Read Order: Kawaljeet Singh v. State Of Haryana And Another

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, May 25, 2022: While dealing a case wherein the accused were selling fake products of different companies on their websites, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that a perusal of Sections 415 and 420 IPC would show that in cheating, there is a dishonest inducement or delivering any property or making over any valuable security and the taking of money itself is a valuable security.

The Bench of Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri held, “By the definition of cheating, it becomes clear that even an act or omission comes or is likely to cause harm to ‘body’ or mind etc., then it is cheating. In the present case, the petitioner allegedly sold fake face cream and slim tea which can affect both body and mind.”

The present petition was filed under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. for seeking quashing of the proceedings against the petitioner arising out of an FIR registered under Section 420 IPC and Sections 63 and 65 of Copyright Act. 

In this case, the petitioner along with other co-accused who were working in the name of SHOPPINGADDA.COM, were selling fake products of other companies on their website. The complaint leading to the filing of the FIR was made by one Manoj Kumar, who has been authorized by Teleshop Teleshopping Company, the products (Easy Slim Tea and Fair Look Cream) of which were also so sold. 

The complainant placed an order for Easy Slim Tea and Fair Look Cream with the aforesaid SHOPPINGADDA.COM and when he got connected with one Kanwaljeet Singh (petitioner), he took his order and assured him that he shall bring six boxes of Easy Slim Tea and Fair Look Cream. It was further stated by the owners of SHOPPINGADDA.COM, that Prince Chugh and Kanwaljeet were illegally selling the products of their company. 

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner was only an employee of the company and not the Director of the company. The Counsel for the petitioner further submitted that the present FIR was lodged under Sections 63 and 65 of Copyright Act were non-cognizable offences and so far as Section 420 IPC was concerned, no offence was made out under Section 420 IPC and, therefore, the present FIR was liable to be quashed. 

On the other hand, the State counsel submitted that it was a case where the petitioner along with other co-accused was selling fake products on their website by imitating the products of the main company and in this way, a large number of people were cheated by the petitioner and the co-accused. 

Further, negating the arguments raised by the petitioner’s counsel on Section 420 IPC, the Counsel argued that the ingredients of Section 415 read with Section 420 IPC were fulfilled and the FIR should not be quashed at the threshold as it would be a matter of evidence at the time of trial on which the petitioner was liable to face trial on the basis of the allegations against the petitioner. He further submitted that the petitioner was specifically named in the FIR wherein he talked with the complainant and agreed to bring the packet of these products at specified places. 

The Court observed at the very outset that the argument raised by the counsel for the petitioner that the allegations could not be termed as cheating was misconceived. In this regard, from the perusal of Section 415 IPC, the Court observed that cheating has been defined as whoever by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to “cheat”. 

And, further, from a perusal of Section 420 IPC, the Court added that the offence under Section 420 IPC would be made out when a person cheats and thereby dishonestly induces any person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy any whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into valuable security shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years. 

Thus, by the definition of cheating, the Court held that even act or omission causes or likely to cause harm to ‘body’ or mind etc., then it is cheating. The Court added that in the present case, the petitioner allegedly sold fake face cream and slim tea which can affect both body and mind. 

Further, Justice Puri held that a perusal of Sections 415 and 420 IPC would show that in cheating, there is a dishonest inducement or delivering any property or taking over any valuable security and the offence of Section 420 IPC is therefore made out. 

The taking of money itself is a valuable security and the role attributed by the petitioner in the present case was clearly stated in the FIR, observed the Court. 

Also,  while holding that the evidence is to be produced at the time of trial and it is not a case that it can be said that on the face of it the FIR is liable to be quashed, the Court was of the view that no ground was made out for quashing of the FIR at the threshold. 

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