Criminal Breach of Trust – Section 405 of Indian Penal Code, 1860


According to the very religious and venerable text named Shrimad Bhagwat Gita, it is said that humans are those who used to live their life on a pillar called trust, they keep their trust in anything or anybody such as on the words of great personality, knowledge of the religious text, etiquette given by parents, family or friends, but when they are betrayed by someone they land in a depressed or sorrowful stage and suffers bad situations and then they regret of trusting. Therefore, Gita provides the solution and teaches us that one must not trust anyone except on his own mind because trust in others may result in the breach which only provides pain and lessons but keeping trust in the own mind provides the benefits of achieving satisfaction and desires in one’s life. But in the present scenario, if anyone is betrayed by any person and a breach of trust is committed then there is no remedy provided by the law if it is not a criminal breach of trust.


In a general sense, the criminal breach of trust is an offence and a kind of breach where the trust of a person is exploited or destroyed by the other with criminal intent and dishonest intention or using such trust in the benefit of their owner personal purpose.

The definition and the meaning contained under the Indian Penal code,1860 provided slightly different concepts with some conditions indicating the requirements for considering it as an offence. Section 405 provides such definition and the meaning of the criminal breach of trust in which it states that whenever any person is delegated or authorized any property or dominion over it for any purpose or occupies any property for his personal use or deceitful uses any property or destroys of such property and such trust is exploited in contravention of the guidance in the form of prescribing law or any legal contract either expressly or impliedly provided by the owner of the property and such breaking down of trust is willful which makes any person suffered.

This section simply leads that if any person lends any property either movable or immovable to any person for a certain period of time, for example, a person plans to go on a vacation far from his residence so he decided to keep his furniture by paying to a furniture shop for maintaining it and if such shop uses such furniture in the way in which it gets destroyed and damaged, then it shall be the criminal breach of trust under this section. Another example to understand this offence is that a regular running trust into which a person kept his personal property to transport it in a certain place and so as to pick it from such a place he left and went out. But in his absence, the truck driver used his property while moving onto the destination place.


Section 405 of Indian Penal code,1860 shall only be applicable where there is a relation of the consignment or authorization of the property by any person to another and trust must be presented between them in the context of such property, also such trust must be violated.

  • In any establishment, wherein employees contribute money for their funds to the employer and he misappropriates such money and if he does so with his dishonest intentions then he shall be liable for the offence under this section.
  • Likewise, employees give the money for contributions for the state insurance fund and the employer dishonest misappropriates such money, it shall be called a criminal breach of trust. Also any establishment under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, in which the employees contributed and employer reduced the number of such contributions, also shall lead to the offense of criminal breach of trust. In the case of Employees State Insurance Corporation vs S.K Aggarwal, the supreme court laid down that definition of employer consists of principal employees under the meaning given in the Employee State Insurance Act and in the context of the company, the employer shall not include the directors and the owner of the factory.

The essentials are provided for clarity and a better understanding of the concept and also the essentials indicate the requirements of the concept. Therefore, the essentials of the offence criminal breach of trust are as follows along with its brief explanation-

  • The person must be authorized with any property-

The offense under section 405 requires to have the accused to be authorized by any property from the owner of such property. It is very compulsory that the accused must be consigned by any property which may be movable property or immovable property. The accused must be entrusted by the property and such must be authorized by the real owner of such property. In the case of Jaswant Rai Manilal Akhaney vs the State of Bombay, it was laid down by the court that since entrustment leads the securities contained by the bank for certain purposes and likewise, in the company, directors are consigned by the properties as they are somehow considered to be the trustee of the company but wherein the payment of money is delivered from the illicit or unlawful means or mode, then it would not have amounted as the offence of criminal breach of trust under IPC. In the case of Sardar Singh vs the State of Haryana

, it was held by the supreme court that the method or approach used for the dishonest misappropriation is not so significant to held liable under this section but there must be the authorization of property to the accused and trust rely upon between the victim and the accused.

  • The person must dishonest misappropriates, etc the property which he has been entrusted-

This section also requires that the accused must have committed any of the following acts such as dishonesty misappropriates the property, conversion of the property, uses the property, and disclosure of the property. These four acts are provided in the section which is essential for the criminal breach of trust. Here, dishonest misappropriation refers to the misuse of the entrusted property of the property owner, conversion refers to converting any entrusted property, uses refers to apply in the use of the entrusted property, and dispose of refers to disposing or damaging any property.

In the case of Pratibha vs Suraj Kumar, the court held the in-laws of the victim liable for the offence of criminal breach of trust as they used the property and owned it, which was the stridhan of the victim.

In the case of R.K Dalmia vs Delhi Administration, 1962, there were two partners, among which one was authorized to collect the money from the public but after collecting such he used it for his personal use, the court held him guilty under this section and in this case court interpreted the term property.

In the case of Krishna Kumar vs Union of India, it was held by the court accused who was an assistant storekeeper in the CTO (Central Tracker Organization) at Delhi was in the duty and while doing so he was provided some goods and his duty was to send those to CTO but such goods were not been received by CTO. The court held the assistant storekeeper guilty under the offence of criminal breach of trust.

  • It is essential that there must be a violation of trust created by the person whom the property entrusted. Also, such violation must be contrary and against the law or prescribed instructions as well as the prescribed instructions must be expressed or implied by the property owner who entrusted the property to the trust violator.
  • Lastly, the most essential part is that the person who has been consigned or authorized for the property by the owner of such property, must dishonestly misappropriate, converts use or dispose of such property wilfully or with the wrong intention.

The punishment provided against the crime of criminal breach of trust is given under Section 406. It is given that any person who commits the crime of criminal breach of trust shall be liable for imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or shall be liable for fine or both.

In the case of Roshan Lal Raina vs State of Jammu Kashmir, 1983, the court held that the punishment under section 406 is provided if the entrustment of property is proved and accused shall be punishable under this section if it is proved that he was entrusted or authorized for the property.


In the context of the provisions contained under IPC, there are three kinds of criminal breach of trust is given along with its punishment mentioned under section 407, 408, and 409 that are as follows-

  • It is the first kind which is the criminal breach of trust committed by any carrier, wharfinger, or warehouse keeper then he shall be punished under section 407 with the imprisonment of a term may extend up to seven years and fine liability.
  • Secondly, Any criminal breach of trust committed by clerk or servant shall be punished under Section 408 of IPC in which he shall be punished with the imprisonment of a term may extend up to seven years and fine liability.
  • And lastly, the third kind is the criminal breach of trust committed by the public servant or banker or merchant or any agent shall be punished under section 409 of IPC in which he shall be punished with the imprisonment of a term may extend up to ten years and fine liability.

In the case of Vishwa Nath vs State of Jammu and Kashmir, the court held the head constable guilty for the offense of criminal breach of trust under section 409. The constable has consigned the government money which he peculated and used for his personal use and punished for the simple or rigorous imprisonment up to ten years as well as imposed the fine liability on him.


The offense of criminal breach of trust is the offense against property given under section 405 of Indian Penal code,1860. It contains many essentials such as entrustment of property, dishonest misappropriation of property or uses or converts or disposes of, violation of the trust, etc. And section 406 provides the punishment against the offence of criminal breach of trust that is imprisonment up to three years or fine or both. This type of crime is often committed in companies, banks, any other kind of establishments, or any place where a relationship of trust is created.

Also Read: Voyeurism Under the Indian Penal Code – Section 354C

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