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Criminal breach of trust under BNS (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita)

Updated: Feb 20


Criminal Breach of Trust, as outlined in Section 316 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (BNS) addresses the offence of violation of trust related to property matters. In this article, we will focus on the ingredients of Section 316 BNS, examining its definition, key elements, punishment, relevant cases, and the application of this section in various scenarios.

Key Elements of Section 316 BNS:

To establish an offense under Section 316 BNS, the following elements must be present:

1. Entrustment of Property:

- There should be a clear transfer of property ownership, creating a fiduciary relationship where the entrusted person holds the property on behalf of the transferor.

2. Dishonest Misuse:

- The accused must dishonestly misuse the property, violating the duties committed to them in the entrusted relationship.

Criminal breach of trust occurs when the accused, for personal gain, misappropriates or converts another person's property that was entrusted to them. This breach often involves a relationship between a transferor (owner) and a transferee (person holding the property), where legal ownership remains with the transferor, but custody or control is with the transferee for the benefit of the transferor or another person.

Proofs Admissible under Section 316 BNS:

1. Establishing Beneficial Ownership:

- The prosecution must demonstrate the beneficial ownership of the property and that the accused held the property on behalf of the other party.

2. Custody vs. Ownership:

- It should be evident that while the transferee has custody of the property, the transferor remains the rightful owner.

3. Intent to Commit a Criminal Breach:

- Proving the accused's intention to commit a criminal breach is crucial for seeking punishment under Section 316 BNS.

Cases Related to Section 316 of BNS which were decided in context of Section 406 of IPC.

1. Rashmi Kumar vs. Mahesh Kumar Bhada:

   - The Supreme Court ruled that dishonestly misappropriating a wife's stridhan for personal benefit constitutes a criminal breach of trust.

2. State of Gujarat vs. Jaswantlal Nathalal:

- The Supreme Court clarified that "entrustment" under the section of criminal breach of trust implies that the person transferring the property remains the owner.

3. State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Babu Ram:

- The Supreme Court held that if an entrusted person removes money notes without consent, it constitutes a criminal breach of trust.

FAQs on Section 316 of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) - Criminal Breach of Trust:

Q1: What is Criminal Breach of Trust under Section 316 BNS?

A1: Criminal Breach of Trust under Section 316 BNS refers to the offense of dishonestly misusing property entrusted to an individual, violating the fiduciary relationship created during the transfer of property ownership.

Q2: What are the key elements of Section 316 BNS?

A2: The key elements include the entrustment of property, establishing a fiduciary relationship, and dishonest misuse of the property by the accused for personal gain.

Q3: What proofs are admissible under Section 316 BNS?

A4: Proofs include establishing beneficial ownership, differentiating between custody and ownership, and demonstrating the accused's intent to commit a criminal breach.

Q4: Can you provide examples of cases related to Section 316 of BNS?

A4: Yes, notable cases include Rashmi Kumar vs. Mahesh Kumar Bhada, where misappropriating a wife's stridhan constituted a criminal breach of trust, and State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Babu Ram, where removing money notes without consent led to a criminal breach of trust.

Criminal breach of trust under BNS (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita)

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