Breach of promise to marry, not cheating under Sec. 415 of IPC

Breach of promise to marry, not cheating under Sec. 415 of IPC

A criminal petition was filed in the Karnataka High Court which requested for quashing the FIR registered under sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), and 34 (common intention) of IPC. The case of the petitioner is that he had promised to marry respondent 8 years back but he failed to marry her and got married to some other woman, which his family supported to marry. Later, aggrieved by the situation, she filed a complaint against the petitioner.

The petitioners argued in the court that the present FIR is an attempt to harass him and his family members from the side of the respondent. They further asserted that the ingredients of section 415 are not getting fulfilled in the instant case. The Police investigation is also not under any progress despite the fact of his obtaining bail and appearing before the Police authorities. Although, the learned counsel for the respondent stated that the third limb of section 415 is attracted. She would have gotten married and settled down in her life but due to the breach of promise, she failed to do so.

The bench relied upon the case of Abhoy Pradhan v. State of West Bengal, in which it was upheld that a mere promise to marry and later withdrawing the said promise will not constitute a cheating offence. On such a false promise to marry, the individual. Whoever made such a promise should have followed through or omitted to do something he would not have done. In this case, there is no evidence on record to establish that because of the promise made by the petitioner, the respondent has done or failed to do anything that has the potential to cause injury or harm to the body, mind, or reputation or the property to her.

The decision of the Supreme Court was observed in the instant case as well, that is of S.W.Palanitkar and Others Vs. State of Bihar and Another, which held that a simple breach of contract cannot give rise to criminal prosecution for cheating unless fraudulent or dishonest intent is demonstrated right from the start of the transaction and the time when the offence is said to have taken place have been carried out

The Single Judge bench of Justice K. Natarajan held that “Such being the case, continuing the proceedings or investigation against the petitioners is an abuse of the process of law and therefore, the same is liable to be quashed”.

Case Name: Venkatesh And State of Karnataka