Cheating (law) At lawcheating is a specific criminal offence relating to property. Historically, to cheat was to commit a misdemeanor at common law. However, in most jurisdictions, the offence has now been codified into statute. Section 415 of the IPC deals with the offence of ‘Cheating’.

Essential Elements:

  • The accused deceives a person
  • By such deception, the accused dishonestly causes the person to deliver or retain any property
  • By such deception, the accused intentionally causes the person to do or omit to do something which he would not have done, but for the deception; and such act or omission harms the victim.


X, by falsely pretending to be a civil servant induces Y to give him some goods on credit. X is guilty of cheating. He has deceived Y and induced him to deliver property, which Y would not have otherwise done.

Other Essential Elements:

  • ‘Deception’ is the crux of cheating. The accused must, by his acts, mislead the victim. If the accused does something innocently without the intention to mislead, he will not be guilty of cheating.
  • If the victim discovers the fraud before delivering the property, then accused in not guilty. But, if at the time of the transaction, the victim does not know of the deception the accused will be guilty. It does not matter than the victim could have know the truth by investigation.

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