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Home » Cheating in Criminal Law: Deception and Fraudulent Inducement

Cheating in Criminal Law: Deception and Fraudulent Inducement

Criminal Law for Law Entrances

Cheating is a significant offence in criminal law that involves deceiving a person and fraudulently inducing them to deliver property, consent to property retention or engage in actions that cause harm. 

Definition of Cheating

According to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), cheating is defined as follows. 

“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 or 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’.”

In simple words,

Cheating is when someone tricks or deceives another person in a dishonest way to make them give up their property, agree to let someone else keep their property or do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise. This dishonest behaviour causes harm or damage to the victim’s body, mind, reputation or property.

Essentials of Cheating

The essentials of cheating are:

Deceiving any person

The first essential element of cheating is deceiving a person, which involves intentionally misleading or tricking them through false statements, concealment of facts or any other fraudulent means. Deception is a crucial aspect of cheating, as it forms the basis for inducing the victim to take certain actions or make specific decisions.

Fraudulently or dishonestly inducing the person.

To constitute cheating, the person committing the offence must fraudulently or dishonestly induce the deceived person to deliver the property to someone else or consent to retain the property. This can involve false promises, misrepresentations or manipulative tactics designed to convince the victim to part with their property.

Inducing the person to do or omit to do something

Cheating also includes intentionally inducing the deceived person to perform or refrain from certain actions that they would not have done or omitted had they not been deceived. This element focuses on manipulating the victim’s behaviour based on false information or deceptive tactics.

Causes or is likely to cause damage or harm.

The act or omission induced by the cheater must cause or potentially cause damage or harm to the deceived person. This harm can be physical, mental, reputational or financial, impacting the victim’s well-being, reputation or property.

Examples of Cheating

Examples of cheating are:

Investment Scam

A person presents a fraudulent investment scheme, promising high returns to potential investors. The individual deceives several people into investing their money by providing false information and misrepresenting the investment’s risks and potential gains. As a result, the victims suffer financial harm due to the deceptive inducement, and the offender can be charged with cheating.

Marriage Fraud

An individual enters into a marriage with someone solely to obtain wealth or citizenship status. By deceitfully inducing the victim to marry and enter into a legal relationship, the offender obtains access to the victim’s property or benefits. The victim suffers emotional distress, financial loss and reputational harm due to the cheating act.

Fake Job Offer

A person poses as a representative of a reputable company and offers a job to an unsuspecting individual. The job offer includes a request for an upfront fee or personal information for verification purposes. By deceiving the job seeker into believing the offer is genuine and inducing them to pay the fee or share personal details, the cheater gains unlawful benefits, and the victim suffers financial loss and potential identity theft.


Cheating in criminal law involves deceiving a person and fraudulently inducing them to deliver property, consenting to retain the property or engaging in actions that cause harm. The essential elements include deception, fraudulent inducement, inducing specific actions or omissions and resulting damage or harm. 

Note: Access complete CLAT Legal Reasoning notes here.

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