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Cheating 420 IPC as an Offence in India

Section 420 of The Indian Penal Court talks about the offence which is committed by the person who cheats another person and thereby induces the deceived to deliver any property. This provision provides punishment for the same.

According to the IPC, Section 420 states that whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
 

Also Read-  HOW TO FILE A POLICE COMPLAINT

Essential elements of Section 420

(I) Cheating;
(ii) Dishonest inducement to deliver property or to make, alter or destroy any valuable security or anything which is sealed or is capable of being converted into a valuable security and
(iii) Mens rea of the accused at the time of making the inducement.

Making of a false representation is one of the essential ingredients to institute the offence of cheating under Section 420 IPC. In order to bring a case for the offence of cheating, it is not merely satisfactory to prove that a false representation had been made, but it is further necessary to prove that the representation was false to the knowledge of the accused and was made in order to deceive the complainant.

Also Read- APPREHENSION OF ARREST: GET AN ANTICIPATORY BAIL.
 

Cheating

The term "cheating" has been defined under Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code. The element of cheating must be present in every offence under Section 420 of I.P.C.

Section 415 of IPC states that Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces 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 do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to "cheat".

For example – There are two persons A and Z. A exhibits the false sample of an article to Z and intentionally make Z believes that the article corresponds with the sample. A here induces Z to buy and pay for the false sample of article. A cheats Z.

Also Read- QUASHING OF CRIMINAL CASE & FIR

 

Acting dishonestly

Section 24 defines that what is “acting dishonestly”. When the doing of any act or not doing of any act causes wrongful gain of property to one person or a wrongful loss of property to a person, the said act is done dishonestly.

Also Read- POLICE NOT REGISTERING FIR, WHAT TO DO?

Property

The word property may basically be defined as all things which can be measured in terms of money. The said thing should be capable of being possessed by a person for the exclusive use or enjoyment as owner of that thing.

Fraudulently.

Section 25 defines the term "Fraudulently". It says that a person is said to do a thing fraudulently if he does that thing with intent to defraud but not otherwise.
 

Mens rea

Mens rea is a legal phrase which used to define the mental state of a person while committing a crime and that should be intentional. It can refer to a general intent to break the law or a specific prearranged plan to commit a particular offense. A criminal prosecutor must show beyond any reasonable doubt to convict an accused person that the suspect actively and knowingly contributed in a crime that affected another person or their property.

Also Read- STAGES OF CRIMINAL TRIAL IN INDIA

 

How Cheating is to be proved

You have to prove that there was an intention to cheat at the time of making the misrepresentation; and this fact is to be proved on the basis of all the subsequent conduct as acts and omissions of the accused. Therefore, all the acts and omissions of the accused must be clearly and legibly set out right from the date of making of false representation, till the filing of the complaint.

It must be shown that there is a failure of the promise which was made. It must be shown that there was no effort on the part of accused to perform his promise. The test of prudent man must be applied to appreciate the evidence on record.

Also Read- IF PROCLAIMED OFFENDER OR PO BY COURT, THEN READ THIS.

 

Who is a Prudent Man?

A prudent man is a wise man but may not be a genius. A prudent man who is not in haste. He is not influenced by his emotions and act after weighing the circumstance. He rethinks and willing to learn. He struggles. He is willing to see the point of view, which was never in his mind. He may not be learned but has robust common sense and has basic instinct that moves man and woman. The said definition of prudent man calls upon the judge to become realistic and practical. Good faith anticipates an honest effort to discover the facts upon which the exercise of power rests.

 

Cognizance of an offence under Section 420

The offence is cognizable and falls under the category of Non Bail able. It is triable by Magistrate of the First Class and therefore FIR or Application u/s 156(3) or Private Complaint u/s 200 may be preferred.

Also Read- REGISTRATION OF FIR- GUIDE

 

Punishment of an offence under Section 420.

The punishment which is given under section 420 of IPC for the offence is imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and also be liable to fine.

This post is written by Sumitra Nair of Pune University. For any subject specific advice related to criminal cases related to cheating, fraud and 420 IPC, please dial 99888-17966.

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