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The condition necessary for an act to constitute an offence under Section 415 of the Penal Code is that there was dishonest inducement by the accused.

There must be an initial deception on the part of accused so as to induce the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person or to consent that any person shall retain any property or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to anything which he would not do or omit if he was not so deceived. The aforesaid has been established by the High Court of Jammu &Kashmir and Ladakh while adjudicating the case of M/s Indian Academy of Sciences and Another Vs Indu Bhushan and others [CRMC No. 297/2013 (O&M)] which was decided upon by a single judge bench comprising Justice Puneet Gupta on 24th November 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. respondent Nos. 2 and 3 submitted their manuscripts titled Synthesis and Characterization of RuddlesdenPoper(RP) type phase LaSr2MnCrO7 on 5th February 2010 and revised it on 22nd April 2010 as per reviewer(s) recommendations and the paper was accepted by the petitioner’s board for publication in the Journal on 4 th May 2010 and the same was published in journal of Chemical Sciences (vol. 122 No. 6 Nov 2010 PP 807-811). After two years of its publication, a complaint of plagiarism was received by the petitioners from respondent No. 1 alleging that the complainant i.e. respondent No. 1 is one of the co-authors of manuscript and while sending the manuscript for publication, name of respondent No. 1 has been deliberately omitted. the only allegation against the petitioners is that they published the manuscript without the name of respondent No. 1 and when the same was brought to their notice, the same was not removed. The present petition has been filed by the petitioners under Section 561-A Cr.P.C. (now 482 Cr.P.C) for quashing of criminal proceedings in complaint titled “Professor Indu Bhushan Sharma Vs Dr Devinder Singh and others” pending before the Court of learned Special Mobile Magistrate (Passenger Tax Shops and Establishment Act) (hereinafter to be referred as the trial court) filed under sections 417,420, 120-B.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. It was of the opinion that “ The only grievance of the respondent against the petitioners is that, the petitioners even after the receipt of his notice did not get the said article removed from their website and the journal of Chemical Science of Indian Academy of Science, as mentioned in para 10 of the complaint. It by no stretch of imagination constitutes offence of cheating as defined under Section 415 RPC. The respondent at the most could have resorted to the remedies under civil law but could not have taken recourse to criminal proceedings against the petitioners. The respondent No:1 may or may not have any cause against respondent Nos. 2 and 3 but so far as petitioners are concerned, no offence has been committed by them that necessitates their prosecution by respondent No. 1, as such the continuance of criminal proceedings against the petitioner shall be nothing but an abuse of process of law. In view of this, the present petition is allowed and the criminal proceedings in complaint filed under sections 417,420, 120-B titled as Professor Indu Bhushan Sharma Vs Dr Devinder Singh and others pending before the Court of learned Special Mobile Magistrate (Passenger Tax Shops and establishment Act) stands quashed, qua the petitioners only.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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