Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code

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Not to be confused with 420 (drug culture).

Section 420 in the Indian Penal Code deals with Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property. The maximum punishment which can be awarded is imprisonment for a term of 7 year and fine.[1]

Definitions[edit]

  • Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.: 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.[1]

Distinction Between 'Cheating' and 'Breach of Contract'[edit]

Distinction between mere 'breach of contract' and the 'offence of cheating' is a fine one. It depends upon the intention of the accused at the time to inducement which may be judged by his subsequent conduct but for this subsequent conduct is not the sole test. Mere breach of contract cannot give rise to criminal prosecution for cheating unless fraudulent or dishonest intention is shown right at the beginning of the transaction, that is the time when the offence is said to have been committed. Therefore, it is the intention which is the gist of the offence. To hold a person guilty of cheating it is necessary to show that he had fraudulent or dishonest intention at the time of making the promise. From his mere failure to keep up promise subsequently such a culpable intention right at the beginning, that is, when he made the promise cannot be presumed.[2]

Distinction Between 'Cheating' and 'Misrepresentation'[edit]

A mere representation, which is neither claimed or alleged to be dishonest or fraudulent would not attract the charge of cheating only because the complainant parts with his money on the basis thereof.[3]

In Popular Culture[edit]

The term "420" is used in India to refer to a confidence trickster. This section was also in use in other neighboring countries such as Myanmar, where the term 420 persists in popular culture to this date. In the Nigerian Criminal Code, the same offence is covered by article 419, which has now lent its name to the advance fee fraud.[citation needed]

The title of a two popular Hindi films - Chachi 420 (in English: Trickster Aunt, a 1997 remake of Mrs. Doubtfire) and Shri 420 (in English: "Mr. 420, a 1955 film), are direct references to Section 420 of the IPC.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Section 420 in The Indian Penal Code". Indian Kanoon. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Hridaya Rangan Pd. Verma And Ors vs State Of Bihare". Indian Kanoon. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Abdul Fazal Siddiqui vs Fatehchand Hirawat And Another". Indian Kanoon. Retrieved 12 July 2015.