Judge Raghunath is a wealthy district judge who convicts Jagga, a man whose father was a criminal, of rape on little evidence. The judge believes that "good people are born to good people, and criminals are born to criminals." Jagga later escapes and kidnaps the judge's wife Leela for revenge. When he finds out that she has just become pregnant, he releases her after four days and plans a different kind of revenge. The judge suspects that Leela was unfaithful to him with Jagga, and throws her out of the house.
She has a son, Raj, and they live in poverty as a result of being estranged from the father. As a child, Raj befriends Rita in school, but he is removed from the school rolls while trying to maintain a job, and Rita moves to another city. Even though they are separated, Rita remains in Raj's thoughts. On the streets, Raj turns to a life of petty crime and finds a father-figure in Jagga, who helps him to become a talented criminal.
While planning a bank robbery with his friends, Raj realizes they need an automobile. He snatches a woman's purse after she steps out of the car, but finds no keys, and pretends to pursue the thief to release suspicion from himself. After his elaborate act, he returns the purse to the woman, who is soon revealed to be Rita. Rita is now a ward of the Judge, who suspects that Raj is no good and eventually restricts Rita from seeing him. Raj and Rita, who is becoming a lawyer, eventually realize that they are the same childhood friends, and they fall in love. Raj tries to quit his life of crime, but his employers fire him when they find out that he was a thief.
Becoming desperate he goes back to Jagga for a money loan, but Jagga wants him to commit more crimes. Raj refuses, but steals a necklace from a man he meets on the street, not knowing it was the judge. When he gives the necklace to Rita for her birthday, she discover that he is indeed a thief. Rita goes to Raj's mother and finds out the whole truth about his life.
When Raj realizes that Jagga is responsible for his mother's misery, he kills Jagga in a fit of rage. At his trial the judge in the case is Raghunath. Rita persuades him that Raj acted in self-defense. However, when Raj learns that the judge is his father, he escapes and attempts to kill him. Due to these actions, Raj is brought to another court, and is defended by Rita. In the end, Raj is sentenced to 3 years in prison for his crime, but Rita promises to wait for him.