Author : Darshi Sanghvi
AIR 1961 SC 1698
Hon’ble Justice Raghubar Dayal
A crime is often seen as an act upon which a society looks down and which shocks the conscience of the public at large. In the realm of criminal law, the commission of a crime comprises of 3 stages, namely intention, preparation and attempt; each being closely related. The present case of Abhayanand Mishra Vs. The State of Bihar determines the difference between the “preparation” to commit an offence and the “attempt” to commit an offence and discusses the commission of the offence of forgery in detail.
In 1954, the appellant applied to the Patna University with the intention of seeking permission for the M.A Examination in English, as a private candidate. He claimed to be a Graduate who obtained his B.A degree back in 1951 and that he was a teacher in a school. The University believed him and gave the necessary permission upon receiving the requisite fees and the copies of his photographs, and dispatched his admission card to the Headmaster of the school. Having said that, on the basis of certain information and a thorough investigation, the authorities came to know that the appellant was neither a Graduate, nor a teacher. Additionally, having carried out corrupt practices at the University exam, he was suspended from giving exam for a couple of years. The appellant was convicted under s. 420 read with s. 511 of the IPC, for his offence of attempting to cheat the University by false representations, thus inducing it to issue the admission card, which would have been delivered to him if the extortion had not been identified.
ISSUES AND FACTS OF LAW
Whether an admission card can be considered to be a property.
Whether the appellant moved past the preparation phase, in the light of the present facts.
Whether the facts of the present case are sufficient to convict the appellant under Section 420/511 of the IPC.
The appellant’s contention stating that the admission card has no pecuniary value and is hence not a property, is unacceptable. The admission card may not have any pecuniary value but is of utmost importance to the candidate appearing for an examination as in its absence, the candidate can neither secure admission to the Exam hall, nor give the exam.
A person is said to commit the offence of “attempt to commit a particular offence” when:
The person intends to commit a particular offence.
He, having made sufficient preparations and possessing the intention to commit the offence, does an act that leads towards its commission.
Hence, such an act must not necessarily be penultimate act towards the commission, but must be an act carried out during the course of the commission of the offence.
In the present case, there is barely any extension for stating that the acts of the appellant did not amount to “trying to commit the offence” and that he did not move past the phase of arrangement. His preparation is said to be complete the moment he gets done with the preparation of his application. When he dispatches it, he enters into the realm of “attempting to commit cheating”.
It is thus held that the appellant has been rightly indicted of the offence under s. 420, read with s. 511,IPC, and the appeal is hence dismissed.