IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th January, 2024 Polity


Copyright infringement not intended

Picture Courtesy: lawrato.com

Context: The Supreme Court's recent ruling on cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is a significant one, clarifying the essential elements of the offence and potentially impacting future prosecutions.


  • Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the offence of cheating and dishonestly inducing the delivery of property.

Section 420 of the IPC reads as follows:  "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."

Key Elements of Section 420

  • Act of Cheating: The section requires an act of cheating, which involves deceiving someone.
  • Dishonest Inducement: The cheating must involve dishonestly inducing a person to do something. This inducement can be through false representation, concealment of facts, or any other fraudulent means.
  • Delivery of Property: The dishonest inducement should lead to the person being deceived in delivering any property. This property can be tangible (physical items) or intangible (such as rights).

Example: If person A cheats person B by making false promises or fraudulent representations, inducing B to deliver money or property, then A could be charged under Section 420 if the elements of cheating, dishonest inducement, and delivery of property are satisfied.


  • The punishment for the offence under Section 420 is imprisonment, which may extend to seven years.
  • Additionally, the person convicted under this section is liable to pay a fine.

Cognizable and Non-bailable

  • The offence under Section 420 is cognizable, meaning the police can arrest without a warrant.
  • It is also non-bailable, which means that bail is not a matter of right for the accused, and the discretion lies with the court.
  • Courts may interpret and apply the section based on the facts of each case, considering the principles of cheating, dishonest inducement, and the resulting delivery of property.


  • Section 420 plays a vital role in protecting individuals from fraud and upholding business ethics. Understanding its intricacies is crucial for both potential victims and legal professionals. The recent Supreme Court ruling adds a layer of nuance, emphasizing the need for a clear connection between deception and loss. It remains to be seen how this ruling will impact future prosecutions and the overall fight against cheating in India.


Q. Police misconduct and custodial torture continue to be major concerns. How can India strengthen mechanisms for holding police accountable, ensuring fair investigations, and preventing human rights violations within the law enforcement system?