Akhil Kishore Ram vs Emperor case is of the British times in India, which deals with the offence of cheating under Section 420 the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The judgement in this case held that if a person induces another person(s) to purchase something and gets money from that person(s) by misrepresenting a fact or promising to fulfil something which is uncertain.
EQUIVALENT CITATIONS: 1938 PAT 185, 174 IND Cas 635
DATE OF JUDGEMENT: November 26th, 1937
COURT: Patna High Court
BENCH: F Ali, Rowland
- The petitioner, Akhil Kishore Ram had a business of selling charms and incantations in his own name and under thirteen other aliases, which he used to advertise in several newspapers in several provinces of India and despatched them by value-payable post to persons responding to the advertisements.
- These advertisements were aimed at gullible men and women who wanted to be famous without putting in the necessary hard work and effort. The petitioner advertised “Gupt Mantra ad” which was very catchy and said, “No need to invest lacs when success can be had with no effort or hardship at all. Buy this Gupt Mantra and say it seven times to win in life, marriage, work, litigation, and so on.” And claimed “Will send Rs. 270 in postage, with a reward of Rs. 100 if found to be incompetent”.
- 25,000 customers purchased the Gupt Mantra. A few of them filed a complaint of cheating against the petitioner because the gupt mantra instructions required them to endure a great deal of hardship, such as “keep looking at the moon without blinking for 15 minutes to use this mantra”. Since it listed no such instruction in the advertisement, they felt misled. They would never have purchased the gupt mantra if they had known they would have to perform an impossible task of staring at the moon for 15 minutes.
- The petitioner was brought before the Magistrate on six charges, which were tried in two batches of three each, and was of found guilty cheating under Section 420 of the IPC on all charges and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 18 months.
- He was also ordered to pay a Rs. 500 fine and, in default, to six months of rigorous incarceration; the fine and imprisonment sentences are cumulative. The petitioner appealed against the decision of the Magistrate before the Patna Sessions Judge, which was denied. Thus, the petitioner appealed before the Patna High Court.
Whether the petitioner has committed the offence of cheating under Section 420 of IPC?
Rowland, J: The advertisement gave confirmed assurance that there was no need for hardship or planning, and the situation referred to contradicts that assurance, on which the witnesses claimed to have acted and without which they would not have responded to the advertisement.
The accused was liable to seven years of imprisonment for each of the six offences for which he was convicted, and the terms of substantial imprisonment sentenced, namely eighteen months, which would amount to consecutive sentences of three months for each offence, are not excessive; nor are the penalties. The petitioner has been rightly convicted by the Magistrate.
The Patna High Court held that the Magistrate and the Patna Sessions Court had rightly convicted the petitioner and were convinced of the offence committed by him.
The court found the petitioner guilty of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, as he used thirteen aliases and marketed dishonestly in order to defraud others of their money through a well-planned scheme.
The Court upheld the view that the act of luring someone into buying a product represented to have the ability to turn something uncertain and unpredictable into favourable and assuring that it will make someone achieve success will be cheating and is a punishable offence under Section 420 of the IPC.
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