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FACTS:

1. The Petitioner is a Post-Doctoral fellow at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology,
Hyderabad.
2. Respondent No. 1 approached the Petitioner in pursuance of his matrimonial
advertisementand furnished the particulars of his sister, Respondent No. 4.
3. It was represented by Respondent No. 1 that Respondent No. 4 was born on 29th of June,
1966 and they belonged to Thurupukapu Community. The Petitioner himself gave out
that he belonged to GujalaBalija Community which was a forward community and,
therefore, he wanted a wife from a forward community. The parents of Respondent No. 4,
who are Respondents 2 to 3 in this petition, met the parents of the Petitioner and they
talked and later the marriage took place on 19.8.94.
4. On 4th of March, 1997, the Petitioner, allegedly, came to know that Respondents 1 to 4
belonged to Kondakapu Community, which was a Scheduled Tribewhom the Petitioner
would not have agreed at all married had he known the truth.
5. The petitioner filed a complaint in the Court on 10.7.1996 under S 415, S 419,
S 420 r/w/S34, I.P.C.which was referred to Station House Officer, Police Station Alwal,
Rangareddy District, Andhra Pradesh for investigation and report.
6. Station House Officer filed an affidavit stating that after completing the investigation, he
had submitted the charge-sheet in the Court on 28.5.1997 against the Respondents.
7. The Respondents, however, approached the High Court through a petition under
Section 482, Cr. P.C. seeking the quashing of the F.I.R. which was allowed by the
impugned judgment The High Court quashed the proceedings principally on the ground
that Chapter XVII of the Indian Penal Code deals with the offences against properties
and, therefore, S 415 must also necessarily relate to the property which, in the instant
case, is not involved
8. Against this order, petition was filed in the Supreme Court.

27th of January, 1994 invited marriage proposals for himself through advertisement
27th of June, 1994 Betrothal ceremony took place
19.8.94. marriage took plac on
4th of March, 1997 Discovery of actual caste of the respondents.
10.7.1996 A complaint was filed in the Court under Section 415, 419, 420 read
with Section 34, I.P.C.
28.5.1997 The Station House Officer filed an affidavit stating that he had
submitted the charge-sheet in the Court.
4.10.1999 SLP filed by Petitioners against order of High Cout to quash
proceedings u/s 482, Cr.P.C. dismissed.
ISSUES RAISED:-

1. WHETHER OFFENCE OF CHEATING UNDER SECTION 415 BE ESTABLISHED


WHEN THERE IS NO DAMAGE TO PROPERTY?
2. WHETHER CONCEALMENT OF CASTE TO INDUCE SOMEONE TO MARRY THE
PERSON WHO IS DECEIVING AMOUNTS TO CHEATING?
CONTENTIONS

Issue 1: Whether Offence of cheating under section 415 be established when there is no damage
to property?

PETITIONERS:

The first submission of the learned Counsel for the respondents was that quashing of the case by
the High Court was wrong as itsits interpretation of Section 415, I.P.C. was faulty. It was
contended that according to second part of S 415 intentionally inducing a 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.
As is already evident from the facts, the petitioner would not have gotten married to the
respondents had he known the truth.
The offence of cheating would also be complete if it is proved that any person intentionally
induces another person to do or omit to do anything, which the other person would not do or
omit if he/she were not so deceived, or act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or
harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property. It has been expressly provided in the
section.

There was a clear injury to the mind and reputation because he was deceived by no one but by
his wife, given the fact that marriage is such a solemn relation.

Also, section also includes the word harm, for which the petitioners relied on The Apex
Courts verdict in Mrs VeedaMenezes v. Yusuf Khan Haji Ibrahim Khan and Anr. 1966 AIR 1773
has held that 'harm' in Section 415 IPC means injury to a person in body, mind, reputation or
property.1
Hence, according to the Counsel, injury to mind and reputation comes within the ambit of
Cheating. Delivery of property has nothing to with this part of the section ancannot be made the
sole caused for conviction.

RESPONDENTS:

The first submission of the learned Counsel for the respondents was that quashing of the case by
the High Court was correct. It was contended that the bare reading of the said penal provision it
is evident that the conviction under Section 417 IPC can be maintained only when the factum of
cheating under Section 415 IPC is proved. According to the learned Counsel it is evident from
the definition of cheating in Section 415 IPC that to constitute cheating the deception must be in
relation of the property, though property may or may not be delivered.

Offence of Cheating principally comes under Chapter XVII of IPC which deals with offences
against Property. The essence of the cheating is property as is visible from the above discussion.

However, in the instant case it is being the allegation that the petitioner has suffered injury to
mind or reputation because of the deception by the respondent for which he married his sister
and there being no allegation of deception in relation to the property, there cannot be any
question of conviction under Section 417 IPC. Hence, according to the learned Counsel, the
offence of cheating is not established.

14. The expression "harm" has not been defined in the Indian Penal Code: in its dictionary meaning it
connotes hurt: injury: damage: impairment: moral wring or evil. There is no warrant for the contention
raised that the expression "harm" in Section 95 does not include physical injury. The expression "harm"
is used in many sections of the Indian Penal Code. In Sections. 81, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 100, 104 and 106
the expression can only mean physical injury. In Section 93 it means an injurious mental reaction.
In Section 415 it means injury to a person in body, mind, reputation or property. In Ss. 469 and 499
'harm', it is plain from the context, is to be reputation of the aggrieved party. There is nothing in Section
95 which warrants a restricted meaning which counsel for the appellant contends should be attributed to
that word. Section 95 is a general exception, and if that expression has in many other Sections dealing
with general exceptions a wide connotation as inclusive of physical injury, there is no reason to suppose
that the Legislature intended to use the expression "harm" in Section 95 in a restricted sense.
ISSUE 2: Whether concealment of caste to induce someone to marry the person who is deceiving
amounts to cheating?

PETITIONERS:
It was submitted by the petitioner that he was cheated on by the respondents by their fraudulent
talks. It was submitted that three are ingredients for the offence:
Fraudulent or dishonest Deception
Person induced to do or not to do something under the influence of the deception
It causes or was likely to cause damage to mind, body, reputation or property of the
person
The petitioner has already, as per facts, cleared that he wished to marry someone from the
forward caste and the respondent 1 lied about the caste of his sister because he knew what
backward and forward caste meant as per social structure there. All the family members knew
about it as they had talks later on. The petitioner suffered a major shock when he discovered the
truth and realised he wouldnt have married her wife otherwise.
Thus, all the three ingredients are fulfilled in the present case.
The Counsel also referred to some decisions.
In Empress v. Sheoram and another (1882) 2 AWN 237 it was held by Mahmood, J.:

That to palm off a young woman as belonging to a caste different to the one to which
she really belongs, with the object of obtaining money, amounts to the offence of cheating
by personation as defined in Section 416 of theIndian Penal Code, which must be read in
the light of the preceding, Section 415.

In Queen v. Dabee Singh and Ors. (1867) WR 55, the Calcutta High Court convicted a person
under Section 417 who had brought two girls and palmed them off as women of a much higher
caste than they really were and married to two Rajputsafter receiving usual bonus. It was further
held that the two Rajputs who married the two girls on the faith that they were marrying women
of their own caste and status, were fraudulently and dishonestly induced by deception to do a
thing (that is to say, to marry women of a caste wholly prohibited to them) which but for the
deception practised upon them by the accused, they would have omitted to do.
In Queen v. Puddomonie Boistobee2, a person was induced to part with his money and tocontract
marriage under the false impression that the girl he was marrying was aBrahminee. The person
who induced the complainant into marrying that girl was held liable for punishment under
Section 417, I.P.C.

In the light of the arguments, the petitioner seeks conviction of the respondents because their act
amounts to cheating as per section 415 as the misrepresentation of caste induced him to marry
the respondent which led to injury to his mind and reputation.

RESPONDENTS:

The principal contention of the respondent is that three are ingredients for the offence;
Fraudulent or dishonest Deception, Person induced to deliver some property do or not to do
something under the influence of the deception and it causes or is likely to cause damage to
property of the person. Since there is no property involved in the question, no damage has
occurred. Therefore, the ingredients of offence havent been satisfied for it to constitute a case
against them. Therefore, no injury was caused to the petitioner and the complaint is liable to be
dismissed.

2(1866) 5 WR 98
JUDGMENT: The special leave petition was dismissed by the Honble Supreme Court.However,
their reasoning for dismissing the petition were different from that of the High Court.

ISSUE 1:
The High Court had quashed the proceedings principally on the ground that Chapter XVII of the
Indian Penal Code deals with the offences against properties and, therefore, Section 415 must
also necessarily relate to the property which, in the instant case, was not involved and,
consequently, the F.I.R. was liable to be quashed. According to the Court, the broad proposition
on which the High Court proceeded was not correct. While the first part of the definition relates
to property, the second part need not necessarily relate to property.
It was held that the second part speaks of intentional deception which must be intended not only
to induce the person deceived to do or omit to do something but also to cause damage or harm to
that person in body, mind, reputation or property. The intentional deception presupposes the
existence of a dominant motive of the person making the inducement. Such inducement should
have led the person deceived or induced to do or omit to do anything which he would not have
done or omitted to do if he were not deceived. The further requirement is that such act or
omission should have caused damage or harm to body, mind, reputation or property. Therefore,
even if property is not involved, if other requirements of the section are fulfilled, then it will
come within the ambit of section 415.
The honble Supreme Court relied on a plethora of cases 3 and concluded that while in the first
part the inducement must be dishonest or fraudulent, in the second part the inducement should be
intentional.Thus in order, therefore, to secure conviction of a person for the offence of cheating,
"mens rea" or a guilty intention on the part of that person, must be established.
The present case is of doing of an act or omission to do an act by the complainant, as a result of
intentional inducement by the accused, which is material. Such inducement should result in the
doing of an act or omission to do an act as a result of which the person concerned should have
suffered or was likely to suffer damage or harm in body, mind, reputation or property. Therefore,
property has not an essential role to play for conviction for the offence of cheating.
Therefore the first submission of the respondents is rejected.

3Jaswantrai Manilal Akhaney v. State of Bombay AIR 1956 SC 575; Mahadeo Prasad
v. State of West Bengal AIR 1954 SC 724.
ISSUE 2:
It was the contention of the petitioner that respondents have caused injury to his mind and
reputation by misrepresenting the caste and inducing him to marry her when they knew that he
only wanted to marry a girl from a forward community.
The Court considered its capacity under Article 136 of The Constitution to interfere in such
matrimonial disputes. The Court held that marriage being a sacred ceremony, its main purpose is
to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. According to the Court,
little matrimonial skirmishes result in commission of heinous crimes in which elders of the
family are also involved with the result that those who could have counseled and brought about
rapprochement are rendered helpless on them being arrayed as accused in the criminal case.
According to the Court, matrimonial litigation should not be encouraged so that the parties may
ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of
fighting it out in a Court of law where it takes years and years to conclude.
More importantly, the question regarding concealment of the caste, the Court rejected the
submission. It was held that scientifically we all have the same human body and same functions,
irrespective of the caste and thus there could not possibly be an injury to the mind. The relevant
portion of the judgment is produced below:-

13. The Petitioner himself is a Scientist at the Centre for DNA Finger Printing and
Diagnostics, Hyderabad, which is a prestigious institution of the country. In this capacity,
he can be reasonably presumed to be aware of the bio-diversity at the Cellular and
Molecular level amongst human beings without the "caste" having any role in the field of
Human Biotechnology.

Thus, the Special leave petition was dismissed on these grounds.


CRITICAL APPRAISAL

ISSUE 1:-
As far as issue one is considered, the author is in favour of the judgment that the offence of
cheating is not related only to property. The section has clearly mentioned that harm to body,
mind, reputation or property of the person so deceived is the third essential for the offence of
cheating to be complete. Hence, it was an erroneous interpretation of the section by the
respondents that since no property was involved, the case for cheating under 415 cannot be made
out.
It is not correct to say that unless there is delivery of property to any person, no offence of
cheating will be made out. The person deceiving, if he intentionally induces the person deceived
to do or omit to do anything which he would not have done if he wasnt deceived, would
nevertheless be guilty of the offence of cheating provided some damage or harm to that person is
caused.4
Thus, the decision regarding the first issue is judicious and correct.

ISSUE 2:-
As regards the second issue, in my opinion the Court has not given a sound basis for dismissing
the complaint. The two reasons were that firstly the Court should not encourage matrimonial
disputes and that their criminality should be kept out of the purview of Article 136. It is the most
humble submission of the author that the Honble Court had a fair opportunity to deliberate on
the matter and decide the matter once and for all. The litigations take time, a lot of time because
of lack of good precedents and over here the Court had an opportunity to give a direction on how
to proceed in such cases.
Moreover having said that the Court should not interfere, the Court yet, even then held that the
petitioner should be aware of bio-diversity at the Cellular and Molecular level amongst human
beings without the "caste" having any role in the field of Human Biotechnology because of his
qualifications. Hence, Court held that scientifically, all humans are same and caste has no role to
play in it so it really isnt injurious to his mind. The Court upheld Science instead of notions of
petitioners.
4 IPC, Sarvaria, 10 thedn 4297-98
It is the most humble submission of the author that the present reasoning, although scientifically
correct, but legally, is vague and not well thought on the following counts:

It upholds science over caste. Basically it holds science to be superior over certain
notions or customs or beliefs of certain people. However, we cannot forget that customs,
beliefs of the society are one of the primary sources of law. Not just that, not everything
logical is legal. Like that, there are many other laws, like the offence of adultery is
regarded to be an offence against husband. But a similar law is not there for women. It
basically promotes patriarchal beliefs, but this has never been rejected on the basis of
logic. If a womans husband has consensual intercourse with some other woman, why can
that woman be not punished. Since the petitioner was well educated and therefore caste
should not have been a matter of concern for him, likewise a well-educated woman can
knowingly lure someone elses husband and be equally guilty. But there are a variety of
reasons why adultery is gender specific. It is based on the kind of society we live in. So
the reasoning that science says all humans are same irrespective of their caste does not
resonate with the principles of jurisprudence
It is a humble submission that the Honble Supreme Court has dealt with the case in a
rather haphazard manner. First by saying that the matrimonial proceedings should be
discouraged, they somewhat tried to deviate from the actual issue in hand. Again, by
bringing scientific reasoning in the picture, they have somewhat indicated that
concealment of caste for marriage purposes cannot be a ground for conviction. Since he
is educated, he should have known caste does not matter. The first two ingredients are
fulfilled, i.e. intentional inducement and that person deceived did something he would not
have done otherwise. The question still remains whether he suffered any harm to his mind
or reputation. And the answer is in negative but not because on a molecular level we all
are same, but because The Republic of India disdains caste system. To criminalize
someone because they lied about their caste will rather enlarge caste divide instead of
bringing it down. Superiority of one caste over another is a rejected concept and hence
when the mind has wrong notions, that mind cannot be harmed and hence no damage has
been caused. Thereby, according to the author this is why the third ingredient has not
been fulfilled.
Fraud has indeed occurred and it can definitely be a cause for civil action but
criminalizing someone based on the current facts will water down the efforts made in the
past and hence this should have been the reason to dismiss the current petition.
Another interesting conclusion that can be made is that the present reasoning of science
is equally applicable in case of fraud of religion. Religion is seen with utmost sanctity in
our country. Hurting someones religious feelings is a crime as per S 295A of IPC. It
implies that religion holds a special place in our country and violations related to it cause
harm. Therefore, harm to mind can be caused if someones spouse has lied about their
religion to induce him/her to marry the person deceiving.
Now, if a similar case as is the present one, comes up but instead of caste, religion was
misrepresented, it is possible that petition is dismissed as well on the ground that
molecular structure is same and religion has no role play in our body. But religion and
caste cannot be equated and that is why this could be a dangerous precedent.
RECENT CASE LAWS

1. S.P. Gupta v. Ashutosh Gupta (2011) 6 SCC 562


FACTS: Through SLP, the Petitioner, S.P. Gupta, challenged dismissal of his application
for quashing of of the Criminal Complaint instituted against the Petitioner and the other
co-accused by the Complainant (father of the Respondent) u/s 420 read with s 120-B of
the Indian Penal Code The High Court took note of the fact that having regard to the role
attributed to each of the accused which had been noticed by the learned Magistrate,
summons had been issued to only three of them and that as far as the Petitioner was
concerned, the narration in the complaint showed that he was integral to all the
transactions that had taken place between the complainant and the Accused No.1 as he
was the constituted attorney of the said accused. Whether the Petitioner had acted with
dishonest intentions or as to whether he was unaware of the dishonest intentions of the
Accused No.1 was a question to be determined and hence, there was a prima facie case.
The Court was inclined to agree with the views expressed by the High Court that a prima
facie case had been made out to go to trial.
HELD: There was a positive assertion in the complaint that an assurance had been given
by the Petitioner to the complainant that the property in question was free from all
encumbrances and that the Accused No.1 was the sole owner of the property. Merely
because the Petitioner had received part payment of the consideration amount and had
made over the same to the Accused No.1 and merely because possession of the land had
been handed over by him to the complainant, cannot form the basis of any presumption
that he had of knowledge that there was a dispute regarding the ownership of the
property. Section 415 IPC clearly indicates that if at the very initiation of the
negotiations it was evident that there was no intention to cheat, the dispute would be of a
civil nature.
2. Robert John D'Souza and Ors. v. Stephen V. Gomes and Ors. Criminal Appeal No. 953 of
2015
FACTS: A piece of land was purchased by the Society vide registered sale deed. It was
alleged by the complainant (Respondent No. 1) that Appellant Nos. 1 to 7, being
members of the Executive and Directors of Society, misusing the position, held Board
Meetings facilitating the sale of land in favour of their relatives (Appellant Nos. 7 to 12).
It was alleged by the complainant/Respondent No. 1 that the Appellants have fraudulently
usurped the property through the sale deeds, and thereby committed cheating. The
criminal complaint was filed by Respondent No. 1 whereby Appellants were summoned
in respect of offences punishable under Sections 406, 409, 420 read with Section 34
of Indian Penal Code. Appellants filed a petition under Section 482 Code of Criminal
Procedure before the High Court and the same was also dismissed. Hence, SLP was filed
and the petition was allowed.
HELD: It was held that from the above language of the S 415, one of the essential
ingredients for the offence of cheating is deception, but in the present case, from the
contents of the complaint it nowhere reflected that the complainant was deceived or he or
anyone else was induced to deliver the property by deception. All the transactions were
reflected in the resolutions, and sale deeds. The Court also held that none of the other
offences alleged have been made out by evidence on record and this is nothing but abuse
of process of court.

3. International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials
(ARCI) and Ors. v. Nimra Cerglass Technics (P) Ltd. and Ors.
The Respondent-complainant is a private limited company engaged in the
manufacturing and marketing of scientific devices and equipments. Appellant is the
International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials
(ARCI) who represented that ARCI possessed technology for manufacture of
extruded ceramic honeycombs. After having taken number of trial runs for testing
the efficacy of the extruded ceramic honeycombs the technology was handed over to
the Respondent and accordingly the Respondent was induced into remitting the
third instalment. Respondent was informed that the initial trial runs conducted by
the Scientists of ARCI succeeded and the Appellants thus, handed over a few
samples of the final product. After three years, the Respondent was informed vide
letter dated 23.10.2006 addressed to Technology Information, Forecasting and
Assessment Council (TIFAC) that the targeted specification of the end product
could not be achieved. Scientists working in ARCI had not perfected the honeycomb
technology sufficient for commencing commercial production and by their false
representations induced the Respondent to spend huge amount and thus Appellants
have committed an offence of cheating.
HELD: It was held that by reading of the above clauses in the technology transfer
agreement, it is seen that the development of technology ceramic honeycombs by
ARCI was experimental. Terms and conditions of technology transfer agreement
clearly suggest that the Centre is to conduct performance guarantee to achieve the
product quality/specification of extruded ceramic honeycombs as mentioned in
annexure-1 of the technology transfer agreement and make necessary rectification,
if required. The agreement provided for event of failure to achieve the guarantee
figures as per specification even after second performance test, and option was given
to ARCI either to conduct another performance test or pay the liquidated damages
equal to twenty percent on the lump-sum technology transfer fee charged. As per the
terms and conditions of the agreement, ARCI had the option to conduct
performance test to achieve the quality/specifications and when it could not achieve
these specifications, it cannot be said that ARCI acted with dishonest intention to
cheat the Respondent attracting the essential ingredients
of Section 420 Indian Penal Code.

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