Indian Penal Code

Offence Affecting Property – Cheating

Cheating is a criminal and wrongful offense and it has many crimes in relation to it. It exists in various forms. In layman terms, cheating can be a dishonest or unfair act to gain an advantage over the other person or party. Cheating is saying or doing something wrong which makes someone believe that a thing is true when actually it is not. In this article, we will look at the various aspects of cheating under IPC.


Section 415

This section defines cheating 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 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”.

Constituents of Cheating

Acting Dishonestly

Section 24 of the Indian Penal Code defines the term ‘Acting Dishonestly’. It is defined as, “when the doing of any act or not doing of any act causes a wrongful gain of property to one person or a wrongful loss of property to a person, the said act is done dishonestly.”

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Property has a much larger meaning. It does not only include money but other things also. These other things are those which are measurable in terms of money. Moreover, the property should be in full-fledged ownership of the person and he must have the complete right to enjoy its use.


Being fraudulent means something which includes deception and mainly criminal deception. Hence, it is evident from fraud. According to section 25, “a person is said to do a thing fraudulently if he does that thing with intent to defraud but not otherwise.”

Mens Rea

Mens Rea is an intention or action to perform a crime. It is a psychological mindset of an offender while performing a crime. It has to be proved beyond any doubt that the accused has deliberately contributed to a crime. Moreover, that crime must affect another person’s property.

Section 417: Punishment for Cheating

Under this section, cheating is punishable with imprisonment up to one year or fine or both. Punishment depends upon the level of the act of the person. If the act is not that serious there won’t be any imprisonment.

In such a situation, there will be fine only. But when the act was done is so serious that merely fine and imprisonment won’t compensate, then the person will be charged with mandatory jail of seven years along with fine.

Section 419: Punishment for cheating by personation.

Under this section, “Whoever cheats by personation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

 Question on Offence Affecting Property – Cheating

Question: What are the constituents of Section 420?

Answer: Following are the major or important constituents of Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code:

  1. Cheating
  2. Dishonest intention to take the property of another person or stimulate him to deliver the property
  3. Deceitful or malice intention
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