Criminal Defense & Quashing of Criminal Proceeding in case of Cheating: Legal Advice
Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code (I. P. C.), 1860 defines Cheating as when any person, by betraying any person, dishonestly or fraudulently induces such deceived person to deliver any property, or to do or omit to do any act that he would have not done if he was not deceived, and thereby such deception could cause or likely to cause damage or harm to deceived person in mind, body, property or reputation. Section 417 penalises cheating with imprisonment of upto 1 year, or with fine, or with both.
Section 416 of the Indian Penal Code (I. P. C.), 1860 talks about cheating using personation. Whoever cheats another person by painting different image or personality of themselves, who they are not in reality, in mind of such cheated person. Such act is punishable under section 419 of the Indian Penal Code (I. P. C.), 1860 with imprisonment of upto 3 year, or with fine, or with both.
Section 418 of the Indian Penal Code (I. P. C.), 1860 punishes those in cheating cases who owe a special responsibility to protect the interest of those with whom they are transacting. Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (I. P. C.), 1860 lays down provisions for punishment of those acts of cheating due to which there is destruction or delivery of property or destruction or alteration of any valuable security. Simple Cheating is covered under section 417 of the Indian Penal Code (I. P. C.), 1860.
Hereinbelow, the best criminal defense is being apprised that would help the accused, who is maliciously charged with the offence of Cheating, to save his money, time and reputation. The criminal defense would also save the accused from agony of court room and trial.
Quashing of Criminal Proceeding in case of False case of Cheating
The Hon’ble High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P. C.), 1973 is empowered to quash First Information Report (F. I. R.) to give effect to any order under section Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P. C.), 1973 or to prevent abuse of process of court or otherwise to secure end of justice.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Vesa Holdings (P) Ltd v. State of Kerala and Ors. [Cri. A. No. 2341/ 2011] held that every breach of contract would not give effect to an offence of cheating and only those cases would amount to Cheating where malice intention was present from the very inception. If the intention to cheat has developed after sometime, the same cannot be culpable of cheating. Thereby constituting an offence of cheating, the complainant is required to show that the accused had fraudulent or dishonest intention at the time of making a promise or representation. In the present case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court due to lack of evidence pointing towards fraudulent or dishonest intention at the time of making of promise or representation, quashed the proceedings.
In the case of V. Ravi Kumar v. State [Cri A. No. 111/ 2011], the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that, in the FIR, there were allegations of fraudulent and dishonest intention including allegations of fabrication of documents. Thus, it cannot be said that there were no allegations which prima facie constitute ingredients of offences under sections 420, 409 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (I.P.C.), 1860 in Complaint. The allegations of fraud and cheating prima facie constitute offences under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. The allegations of fraud and cheating prima facie constitute offences under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. The truth behind the allegations can be judged only at the trial when evidence is presented. Further, this was not for the Hon’ble High Court to vide into the factual milieu and judge whether the allegations were correct or whether the same was a counter-blast to any proceedings initiated by the respondents. Where the accused sought to quash the FIR, invoking inherent jurisdiction of the High Court, it is completely impermissible in the complaint. Power conferred under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P. C.), 1973 might be invoked to prevent abuse of the process of law, but only when, the allegations, although it is true, would not constitute an offence and/or were vexatious and frivolous on their face. Exercise of the inherent power of the High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P. C.), 1973 would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Neither it is proper nor permissible for the court to lay down any universal formula for regulating the inherent power of the High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P. C.), 1973. In the present case, the High Court of Kerala clearly erred in law in dismissing the complaint, which certainly disclosed offence prima facie. It was not for the High Court to enter the factual arena and adjudicate the merits of the allegations and take the view that the transactions being commercial in nature, the ingredients of an offence under section 420 and 409 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 were absent and that the remedy of the appellant lay in filing a civil suit.
In the case of Archana Rana v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Anr. [Cri. A. No. 167/ 2021], Respondent No. 2 registered F.I.R. alleging that the Appellant took Rs 5,00,000 from the son of Respondent No. 2 with a promise to get him a job. But the husband of the Respondent No. 2 did not get any job. Thereby, Respondent No. 2 went to the house of Appellant to get her money back, then Appellant threw or pushed Respondent 2 out of the house and refused to give back Respondent No. 2’s money. The Hon’ble Supreme Court after going through the F. I. R. and charge-sheet thereunder, quashed the criminal proceeding and stated that ingredients of sections 419 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (I.P.C.), 1860 are absent and found charges against all the accused frivolous and vexatious.
Going through above mentioned criminal defense i.e., Quashing criminal proceeding, any person against whom false allegations of Cheating is made can avail benefit of aforementioned criminal defense. This would help the accused, who is maliciously prosecuted, to save money, time and reputation.
Authored By: Adv. Anant Sharma & Satwik Sharma