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The Latin maxim, ‘Animus Furandi’ under the criminal law means the intention to steal. This article explains the meaning and application of the legal term with the help of illustration and case laws.
Origin and Meaning
Animus Furandi is a legal term of Latin origin. Animus means ‘intention’ and furandi means ‘to steal’ and hence the term animus furandi means ‘intention to steal’.
In simple terms, animus furandi refers to the dishonest intention to cause wrongful gain to oneself by causing wrongful loss to the other person. The wrongful intention of taking someone’s property is known as animus furandi. This maxim is generally used in reference to crimes such as theft, trespass, etc.
For the constitution of the crime of larceny, the thief must take the property with the intention to steal (animus furandi). The taking of property is lawful, although it may afterward be converted animo furandi to the taker’s use, it is not larceny, but maybe conversion if retained unlawfully.
In a general sense, the maxim refers to the dishonest intention to cause wrongful gain to oneself or wrongful loss to another.
X, a taxi driver who accepts counterfeit money from Y. X had no clue that the currency was counterfeit and accepts the same. In this case X has no animus furandi. However, if he was aware of the facts and still accepted them, it would be considered as animus furandi.
Important Case Laws
In the case of Gurudayal v. Indal, it was held by the court that in cases where there is the absence of animus furandi (intention to steal) and its obvious from the circumstances that the immovable property is being taken with an assertion of a bonafide claim of right, the act does not fall in the category of theft.
The Delhi High Court in the case of F.L. Berawalla & Anr. v. R.K. Jain & Ors held that animus furandi is an essential ingredient that needs to be proved against the accused before he can be damnified.
 Misc. Criminal Case No. 18938 of 2014.
 26 (1984) DLT 176.
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