Stolen property has been defined as that property which has been stolen, extorted or robbed, or which has been obtained by criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust. The transfer of possession of the property by any of the modes stated above is a must. It is of no consequence at all whether the transfer has been made, or the misappropriation or breach of trust has been committed, within India or without India. If stolen property later on comes into the possession of someone who is legally entitled to its possession, then that property does not remain stolen property any more.
According to section 27, Indian Sale of Goods Act, 1930 a person who buys stolen property in good faith does not acquire any ownership in it. The words ‘whether the transfer has been made, or the misappropriation or breach of trust has been committed, within or without India’ were added by Act VIII of 1882. These have considerably widened the scope of the provision. Where a person handed over a stolen watch to the accused in presence of the police who then went through the formality of seizing the same from him, it was held that the accused could not be held guilty of possessing stolen property.
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