405. Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property, dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use that property, or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of any legal contract, express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or wilfully suffers any other person to do so, commits “criminal breach of trust”.
A, being executor to the will of a deceased person, dishonestly disobeys the law which directs him to divide the effects according to the will, and appropriates them to his own use. A has committed criminal breach of trust.
A is a warehouse-keeper. Z, going on a journey, entrusts his furniture to A, under a contract that it shall be returned on payment of a stipulated sum for warehouse room. A dishonestly sells the goods. A has committed breach of trust.
A, residing in Singapore, is agent for Z, residing in Penang. There is an express or implied contract between A and Z that all sums remitted by Z to A shall be invested by A according to Z’s direction. Z remits $5,000 to A, with directions to A to invest the same in Government securities. A dishonestly disobeys the direction, and employs the money in his own business. A has committed criminal breach of trust.
But if A, in the last illustration, not dishonestly, but in good faith, believing that it will be more for Z’s advantage to hold shares in the Bank X, disobeys Z’s directions, and buys shares in the Bank X for Z, instead of buying Government securities, here, though Z should suffer loss and should be entitled to bring a civil action against A on account of that loss, yet A, not having acted dishonestly, has not committed criminal breach of trust.
A, a collector of Government money, or a clerk in a Government office, is entrusted with public money, and is either directed by law, or bound by a contract, express or implied, with the Government, to pay into a certain treasury all the public money which he holds. A dishonestly appropriates the money. A has committed criminal breach of trust.
A, a carrier, is entrusted by Z with property to be carried by land or by water. A dishonestly misappropriates the property. A has committed criminal breach of trust.
[Indian PC 1860, s. 405]