in determining the difference between theft and extortion. When a property is taken or removed without the owner’s consent, it is considered to have been stolen. The illicit transfer of property with consent while generating fear is known as extortion.

Extortion can be applied to both stationary and moving targets. But only a mobile object can be the intended victim of theft. 

Another key characteristic that sets the item apart is the way it is delivered. In the case of theft, the property is stolen by the criminal without the owner’s consent. As a result, we can conclude that in a theft, the criminal took the object, and the method of delivery indicates that the thief intended to be dishonest.

Difference between Larceny & Theft 

The unlawful stealing of another person’s personal property with the intention of depriving them of it is referred to as larceny. Grand larceny is typically a felony, whereas petty or simple larceny typically involves the theft of items valued at less than the local threshold for grand larceny. Contrarily, theft occurs when someone takes another person’s property with the intent of denying the property’s lawful owner.

It can be inferred that larceny is a sort of theft that only applies to personal property as a result. Larceny is included in the definition of theft, which is a general term. Therefore, it can be concluded that Larceny & Theft are different offenses.


According to Indian criminal law, theft is a crime that is sanctioned by Section 379 IPC. All the necessary components, or criteria, must be present for something to be considered theft. The basic elements of Section 379 IPC should be fulfilled for punishing an offender who is a crime under Section 378 IPC. Take Legal Advice in case of any issue related to Section 379 IPC. 

The difference between extortion and larceny is theft. Additionally, there are more severe forms of stealing, such as robbery and dacoity. Any theft involves intent, which is crucial. This is because if you don’t intend to steal in the first place, you can’t steal. Therefore, merely removing something from someone’s possession without having any ulterior motives is not stealing. 

To know more about the offense of Section 379 IPC, consult a Lawyer.

Mansi Gehrana

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Mansi Gehrana

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