January 27, 2024 In Uncategorized


A two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Datta Judgment dated 22.01.2024 in the matter of Mariam Fasihuddin & Anr vs. State by Adugodi Police Station & Anr, Criminal Appeal No. 335 of 2024 and observed that not every deceitful act is considered illegal, and similarly, not every illegal act is deceitful. The Supreme Court has also stated that a Judicial Magistrate is not required to take action based on a supplementary report if it lacks investigative rigour and fails to meet the requirements of Section 173(8) (Report of police officer on completion of investigation) Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, especially if there is no new evidence to support the conclusions drawn by the investigating officer.


i) That the aforesaid Appeal was filed before the Apex Court by one, Mariam Fasihuddin and Mohammad Fasihuddin (Appellants) against the State and, Shaik Fahid Ahmed (Respondents), challenging the Order dated 18.02.2021 of the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka, Bengaluru (High Court), which dismissed the Criminal Revision Petition No. (CRLRP-692-2018) and dismissed the Complaint (CC No. 23545/2011) dated 15.03.2018 lodged by the Appellant.

ii) The Wife (Appellant No. 1) and the Husband (Respondent No. 2) got married in Bengaluru on 02.08.2007. At that time, the Respondent No. 2 was involved in a software business in the United Kingdom. He assured his wife that they would reside together in London after marriage.

iii) According to the Appellants, after much persuasion, the Wife managed to accompany Respondent No. 2 to London. However, he allegedly abandoned her and confined her to her sister-in-law’s residence. Subsequently, Respondent No. 2 returned to India.

iv) The Wife’s father (Appellant No. 2) intervened to facilitate her return to India. On 02.06.2008, the wife gave birth to a child, and the Appellants claim that Respondent No. 2 and his family provided no financial assistance. Further, in January 2009, the Wife, allegedly following Respondent No. 2’s instructions, applied for a passport for the child.

v) As per the Appellants, the marriage was marked by physical and mental torture due to Respondent No. 2’s financial demands. During his visit to India in 2009, he allegedly subjected the wife to coercion and torture, leading her to file a complaint on 07.04.2010.

vi) In response, Respondent No. 2 filed a complaint on 13.05.2010, accusing the Appellants of forging his signatures on the child’s passport application. This complaint led to FIR No. 141/2010. Following an investigation, a chargesheet was filed, and a case (CC No. 23545/2011) commenced for the offences punishable under Section 420 read with Section 34 IPC.

vii) The Appellants sought to quash the chargesheet through Criminal Petition No. 3600/2012, which was dismissed. They were granted the liberty to approach the Trial Magistrate for discharge. The Trial Magistrate, on 24.06.2015, allowed further investigation in response to Respondent No. 2’s request. The Appellants’ discharge application was dismissed, prompting them to move an application under Section 239 CrPC.

viii) The Trial Magistrate allowed further investigation and filed a supplementary chargesheet on 25.07.2017, adding more offences. The case involved allegations of forgery in obtaining the child’s passport.

ix) The Appellants contested the charges, arguing there were no grounds to frame charges, but the Trial Magistrate declined to discharge them on 15.03.2018. The Appellants challenged this decision through Criminal Revision Petition No. 692/2018, but the High Court, on 18.02.2021, dismissed it, emphasizing the need for a full-fledged trial based on specific allegations against the Appellants.


I) The Trial Court, in its observations, appears to have directed further investigation into the charges against the Appellants. It noted the charges under Sections 420, 468, 471, read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 12(b) of the Passports Act, 1967. The Court discussed the elements of cheating under Section 420 IPC, and emphasised the need to establish deception, inducement, and dishonest intention. It also delved into the offence of forgery under Sections 468 and 471 IPC, highlighting the requirement of preparing a false document with the intent to cheat.

II) Furthermore, the Trial Court expressed concerns about procedural irregularities, pointing out that the supplementary chargesheet relied on existing material without presenting new evidence. It questioned the reliability of a private laboratory report and underscored the necessity of substantial proof. The Court also discussed the context of a marital dispute, urging a careful examination of the complainant’s motives. In conclusion, the Trial Court seemed critical of the continuation of criminal proceedings and emphasized the absence of essential elements in the charges of cheating and forgery.


i) The High Court, in its observations, addressed the appeal challenging the Trial Court’s decision. It analyzed the charges against the Appellants under Sections 420, 468, 471 IPC, and Section 12(b) of the Passports Act, 1967. The High Court explored the elements of cheating, emphasizing the necessity to establish deception, inducement, and dishonest intention, as well as the absence of tangible loss or damage.

ii) Regarding forgery under Sections 468 and 471 IPC, the High Court discussed the requirement of preparing a false document with the intent to cheat, highlighting the lack of evidence for dishonest intention. It also pointed out procedural irregularities, questioning the reliability of a private laboratory report and the absence of new evidence in the supplementary chargesheet.

iii) The High Court expressed reservations about the continuation of criminal proceedings, considering the absence of essential elements for cheating and forgery. It set aside the Trial Court’s decision, quashing the FIR against the Appellants. The High Court also imposed a cost on the complainant, emphasizing the need for caution in invoking severe offences based on conjectures.


Aggrieved by the Order dated 18.02.2021 of the High Court, Appellants filed Criminal Appeal No. 335 of 2024 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, thereby challenging the High Court Order that dismissed the Criminal Revision Petition.


The primary question before the Court was, whether there is a prima facie case to warrant the Appellants’ trial. In examining this, the following issues arose for consideration:

A) Does the conduct of the Appellants, at first glance, amount to the offence of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)?

B) Is there a prima facie case established for forgery under Sections 468 and 471 of the IPC?

C) Has there been a prima facie violation of Section 12(b) of the Passports Act, 1967?


The Supreme Court’s detailed observation in this case involved a thorough analysis of the charges brought against the Appellants under Sections 420, 468, 471, 120-B, 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 12(b) of the Passports Act, 1967. The Apex Court evaluates the essential elements of cheating and forgery, and also examines the alleged violation of Section 12(b) of the Passports Act, 1967. Here’s a summary of the key points made by the Court:

The offence of Cheating under Section 420 IPC:

1) The Apex Court outlines the three components necessary to establish the offence of cheating under Section 420 IPC – deception, inducement with dishonest intentions, and resulting damage or harm.

2) Emphasis that dishonest intention must exist from the inception of the promise or representation. Not every deceitful act is unlawful, and the act must induce the person to deliver property.

3) The Bench examined the allegations made by Respondent No. 2 to determine if they prima facie establish the elements of cheating. It questioned whether the actions of the Appellants meet the criteria of deception, inducement, and resulting harm.

4) It discussed the circumstances of procuring a passport for the minor child and held that the actions of the Appellant-wife may not necessarily amount to deceit as they were rooted in the context of a marital dispute.

5) The Apex Court concluded that the allegations do not establish the fundamental elements of cheating, and hence, the accusation under Section 420 IPC falls flat.

The offence of Forgery under Sections 468 and 471 IPC:

(i) The Court discussed the two primary components required to establish the offence of forgery – the fabrication of a document and the intention to use it for cheating.

(ii) Noted the intersection of forgery and cheating, emphasizing the need for dishonest intent, which, in this case, the Court found lacking.

(iii) The Apex Court highlighted procedural irregularities in the supplementary chargesheet and questioned the reliability of the evidence-based on a private laboratory report.

(iv) It concluded that, given the absence of dishonest intent and procedural irregularities, the offence of forgery also lacks prima facie evidence.

Section 12(b) of the Passports Act, 1967:

(a) The Bench examined the elements of Section 12(b) – knowingly furnishing false information or suppressing material information with the intent to obtain a passport.

(b) It noted the inconclusive State FSL Report and questioned the reliability of evidence based on conjectures and surmises.

(c) Emphasized that the cognizance of the offence under Section 12(b) can be taken only at the instance of the Prescribed Authority, and no such complaint has been disclosed against the Appellants.

(d) It urged caution before invoking severe offences and penalties solely based on conjectures.

Respondent No. 2’s Conduct:

(1) The Court took into consideration the genesis of the dispute was a marital discord and questioned Respondent No. 2’s motivations.

(2) The Court observed that the issue has adversely impacted the rights and interests of the minor child, emphasized the child’s right to travel abroad and the best interests of the child.

(3) The Bench concluded that the continuation of criminal proceedings against the Appellants is an abuse of the process of law.


Based on the aforementioned facts, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal, overturning the judgments of the High Court and Trial Magistrate. The Bench quashed the FIR (No. 141/2010) against the Appellants, dismissing all related proceedings. Respondent No. 2 was directed to pay a cost of Rs. 1,00,000/- to Appellant No. 1 within six weeks; failure to comply would lead to coercive measures.

Editor’s Comments

The Apex Court after hearing both parties concluded that the Complaint was the outcome of a marital discord where the husband had made a false complaint possibly with the motive of revenge. The Court found insufficient evidence for charges of cheating and forgery, highlighting procedural irregularities and the absence of deceitful intent. The judgment emphasized the importance of considering the best interests of the minor child, and protecting fundamental rights. As the Apex Court felt that the complaint was an abuse of legal processes it imposed costs on the husband.


Sakshi Raghuvanshi

Legal Consultant

The Indian Lawyer


Edited by

Sushila Ram Varma

Chief Consultant

The Indian Lawyer

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