Read Judgment: Rekha Jain v. The State of Karnataka & Anr 

Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, May 11, 2022: The Supreme Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against the appellant-accused or the offence under Section 420 of IPC on the ground that there was no allegation against the accused-Rekha Jain of any inducement by her to deceive and to deliver the gold jewellery. The allegations of dishonest inducement and cheating were against her husband.

The Division Bench of Justice M.R.Shah and Justice B.V.Nagarathna clarified that as per Section 420 of IPC, whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, can be said to have committed the offence under such Section. Therefore, to make out a case against a person for the offence under Section 420, there must be a dishonest inducement to deceive a person to deliver any property to any other person, noted the Bench.

The factual background of this case was such that the original complainant lodged a complaint against one Kamalesh Mulchand Jain (husband of Rekha Jain), alleging  that by misrepresentation, inducement and with an intention to cheat him, appellant’s husband took away more than 2 kgs of gold jewellery. A complaint was registered for the offence under Section 420 of Indian Penal Code. Considering that the appellant-Rekha Jain was absconding and the gold jewellery was with her, the investigation was carried out against her as well. When the appellant approached the High Court by way of a petition under section 482 of Cr.PC , the High Court refused to quash the criminal proceedings/FIR against the appellant. Hence, the present appeal was filed.

Noticing that all the allegations were against the accused Kamalesh Mulchand Jain and there were no allegations whatsoever to the effect that the accused-Rekha Jain induced the complainant to part with the gold jewellery, the Bench said, “Therefore, in the absence of any allegation of inducement by the accused Rekha Jain, she cannot be prosecuted for the offence under Section 420 of IPC. There must be a dishonest inducement by the accused.”

Holding that this was a fit case where the High Court could have exercised its powers under Section 482 of CrPC to quash the criminal proceedings against the appellant for the offence under Section 420 of IPC, the Apex Court partly allowed and clarified that what was quashed was the criminal proceedings for the offence under Section 420 only and not for any other offences,if any, committed by the appellant-accused.

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