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Cheating is an essential ingredient for an act to constitute an offence under Section 420 IPC: Supreme Court

Cheating is an essential ingredient for an act to constitute an offence under Section 420 IPC. Cheating is defined under Section 415 of the IPC. In the matter of Archana Rana vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 167 OF 2021], the Court held cheating as an essential ingredient for an offence under Section 420 of the IPC. The judgement was given by Justice Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah.

An FIR was lodged by the respondent under Sections 419, 420, 323, 504 and 506 IPC alleging, that the appellant’s husband had taken a sum of Rs.5,00,000/- from him for getting his son employed. However, his son did not get any employment and subsequently when they went to the house of the appellant to ask for the return of the money, the appellant assaulted the complainant and threatened to get them falsely implicated in criminal cases and the appellant pushed/thrown him and his son from her house.

The appellant filed a petition to quash the FIR under Section 482 Cr.P.C and the criminal proceedings but it was dismissed by the Court and hence, the appellant preferred the present appeal.

It was submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant that no case is made out against the appellant for the offences under Sections 419 & 420 IPC. Heavy reliance was placed on the the case of Prof. R.K. Vijayasarathy v. Sudha Seetharam (2019) 16 SCC 739 and Dr. Lakshman v. State of Karnataka (2019) 9 SCC 677.

The judgement stated, “As observed and held by this Court in the case of Prof. R.K. Vijayasarathy (supra), the ingredients to constitute an offence under Section 420 are as follows: i) a person must commit the offence of cheating under Section 415; and ii) the person cheated must be dishonestly induced to a) deliver property to any person; or b) make, alter or destroy valuable security or anything signed or sealed and capable of being converted into valuable security. Thus, cheating is an essential ingredient for an act to constitute an offence under Section 420 IPC. Cheating is defined under Section 415 of the IPC. The ingredients to constitute an offence of cheating are as follows: 4 i) there should be fraudulent or dishonest inducement of a person by deceiving him. The person who was induced should be intentionally induced to deliver any property to any person or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or the person who was induced should be intentionally induced to do or to omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived. Thus, a fraudulent or dishonest inducement is an essential ingredient of the offence under Section 415 IPC. A person who dishonestly induced any person to deliver any property is liable for the offence of cheating.”

The criminal proceedings against the appellant herein for the offences under Section 419 & 420 IPC were quashed and set aside.

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