Mariam Fasihuddin vs State 2024 INSC 49 :: [2024] 1 S.C.R. 623 – Ss 420,468,471 IPC – Cheating and Forgery- S 12(b) Passports Act -S 173(8) CrPC- Supplementary Report

Indian Penal Code, 1860; Section 420 – In order to attract the provisions of Section 420 IPC, the prosecution has to not only prove that the accused has cheated someone but also that by doing so, he has dishonestly induced the person who is cheated to deliver property. There are, thus, three components of this offence, i.e., (i) the deception of any person, (ii) fraudulently or dishonestly inducing that person to deliver any property to any person, and (iii) mens rea or dishonest intention of the accused at the time of making the inducemen- For the offence of cheating, fraudulent and dishonest intention must exist from the inception when the promise or representation was made – Every deceitful act is not unlawful, just as not every unlawful act is deceitful. Some acts may be termed both as unlawful as well as deceitful, and such acts alone will fall within the purview of Section 420 IPC – A statement of fact is deemed ‘deceitful’ when it is false, and is knowingly or recklessly made with the intent that it shall be acted upon by another person, resulting in damage or loss- ‘Cheating’ generally involves a preceding deceitful act that dishonestly induces a person to deliver any property or any part of a valuable security, prompting the induced person to undertake the said act, which they would not have done but for the inducement – The term ‘property’ employed in Section 420 IPC has a welldefined connotation. Every species of valuable right or interest that is subject to ownership and has an exchangeable value – is ordinarily understood as ‘property’. It also describes one’s exclusive right to possess, use and dispose of a thing. The IPC itself defines the term ‘moveable property’ as, “intended to include corporeal property of every description, except land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which is attached to the earth.” Whereas immoveable property is generally understood to mean land, benefits arising out of land and things attached or permanently fastened to the earth. (Para 10-13)

Indian Penal Code, 1860; Section 468 ,471– Two primary components that need to be fulfilled in order to establish the offence of ‘forgery’, namely: (i) that the accused has fabricated an instrument; and (ii) it was done with the intention that the forged document would be used for the purpose of cheating. Simply put, the offence of forgery requires the preparation of a false document with the dishonest intention of causing damage or injury – The offences of ‘forgery’ and ‘cheating’ intersect and converge, as the act of forgery is committed with the intent to deceive or cheat an individual. (Para 21-23)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 173(8) – The provision for submitting a supplementary report infers that fresh oral or documentary evidence should be obtained rather than reevaluating or reassessing the material already collected and considered by the investigating agency while submitting the initial police report, known as the chargesheet under Section 173(2) CrPC. In the absence of any new evidence found to substantiate the conclusions drawn by the investigating officer in the supplementary report, a Judicial Magistrate is not compelled to take cognizance, as such a report lacks investigative rigour and fails to satisfy the requisites of Section 173(8) CrPC. (Para 27)

Passports Act, 1967; Section 12(b) -What must be established is that the accused knowingly furnished false information or suppressed material information with the intent of obtaining a passport or travel document. (Para 35-36)

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 21 – The right to travel abroad is a fundamental right of an individual, albeit not absolute, and subject to established legal procedures. (Para 38)

Summary: Husband complaint was that the wife submitted passport application with his forged signatures was submitted, to procure the minor child’s passport- FIR registered at Police Station Adugodi, Bengaluru under Sections 420, 468, 471 read with Section 34 IPC – Discharge plea dismissed – Allowing appeal, SC Quashed FIR – imposed cost of Rs. 1,00,000 on husband

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