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Cheating by Personating (S. 416, Indian Penal Code, 1860) – Explained!

January 9, 2019 0 Comment

A person is said to “cheat by personating” if he cheats by pretending to be some other person, or by knowingly substituting one person for another, or repre­senting that he or any other person is a person other than he or such other person really is. (S. 416).

The offence is committed whether the individual personated is a real or imaginary person.

Illustrations:

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A cheats by pretending to be a certain rich banker of the same name. A cheats by personation.

A cheats by pretending to be B, a person who is deceased. A cheats by personation.

(b) A is guilty of cheating by personation because he falsely pre­tending himself to be a member of University at Cambridge by ap­pearing in a commoner’s cap and purchased goods, which he did not intend to pay for.

(c) A is guilty of cheating by personation and forgery.

Problem:

An Oath Commissioner is induced to attest an affidavit by the deception practiced by the appellant in wrongly identifying the person as G when he was in fact not G. Is the appellant guilty of abetting the offence of cheating by personation within the meaning of the provisions S. 419 read with S. 109 (punishment of abetment) I.P.C.?

It is no doubt true that the Oath Commissioner was induced to attest the affidavit by the deception practiced by the appellant in wrongly identifying the person as G when he was in fact not G. That act done by the Oath Commissioner of attesting the affidavit could not, however, possibly cause any damage or harm to the Oath Com­missioner in body, mind, reputation or property.

The Oath Commis­sioner was obviously not induced to deliver any property to anybody by his wrong identification, nor was he induced to consent that any person should retain any property. The facts found, therefore, did not constitute the offence of cheating at all.

The conviction for the of­fence under S. 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) substan­tively or with the aid of S. 109 (punishment of abetment if the act abetted is committed in consequence), Indian Penal Code, could only have been justified if the facts proved constituted all the ingredients of the offence of cheating. Clearly, therefore the appellant cannot be convicted of the offence under S. 419, read with S. 109, I.P.C. [Ram Jas v. State of U.P., 1970(1) S.C.C. 740].

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