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Mere Failure to fulfill a promise – Is not enough to hold a person guilty of cheating

Mere failure to fulfill a promise cannot be a ground to draw proceedings for prosecution under Section 420 Indian Penal Code. The essential ingredient for an offence punishable under Section 420 Indian Penal Code is dishonest misrepresentation on the part of the accused at the time of making promise. In the case of V.P. Srivastava v. Indian Explosives Ltd., (2010) 10 SCC 361, the Apex Court held that mere failure to perform the promise, by itself is not enough to hold a person guilty of cheating. It is necessary to show that at the time of making promise he had fraudulent or dishonest intention to deceive or to induce person so deceived to do something which he would otherwise not do. It was observed that such a culpable intention right at the time of entering into an agreement cannot be presumed merely from his failure to keep the promise subsequently. Govind Chandra Gupta v. State of U.P., 2014 (85) ACC 743.

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