Law punishes when preparation to commit offence is completed and there has been an attempt to commit offence.
|Case name:||Abhayanand Mishra V/s State Of Bihar|
|Citation:||1961 AIR 1698|
|Court:||The Supreme Court Of India|
|Bench:||Justice Raghubar Dayal, Justice K.Subbarao|
|Decided on:||APRIL 24, 1961|
|Relevant Act/Sections:||Section 420, 511 of IPC, 1860|
BRIEF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
- The appellant applied to the Patna University for permission to appear at the 1954 M.A Examination in English as a grad of B.A degree in 1951 and teaching in certain school.
- Necessary permission was given to him and the appellant paid the fees and submitted the photograph as required for admission.
- It was later found the appellant doesn’t have any degree or teaching anywhere and was barred for certain years because of corruption charges.
- The appellant was prosecuted and convicted under s.420 read with s.511 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- The appellant has come before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
- This appeal, by special leave, is against the order of the High Court at Patna dismissing the appellant’s appeal against his conviction under section 420, read with section 511, of the Indian Penal Code.
ISSUE BEFORE THE COURT:
- Whether a certain act amounts to an attempt to commit a particular offence is a question of fact dependent on the nature of the offence and the steps necessary to take in order to commit it?
- Whether the last act, if uninterrupted and successful, would constitute a crime?
RATIO OF THE COURT:
- The court contended that in Queen Empress v. Soshi Bhushan (2) it was held that the term ’property’ in s. 463, Indian Penal Code, included the written certificate to the effect that the accused had attended, during a certain period, a course of law lectures and had paid up his fees. We need not therefore consider the alternative case regarding the possible commission of the offence of cheating by the appellant, by his inducing the University to permit him to sit for the examination, which it would not have done if it had known the true facts and the appellant causing damage to its reputation due to its permitting him to sit for the examination.
- The court need not also therefore consider the further question urged for the appellant that the question of the University suffering in its reputation is not immediately connected with the accused’s conduct in obtaining the necessary permission. Another contention for the appellant is that the facts proved do not go beyond the stage of reparation for the commission of the offence of ‘cheating’ and do not make out the offence of attempting to cheat. There is a thin line between the preparation for and an attempt to commit an offence. Undoubtedly, a culprit first intends to commit the offence, then makes preparation for committing it and thereafter attempts to commit the offence. If the attempt succeeds, he has committed the offence; if it fails due to reasons beyond his control, he is said to have attempted to commit the offence.
- The court referred to Queen v. Paterson (1), Regina v. Padala Venkatasami (1) whether the last act, if uninterrupted and successful, would constitute a crime.
- The court observed that their views about the construction of s. 511, Indian Penal Code, thus: A personal commits the offence of ’attempt to commit a particular offence’ when (i) he intends to commit that particular offence; and (ii) he, having made preparations and with the intention to commit the offence, does an act towards its commission; such an act need not be the penultimate act towards the commission of that offence but must be an act during the course of committing that offence. In the present case, the appellant intended to deceive the University and obtain the necessary permission and the admission card and, not only sent an application for permission to sit at the University examination, but also followed it up, on getting the necessary permission, by remitting the necessary fees and sending the copies of his photograph, on the receipt of which the University did issue the admission card.
- There is therefore hardly any scope for saying that what the appellant had actually done did not amount to his attempting to commit the offence and had not gone beyond the stage of preparation. The preparation was complete when he had prepared the application for the purpose of submission to the University.
- The moment he dispatched it, he entered the realm of attempting to commit the offence of ’cheating’. He did succeed in deceiving the University and inducing it to issue the admission card. He just failed to get it and sit for the examination because something beyond his control took place inasmuch as the University was informed about his being neither a graduate nor a teacher.
DECISION HELD BY COURT:
- In this case the judgment was given by JUSTICE RAGHUBAR DAYAL We therefore hold that the appellant has been rightly convicted of the offence under s. 420, read with section 511, Indian Penal Code, and accordingly dismiss the appeal. Appeal dismissed.