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Marriage proposal not reaching desired end does not amount to cheating: Supreme Court

The court had allowed an appeal filed by Raju Krishna Shedbalkar against Karnataka HC's order which refused to quash proceedings under Section 417 of the IPC.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 11:06 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said a marriage proposal not reaching the desired outcome does not always mean that it would amount to an offence of cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

"There can be multiple reasons for initiating a marriage proposal and then the proposal not reaching the desired end. It may in a given case involve cheating; it is possible theoretically, yet in order to prove an offence of cheating in such cases prosecution must have reliable and trustworthy evidence in order to first prosecute such a case," a bench of Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Prasanna B Varale said.

The court, in a recent order, allowed an appeal filed by Raju Krishna Shedbalkar against the Karnataka High Court's order which refused to quash the proceedings under Section 417 of the IPC.

"Time and again, this court has reiterated that in order to make out an offence under cheating the intention to cheat or deceive should be right from the beginning. By no stretch of imagination, this is even reflected from the complaint made by the informant," the bench said.

In the case, the High Court noted since the appellant alone had induced the girl's father to book a marriage hall, therefore, there is prima facie material which makes out a case under Section 417 IPC.

In the FIR lodged by the girl against six persons, she stated that she is M Tech graduate and was working as a lecturer. During the search for a suitable bridegroom, her elders found in the present appellant.Both were thereafter talking to each other on phone and her father had also given Rs 75,000 in advance for the marriage hall, but the marriage never took place and she learnt from a newspaper report that the appellant has in fact married someone else. Having gone through the facts, the bench said, "We do not see how an offence even under Section 417 of IPC is made out against the present appellant. There is no such evidence."

The High Court allowed the plea for quashing of the proceedings under Section 406, 420 and 417 against members of the appellant's family.

It, however, rejected the appellant's plea with regard to the offence under Section 417 of the IPC.

"We are afraid that the reasoning by the High Court upholding the proceedings under Section 417 is patently incorrect," the bench said.

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(Published 27 February 2024, 11:06 IST)

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