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Section 406 IPC

Section 406 - Punishment for Criminal Breach of Trust

Section 406 IPC states punishment for committing criminal breach of trust. 

The section states as, “Whoever commits criminal breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

The offence of criminal breach of trust is defined under section 405 of the Indian Penal Code (pdf)

According to the code, in order to constitute the offence of criminal breach of trust, it must be proved that the accused was entrusted with the property or with the dominating power over the property of some other person which he dishonestly converted it to his own use.

In simple words, we can say that Criminal Breach of Trust occurs when an offence is committed by the accused in the beneficial interest of the property, by making or converting the property of some other person, for his own use.

A relationship is formed between the transferor and transferee of the property. In which the transferor remains the legal owner of the property, but the transferee holds the custody or possession of the property for the benefit of the transferor himself or some other person. 


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Section 406 Indian Penal Code provides punishment in case of any breach of trust. Some major ingredients to constitute the offence  Sec. 406 IPC are as follows:

  • The accused must be entrusted with property or with the dominion power over that property.

  • The person entrusted must dishonestly misappropriate or converted the property for his own use.

  • The person entrusted dishonestly used or dispose of the property or wilfully suffer any person to do so.

Here entrustment plays a major role in establishing the offence of criminal breach of trust. If there is no entrustment, there can be no offence under Sec. 406 Indian Penal Code. The term ‘entrustment’ means handing over the possession of a thing for some purpose. 

Entrustment may be made in any manner. It is necessary that the accused should receive the property and hold it on behalf of another person so that he should be called as a trustee of the said property. 

The act of committing criminal breach of trust should be done intentionally and not by any accident or any coincidence. There must be entrustment, conversion, or misappropriation to use one’s property. In these cases, every payment in terms of money by one person to another does not amount to an entrustment unless there are other circumstances. 

The very common situation is of a married woman. It is no hard and fast rule that once the woman enters her in-laws' house, the ownership of stridhan becomes the joint property of her husband. It is t be understood that the husband and his parents as the trustees of the property are bound to return the same to the woman when demanded by her

The term of punishment for committing an offence of criminal breach of trust is provided under IPC 406. The accused shall be liable to imprisonment for 3 years, or with fine or with both, as the case may be.

Criminal breach of trust is a non-bailable and cognizable offence, which is triable by Magistrate of the first class. Also, this offence is compoundable by the owner of the property in respect of which breach of trust has been committed, with the permission of the court. 

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