What is Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)?

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What is Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)? Blog Image


The Supreme Court recently held that while prosecuting a person for the offence of cheating under Section 420 of the IPC, it is to be seen whether the deceitful act of cheating was coupled with an inducement leading to the parting of any property by the complainant.

About Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • Section 420 of the IPC, or IPC 420 as it is commonly known, deals with the act of cheating and dishonestly inducing 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 capable of being converted into a valuable security.
  • Section 415 of the IPC defines the offence of cheating. In simpler terms, cheating is a dishonest act performed in order to gain some advantage out of it.
  • Section 420 IPC is a serious form of cheating that includes inducement (to lead or move someone to happen) in terms of the delivery of property as well as valuable securities.
  • This section is also applicable to matters where the destruction of property is caused by cheating or inducement. 
  • The person found guilty under this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to a fine.
  • The offence is cognizable and non-bailable.
  • The essential ingredients that go into the making of an offence under Section 420, IPC are:
    • That the representation made by the accused was false;
    • That the accused knew that the representation was false at the very time when he made it;
    • That the accused made the false representation with the dishonest intention of deceiving the person to whom it was made; and
    • That the accused thereby induced that person to deliver any property or to do or to omit to do something which he would otherwise not have done or omitted.

Q1) What is a cognizable offense? 

A Cognizable offense or case is defined as the one which an officer in-charge of a police station may investigate without the order of a magistrate and effect arrest without warrant. The Police have a direct responsibility to take immediate action on the receipt of a complaint or of credible information in such crimes, visit the scene of the crime, investigate the facts, apprehend the offender and arraign him before a Court of law having jurisdiction over the matter. 

Source: Mere Cheating Will Not Attract S.420 IPC Offence; Accused Must Dishonestly Induce Cheated Person To Deliver Property : Supreme Court