Chapter XVII, Section 415 to Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with 'cheating'. Cheating is Defined under Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code.  Section 415 deals with three types of cheating. Section 417 of the Penal Code prescribes punishment for cheating.

1) Cheating: Meaning -

   Cheating is the receiving of a reward for ability or finding an easy way out of an unpleasant situation by dishonest means.

2) Cheating: Definition -  

     1) Cheating is an act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.

     2)  According to Hawkins, " Cheating is a deceitful practice in defrauding or endeavouring to defraud another of his own right by means of some artful device, contrary to the plain rule of common honesty.


Cheating Defined under Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code:

          Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code defines cheating as, "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".

Explanation -

        A dishonest concealment of facts is a deception within the meaning of this section.

Examples -

        (a) A, by falsely pretending to be in the Civil Service, intentionally deceives Z, and thus dishonestly induces Z to let him have on credit goods for which he does not mean to pay. A cheats.

        (b) A, by putting a counterfeit mark on an article, intentionally deceives Z into a belief that this article was made by a certain celebrated manufacturer, and thus dishonestly induces Z to buy and pay for the article. A cheats.

         (c) A, by exhibiting to Z a false sample of an article intentionally deceives Z into believing that the article corresponds with the sample, and thereby dishonestly induces Z to buy and pay for the article. A cheats.


          (d) A, by tendering in payment for an article a bill on a house with which A keeps no money, and by which A expects that the bill will be dishonoured, intentionally deceives Z, and thereby dishonestly induces Z to deliver the article, intending not to pay for it. A cheats

           (e) A, by pledging as diamond articles which he knows are not diamonds, intentionally deceives Z, and thereby dishonestly induces Z to lend money. A cheats.

          (f) A Intentionally deceives Z into a belief that A means to repay any money that Z may lend to him and thereby dishonestly induces Z to lend him money, A not intending to repay it. A cheats.

          (g) A intentionally deceives Z into a belief that A means to deliver to Z a certain quantity of indigo plant which he does not intend to deliver, and thereby dishonestly induces Z to advance money upon the faith of such delivery. A cheats; but if A, at the time of obtaining the money, intends to deliver the indigo plant, and afterwards breaks his contract and does not deliver it, he does not cheat, but is liable only to a civil action for breach of contract.

         (h) A intentionally deceives Z into a belief that A has performed A's part of a contract made with Z, which he has not performed, and thereby dishonestly induces Z to pay money. A cheats.

         (i) A sells and conveys an estate to B. A, knowing that in consequence of such sale he has no right to the property, sells or mortgages the same to Z, without disclosing the fact of the previous sale and conveyance to B, and receives the purchase or mortgage money from Z. A cheats.

3) Cheat can be committed in three ways:

  1) By fraudulently deceiving and inducing the person so deceived to deliver any property, or to consent to retention of any property.

  2) By dishonestly inducing the person to deliver any property to give consent to the retention. of any property.

  3) By intentionally inducing the person deceived to do or not to do anything which he would not have done, if he was not so deceived and such act of him caused was likely to cause damage, or harm in body, mind reputation, or property.


Essential Ingredients:

   To invoke Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code following ingredients are to be satisfied.

   (i) A person deceives any person.

   (ii) He fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived -

          (a) to deliver any property to any person; or

          (b) to Consent that any person shall retain any property; or  

(iii) He intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit anything which he would not do or omit if not deceived and which act or omission etc .  causes or is likely cause to damage or harm to that person.


4) Cheating by personation :

           Section 416 of the Indian Penal Code says that, A person is said to "cheat by personation" if he cheats by pretending to be some other person, or by knowingly substituting one person for or another, or representing that he or any other person is a person other than he or such other person really is.

Explanation :


         The offence is committed whether the individual personated is a real or imaginary person.

Illustrations  :

        (a) A cheats, by pretending to be a certain rich banker of the same name. A cheats by personation.

        (b) A cheats by pretending to be B, a person who is deceased. A cheats by personation.

       The offence of cheating by false representation is an aggravated form of cheating. False personation consists of personating another, or by knowingly substituting another person and pretending to be that another person.


Ingredients :

  To invoke Section 416 of the Indian Penal Code following ingredients must be satisfied:
 
  (i) A person cheats,

  (ii) He does so -

      (a) by pretending to be some other person; or

      (b) By knowing, by substituting one another person for another, or

      (c) By representing that he or any other person is a person other than he or such other person really is.


 5) Punishment for cheating:

          Section 417 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes punishment for cheating. Section 147 says that, Whoever cheats shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

         The offence under Section 417 of the Indian Penal Code is non-cognizable, bailable, compoundable with the permission of the court, and triable by any Magistrate.


6) Cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may ensue to person whose interest offender is bound to protect.

      Section 418 of the Indian Penal Code says that, Whoever cheats with the knowledge that he is likely thereby to cause wrongful loss to a person whose interest in the transaction to which the cheating relates, he was bound either by law, or by legal contract, to protect, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.


Ingredients :

  To invoke Section 418 of the Indian Penal Code following ingredients must be satisfied:

     (i) The accused cheated a person whose interests he was under a legal obligation to protect or under a contract bound to protect.

     (ii) The accused person knew that he was likely to cause wrongful loss to such person.

     The offence under this Section (S.418) is non-cognizable, bailable, compoundable with the permission of the Court and triable by any Magistrate.


7) Punishment for cheating by personation


         Section 419 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes punishment for cheating by personation. It says that, Whoever cheats by personation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

       The offence is cognizable, bailable, compoundable with the permission of the Court and triable by any Magistrate.


8) Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property ( Section.420):


        Section 420 of the Code is an aggravated form of cheating. Section 420 of the Code says 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

Essential Ingredients:

   To invoke Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code following ingredients must be satisfied:

  (i)  A person cheats

  (ii) He thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived -

       (a) To deliver any property or any person, or      

       (b) To make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is capable of being converted into a valuable security.

See also : 

1) Offences Relating to Weights and Measures (Indian Penal Code,1860)

2) Causing Death by Negligence (Indian Penal Code 1860)

3) Dowry Death (Section 304-B, Indian Penal Code, 1860)

4) Offences Relating to Elections : Indian Penal Code 1860

5) Kinds of Kidnapping

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