Chapter XVII of the Indian penal code discussed about the offences against property. This chapter is the second longest chapter, it holds 85 sections (378- 462). The basic element common to the offences under this chapter is dishonesty, which the code is describes as the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another, but the manner in which dishonesty is exercised, differs in unrelated issue. Hence the offences have been classified into various categories for a clear understanding of the different concepts involved therein. In this article we discussed about the offence of cheating under section (415-420)
Section 415:- cheating
Cheating at common law was a misdemeanor and punishable with imprisonment and fine. According to Hawkins, cheating is untrustworthy practices; in defrauding or else endeavoring toward deceive another of his personal right by means of means of some crafty tool, opposing to the plain rule and regulation of general truthfulness.
Section 415 of IPC deals with here types of cheating. They are:-
By fraudulently deceiving and inducing the person so deceived
- To deliver any property
- To consent to the retention of any property by any person
By dishonestly inducing the person to deliver any property or to give consent to the retention of any property
By intentionally inducing the individual deceived in the direction of do or to omit to do anything which he would not have accomplished, condition is, if he was not consequently deceived along with such act of him caused or else was to be expected to cause injure or damage in body, brain, reputation or property, and it was held in the case of N.M. Chakrabarty v. state of West Bengal.
Section 415 of IPC has two alternate parts, while in the first part the person must ‘dishonestly’ or ‘fraudulently’ induce the complainant to deliver any property and in the second part, the person should intentionally include the complainant (the person so deceived) in the direction of do or omit to do a thing, in other words, we can say in the primary branch, inducement must be dishonest. In the next branch, inducement should be on purpose. In the direction of comprise the offence of cheating dishonesty is a regular element in both the branch.
In the case of Ramnarayan Popali vs. C.B.I, held that it is not necessary that deception should be by express words but it may be by conduct or implied in the nature of transaction itself.
The word fraudulently does not cover the whole of the definition of cheating, but only the first part. The person deceived must have acted underneath the power of dishonesty along with the damage must not be moreover inaccessible.
- There should be a deception of any individual.
In the case of Ramdas vs. state of U.P, the court held that Deception means causing to believe what is false or misleading as a matter of fact or leading into an error.
A deceives Z by pledging him a diamond article which is in reality not Diamond but a fake article and Z is dishonesty induced and lends money to A. Now offence of cheating is completed because if Z would have known that the article is not real then he would have refused to give the money so the real fact was concealed from Z.
It is not compulsory so as to the false pretence should be completed in articulate words. It can be incidental as of the situations.
- There was a fraudulent or dishonest inducement to deliver any property or to consent that any person should retain the property.
- The person was intentionally induced to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he would have known the reality.
In the case of Harendra Nath Das v. Jyotish Chandra Datta held that, the Intentions at the time of the offence and the consequence of the act or omission itself have to be considered.
And From mere failure to keep up the promise subsequently, such a culpable intention right at the beginning that is, when he made the promise cannot be presumed
- Such an act or omission causes before is to be expected to cause harm or damage to that individual in body, brain, reputation or property.
For instance:- if a customer goes to the shop to purchase gold ornaments and there a person who owns the shop shows him a golden chain and tells him that it is a 22 carat gold but in reality it is of 6 carat then this act will quantity in the direction of cheating .
In case of Abhayananda Mishra v. state of Bihar held that a passport is a document by which its very nature and purpose is a political document for the benefit of its holder. It recognizes him as a citizen of the country granting it and in the nature of request to order another country to allow his free passage there. There can therefore be no doubt that a passport is a document of importance for travelabroad and is of considerable value to its holder, thus looking to the importances and characteristics of a passport it can be said that it is a property within the meaning of sections 415 and 420 of IPC.
Section 416:- cheating by personation.
This section says about cheating by personation. The offence of cheating by false representation is a provoked structure of cheating. False personation consists of personating another, or by knowingly substituting another person and pretending to be that other person and representing that other person.
Personation by itself is no offence but when a person fraudulently and dishonestly does a fraudulent act and represents as if he is himself that other person, section 416 under IPC will be attracted.
In the important case of Baboo Khan v. state of Uttar Pradesh, the court held that the accused, which pretended to be a certain well-known eye specialist and encourage the claimant to agree to him to carry out a procedure on the eye of his 12 year old son, and he was found guilty under this IPC section.
In the same way, in the case of R. Matameswara Rao (in re: ), held that when the accused used the railway season ticket issued in the name of a dissimilar individual by make believe to be that person, the offence fell under this.
Section 417:- punishment for cheating
Imprisonment may extend up to one year or with fine or both.
Section 418:- cheating with the knowledge that wrongful loss may ensue to person whose interest offender is bound to protect.
This section prescribes the punishment for cheating by a person standing in a fiduciary capacity to the person who cheated. Such relationship exists between a banker and a customer, the principal and an agent, guardian and the ward, director of a company and a shareholder, a solicitor and a client, etc.
Thus in the case of Q.E. v. Moss where a director of a banking company got placed before the shareholder a balance sheet which he knew to be false and misleading, concealing the true position of the company , he was held liable under the section.
The accused cheated a person whose interests he was under a legal obligation to protect or underneath a contract bound to save from harm.
The accused was on well-known terms by means of that he was to be expected to cause wrongful loss to such person.
The offence is non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable with the authorization of the court and the punishment may make longer to imprisonment for a time of three years or with fine or with both.
Section 419:- punishment for cheating by personation
Imprisonment may be up to three years or with fine or with both.
Section 420:- the cheating and the dishonestly inducing delivery of property.
Cheating involving delivery of property-
This section is an aggravated form of cheating and provides enhanced punishment which may extend to seven years of imprisonment (simple or grievous) and fine. The section applies to those cases of cheating which involves delivery of property or destruction of valuable security.
- The offence of cheating is established when the following ingredients are proved-
- That the representation made by the accused was false
- That the accused knew that the representation was false at the very time when he made it
- That the accused made the false representation with the dishonest intention of deceiving the person to whom it was made
In the case of Mahadeo Prasad v. state of west Bengal, the accused thereby induced that person to deliver any property or else in the direction of do or to omit to do something which he would unless not have completed or not there.
The basic ingredient of the offence under section 420 of the IPC would be cheating with the intention to cheat from the very inception. In other words, to hold a person guilty of the offence of cheating it has to be shown that his intention was dishonest at the time of making the promise and such dishonest intention cannot be inferred from the mere fact that he could not subsequently fulfill the promise.
K.D. GUAR, THE INDIAN PENAL CODE [As amended by the criminal law (Amendment) act, 2018]