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[Landmark Judgement] Vesa Holdings (P) Ltd. V. State of Kerala (2015) 

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Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: 21 September 2023 at 09:30 IST

Court: Supreme Court of India

Citation: Vesa Holdings (P) Ltd. V. State of Kerala (2015) 

Honourable Supreme Court of India has held that every breach of contract would not give rise to an offence of cheating and only in those cases breach of contract would amount to cheating where there was any deception played at the very inception. If the intention to cheat has developed later on, the same cannot amount to cheating. In other words for the purpose of constituting an offence of cheating, the complainant is required to show that the accused had fraudulent or dishonest intention at the time of making promise or representation.

Even in a case where allegations are made in regard to failure on the part of the accused to keep his promise, in the absence of a culpable intention at the time of making initial promise being absent, no offence under Section 420 of the Penal Code, 1860 can be said to have been made out.

13. It is true that a given set of facts may make out a civil wrong as also a criminal offence and only because a civil remedy may be available to the complainant that itself cannot be a ground to quash a criminal proceeding. The real test is whether the allegations in the complaint disclose the criminal offence of cheating or not. In the present case there is nothing to show that at the very inception there was any intention on behalf of the accused persons to cheat which is a condition precedent for an offence under Section 420 IPC. In our view the complaint does not disclose any criminal offence at all.

The criminal proceedings should not be encouraged when it is found to be mala fide or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court. The superior courts while exercising this power should also strive to serve the ends of justice. In our opinion, in view of these facts allowing the police investigation to continue would amount to an abuse of the process of the court and the High Court committed an error in refusing to exercise the power under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code to quash the proceedings.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra