fraud

This article written by Shiba Prasada Sarangi, is a case commentary of Abhayananda Mishra vs. The State of Bihar.

Introduction

The most infamous and intractable issues have occurred in the field of attempts across the spectrum of inchoate crime covering the principles of attempt, conspiracy, and provocation or accusation. A crime is often viewed as a socially unacceptable act that shakes the public’s conscience. In criminal law, there are three steps of committing a crime: intention, plan, and attempt, which are both connected. In the case of Abhayanand Mishra vs. The State of Bihar, the court distinguishes between “preparation” and “attempt” to commit an offence and goes into great detail about the commission of the massive fraud. In the above case, Abhayanand Mishra was the petitioner and The State of Bihar was the respondent.  The pleaders for the petitioner are H. J. Umrigar, P. Rana and M. K. Ramamurai and H. R. Khanna and T. M. Sen, for the respondent. The judgment was given by the Bench of two Justice Raghubar Dayal and k.Subbarao. The author has taken a course of doctrinal research methodology for this case commentary to pave the way for a comparative study among legal proceedings related to the given case. 

Facts of the case

  1. The petitioner wanted Patna University to give permission to sit as a private candidate for the 1954 M. A. exam in English. Informing him that he was a former student who received his B.A. in 1951 and that he had been employed as a teacher in a particular school.
  2. He attached those authentications dispatched to the Headmaster of a School and the Inspector of Schools mentioned in his application.
  3. The University specialists accepted the litigant’s official statements, granted permission, and followed with him, demanding a charge reduction and two duplicates of his photo.
  4. It was outfitted by the petitioner, and on April 9, 1954, a suitable confirmation card for him was sent to the School’s Headmaster.
  5. The university received information that the appealing party is not an alumnus or a teacher. Requests were made, and it was discovered that the application’s qualifications were fraudulent and fictitious, that the appealing party was not an alumnus or a teacher, and that he had been prohibited from taking any university test for a period of time due to his submission of degenerate practice at a university examination.
  6. As a result, the problem was reported to the cops, who investigated and took disciplinary action against the petitioner. The petitioner was found not guilty of fabricating such declarations but was convicted for attempting to steal when he deceived the university and persuaded the specialists to issue the affirmation card, which would have been sent to the litigant if the bribery had not been detected.

Issues raised

  • The first is that the facts discovered did not add up to the appealing party attempting to cheat/swindle the university-based solely on his development of fraud arrangements.
  • Second, regardless of whether the appealing party obtained the confirmation card and appeared at the M. A. Exam, no charge of bribery under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code will have been filed so the university would not have suffered any harm to its tarnished image. The chances of the university falling into financial ruin are very low.
  • The facts presented do not go beyond the stage of recovery for the commission of the offence of “cheating,” nor do they create the offence of “attempting to cheat”.

Judgment

In this case, the appellant meant to mislead the university to obtain the necessary permission and approval stamp, so he not only submitted an application for authorisation to sit at the university assessment, but he then tailed it off, after receiving the necessary authorisation, by dispatching the necessary charges and submitting duplicates of his photo, which the university accepted and issued his admit card.

In this way, it’s hard to argue that the litigant’s actions didn’t add up to his attempting to execute the crime and that he hadn’t progressed beyond the stage of negotiation. When he had arranged the document with the intention of being admitted to the university, the preparation was complete. He penetrated the realm of crime trying to commit cheating, the moment he dispatched it. He was effective in duping the university into issuing the concealed passport. He simply failed to obtain it and sit for the examination when something beyond his influence happened, including the fact that the University was informed of his status as neither an alumni nor a teacher.

Abhayanand was charged with attempting to defraud, which is punishable under Sections 420 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1850). The judges decided that Abhayanand had committed cheating and that it was not simply a prelude to cheating because he had done whatever he could to defraud the University on his own. As a result, he had moved from training to attempt. He was found guilty of attempting to defraud the court and the appeal was rejected.

Case analysis

On my point of view-A an individual intends to commit an offence punishable by this Code when: (a) he performs any act towards its commission with the reason or knowledge required for doing so; (b) the act is directly associated with, and proximate to, the commission of the offence; and (c) the act fails in its purpose because of evidence not known to him (legal impossibility). The court noted Section 511 and attempted under the Indian Penal Code differently, citing the cases of Queen vs. Paterson, Regina vs. Padala Venkatasami, and Reg. vs. Chessman.

Petitioner’s arguments

The litigant argued that the prosecution was unfeasible based on the evidence contained that: 

(1) the admit card had no monetary value and hence was not property under Section 415; and 

(2) Purely on the basis, his methods did not go beyond laying the groundwork for the commission of the crime of deceit and did not, in this way, make out the offence of attempting to mislead or cheat.

Respondent’s argument

The litigant defrauded the university by-

  1. leading the university in the wrong way;
  2. inducing the university to transfer some property to him in a fraudulent or unscrupulous manner; or
  3. had purposefully induced the university to allow him to sit for the M.A. Assessment, which it would not have done if it had not been duped, and the university’s granting of such permission caused or was likely to cause harm or loss to the university’s reputation. There is no doubt that the litigant misled the university by making false statements about his status as an alumnus and a teacher in the applications he sent to the university, and that his intention was to get the university to agree and send him the confirmation card that would have enabled him to sit for the M.A. examination.

Conclusion

In the above case, the attempts, having begun and an illegal crime has rendered it ineffective with the commission of the attempted act, do not appear in criminal attempts as per the author’s opinion, unless the person committing the crime does or can apologise before the attempt is done. Section 511 uses the word “attempt” in a very broad sense; one cannot ignore that such an attempt might be made up of a series of actions, each of which is capable of resulting in the punishment, even though the act doesn’t have the terms related to attempt. It doesn’t really say that the key action culpable under the field is the last act that will shape the last piece of an effort in the larger sense. It expressly states that anybody who engages in such an attempt, simply using the term in its broadest sense, will be held liable for any act/demonstration, and so on. The expression “every act/demonstration” ignores the notion that the last act/demonstration is strictly prosecuted if it falls short of genuine commission.

References

 

  • Criminal Manual (Criminal Major Act) by Justice Khastgir
  • The Indian Contracts Act, 1972.
  • Singh, Avtar Law of Contract and Specific Relief (Tenth Edition, Eastern Book Company)
  • Anson, Law of Contract (28th Edition, Oxford)
  • Bangia R, Law of Torts (23rd edition, Allahabad Law Agency, 2013).
  • Ratanlal and Dhirajlal, The Law of Torts (27th edition, Lexis Nexis, 2016).
  • Peel W and Goudcamp J, Tort (19th edition, S&M, 2015).
  • White M, ‘SUPREME COURT OF CANADA BRINGS CLARITY TO VICARIOUS LIABILITY OF CHURCHES IN CANADA’ (2005) 11

 


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