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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
Supreme Court Guidelines
Criminal Breach of Trust

M/s. Indian Oil Corporation v. M/s. NEPC Ltd., AIR 2006 SC 2780: (2006) 6 SCC 736

A careful reading of the section shows that a criminal breach of trust involves the following ingredients:

(a) a person should have been entrusted with property, or entrusted with dominion over property;

(b) that person should dishonestly misappropriate or convert to his own use that property, or dishonestly use or dispose of that property or willfully ask any other person to do so;

(c) that such misappropriation, conversion, use or disposal should be in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of any legal contract which the person has made, touching the discharge of such trust.

The following are examples (which include the illustrations under section 405) where there is 'entrustment':

(i) An 'Executor' of a Will, with reference to the estate of the deceased bequeathed to legatees.

(ii) A 'Guardian' with reference to a property of a minor or person of unsound mind.

(iii) A 'Trustee' holding a property in trust, with reference to the beneficiary.

(iv) A 'Warehouse Keeper' with reference to the goods stored by depositor.

(v) A carrier with reference to goods entrusted for transport belonging to the consignor/consignee.

(vi) A servant or agent with reference to the property of the master or principal.

(vii) A pledgee with reference to the goods pledged by the owner/borrower.

(viii) A debtor, with reference to a property held in trust on behalf of the creditor in whose favour he has executed a deed of pledge-cum-trust. (Under such a deed, the owner pledges his movable property, generally vehicle/machinery to the creditor, thereby delivering possession of the movable property to the creditor and the creditor in turns delivers back the pledged movable property to the debtor, to be held in trust and operated by the debtor).

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