Supreme Court Clarifies Criteria for Section 420 IPC Offence


LI Network

Published on: January 23, 2024 at 14:45 IST

The Supreme Court, emphasized that Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) requires more than mere cheating for an offence to be established.

Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan held that the prosecution must prove that the deceitful act of cheating was accompanied by an inducement that led to the complainant parting with property.

The Court reversed the High Court and Trial Court’s findings, noting that the deceitful act should dishonestly induce a person to deliver property, resulting in a loss or damage.

In a case involving a husband filing charges against his wife and relatives, the Court quashed the criminal case. The allegations pertained to the wife using her husband’s signature to apply for a passport for their minor child to travel abroad.

The Court found no dishonest intention on the wife’s part and observed that the prosecution failed to establish the fundamental elements of deceit and damage, necessary for a cheating offence.

The Court clarified that cheating involves a deceitful act that dishonestly induces a person to deliver property. In this specific case, since the wife’s actions did not result in any loss, damage, or injury to the husband, the Court concluded that the essential elements of deceit and damage required for a cheating offence were conspicuously absent.

Additionally, the Court ruled that the act did not amount to forgery, as forgery necessitates the preparation of a false document with dishonest intent to cause damage or injury.

The Court emphasized that without a dishonest intention, the offence of forgery could not be established.

The judgment also discharged the accused from an offence under Section 12(b) of the Passports Act, 1967, as the State FSL report deemed the alleged forgery inconclusive.

The Court set aside the High Court’s decision and quashed the criminal case against the appellants.

Case Details: Mariam Fasihuddin & Anr. versus State by Adugodi Police Station & Anr.

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