The offence of cheating is described in Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860.

The penalty for cheating is outlined in Section 417 of the Code. Even with this provision, stiffer punishments for cheating were still required. This is addressed under Section 420, which penalises individuals who defraud someone into delivering property or any valuable security. Cheating must be established in order to be punished under Section 420. In other words, Section 420 specifically penalises more egregious instances of cheating. In accordance with Section 417, cheating is prohibited whether it is carried out dishonestly or fraudulently. In contrast, Section 420 addresses situations in which fraud is committed using deceptive inducement when the target is a valuable security or piece of property.

Archana  Rana  v. State of  Uttar Pradesh and  Anr. (2021)

Facts of the case:

In this case, the respondent filed an FIR under Sections 323, 419, 420, 504, and 506 Indian Penal Code, stating that the appellant’s husband had accepted money from him in the amount of Rs. 5,00,000 for the purpose of placing his son in a job. However, his son was unable to find employment, and when they went to the appellant’s home to request the money’s refund, the appellant physically beat the complainant and intimidated him to have him and his son unjustly charged with crimes. She also threw him and his son out of the house. The FIR and the criminal proceedings were challenged by the appellant under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code in a petition, but the petition was denied by the court, leading to the appellant’s preference for the current appeal.

Judgment of the case:

The court determined that violating Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code requires the commission of cheating as a necessary component. The following factors must be present, according to the Court’s ruling, for an offence to be categorised as a Section 420 crime:

  • The cheater must transgress Section 415;
  • A valuable security or something that has been signed or sealed and may be converted into a valuable security must have been made, altered, or destroyed by the aggrieved party under duress. Therefore, since Section 415 defines cheating, it is a requirement for an act to qualify as an offence under Section 420 IPC. For cheating to be classified as a crime, the following conditions must be satisfied:
  • Inducement that is unlawful or deceptive requires that the victim be deceived. The person who has been fooled should be consciously convinced to perform something that he would not ordinarily do or omit. Examples include convincing someone to deliver something to another person or granting someone permission to keep something.

The offence mentioned in Section 415 IPC thus requires a dishonest or fraudulent inducement as a required element. When someone is duplicitously convinced to supply something, it is considered cheating. Criminal charges made by the appellants under Sections 419 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code were rejected and overturned.

Bhavesh Jangra – Legal Associate

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