Summary of Recent judgment

Case: Mariam Fasihuddin & Anr. v. State by Adugodi Police Station & Anr.

Date of Order / Judgment: 22nd January, 2024

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justice Surya Kant and Justice K.V Viswanathan


In the present case, the first appellant and the second respondent are spouses. The husband worked in London and both husband and wife decided to live there. After relocating, the husband abandoned the wife in London leading her to reside with relatives. Following this, the wife gave birth to a child in India and applied for the child’s passport on the husband’s instructions. The husband later alleged the appellant (wife and relatives) of forging his signature for the child’s passport. An FIR was registered under Sections 420, 468, 471 r/w Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Simultaneously, charges under Section 12(b) of the Passports Act were also added against the wife and her relatives. The Trial Court rejected the discharge application filed by the appellants. As a result, the appellants filed a criminal revision before the High Court which was also dismissed. Subsequently, challenging the order of the High Court, the wife and her relatives filed a criminal appeal before the Supreme Court.


Whether the act of the wife forging the signatures of her husband to seek a passport for her minor child constitute the offence of cheating and forgery under IPC?


The Court noted that in order to invoke Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, the prosecution must not only prove the act of cheating but has to also prove cheating induced the person to surrender the property in question, establishing a connection between deceit and inducement. The Court observed that “It is thus paramount that in order to attract the provisions of Section 420 IPC, the prosecution has to not only prove that the accused has cheated someone but also that by doing so, he has dishonestly induced the person who is cheated to deliver property. There are, thus, three components of this offence, i.e.

  • the deception of any person
  • fraudulently or dishonestly inducing that person to deliver any property to any person
  • mens rea or dishonest intention of the accused at the time of making the inducement. There is no gainsaid that for the offence of cheating, fraudulent and dishonest intention must exist from the inception when the promise or representation was made.”

Thus, the Supreme Court set aside the judgment passed by the High Court and thereby quashed the pending criminal case against the Appellants with a cost of Rs. 1,00,000/- on the husband.