Kanumukkala Krishna Murthy Vs. State of
Andhra Pradesh  INSC 85 (23 March 1964)
23/03/1964 DAYAL, RAGHUBAR
DAYAL, RAGHUBAR SUBBARAO, K.
GUPTA, K.C. DAS
CITATION: 1965 AIR 333 1964 SCR (7) 410
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act 45 of 1860), ss.
415, 419--Cheating-Public Service Commission, false representations to-If
deception of Government.
The appellant applied for a post advertised
by the Madras Public Service Commission, making certain representations in his
application which were found to be false. He was convicted under s. 419 Indian
Penal Code for having cheated the commission. This conviction was confirmed by
the Sessions Judge and the revision was dismissed by the High Court.
Held: (i) Cheating can be committed in either
of the two ways described in s. 415 Indian Penal Code. 'Deceiving a person' is
common in both the ways of cheating.
(ii) The appellant's misrepresentation to the
Service Commission continued and persisted till the final stage of the
Government itself was deceived by the misrepresentation made in the application
presented to the Service Commission.
The Service Commission is a statutory adviser
to the Government in the matter of appointment to the Service.
Deception of such an adviser is deception of
the Government which is expected to pay heed to its advice and act accordingly.
State of U.P. v. Manbodhan Lal Srivastava 
S.C.R. 533, The Crown v. Gunput, 1868 Punj. Rec. Crl. Case No. 6, P. E.
Billinqhurst v. H. P. Blackburn, 27 C.W.N. 821, Legal Remembrancer v. Manmatha
Bhusan Chatterjee, & Legal Remembrancer v. Hridoy Narian I.L.R. 51 Cal.
250, Emperor v.
Fazal Din (1906) 4 Cr. L.J. 355, Queen
Empress v. Appasami, I.L.R. Mad. 151. Ashwani Kumar Gupta v. Empreror. I.L..R.
1937 (1) Cal. 71 and In re: Hampshire Land
Company,  (2) Ch. 743. referred to.
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeal No. 134 of 1962. Appeal by special leave from the judgment and order
dated July 17, 1962 of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Criminal Revision Case
No. 298 of 1961.
A. S. R. Chari, G. D. Gupta, S. Balakrishnan,
R. K. Garg, S. C. Agarwala, D. P. Singh and M. K. Ramamurthi, for the
S. G. Patwardhan and B. R. G. K. Achar, for
March 23, 1964. The Judgment of the Court was
delivered by J. RAGHUBAR DAYAL, J.-The facts leading to this appeal, by special
leave, are these:
The Madras Public Service Commission,
hereinafter referred to as the Service Commission, by its notification
published 411 in the Fort St. George Gazette dated August 3, 1948, invited
applications for appointment of Assistant Surgeons in the Madras Medical
Service (Men's Section), from persons who had rendered temporary service as
Assistant Surgeons in that Service at any time between September 3, 1939 and
December 31, 1947 and from persons who had rendered War Service and possessed
the qualifications mentioned in paragraph 3 of the notification. Paragraph 3 of
the notification, inter alia, reads:
"Applicants must satisfy the Commission-(a)
that they are registered practitioners within the meaning of the Madras Medical
Registration Act, 1914;
(b) that they possess the L.M.S. degree or
the M.B., B.S., degree of a University in the Province or an equivalent
qualification." The appellant, who was at the time serving as a Civil
Assistant Surgeon in the Madras Medical Service on a temporary basis, applied
for the permanent appointment to the posts -notified by the Public Service
Commission. In this application 'he made the following representations, which
have been found to be false, by the Courts below:
(i) that his name was Kaza Krishnamurthy;
(ii) that his place of birth was Bezwada,
(iii) that his father was K. R. Rao of
Bezwada; and (iv) that he held the degree of M.B.B.S., II Class, from the
Andhra Medical College, Vizagapatam, Andhra University.
On these facts, the appellant was convicted
of the offence under s. 419 I.P.C. for having cheated the Madras Public Service
Commission by personating as Kaza Krishnamurthy and misrepresenting that he had
the necessary qualifications for the post advertised inasmuch as he held the
degree of M.B.B.S., and that this deception of the Service Commission was
likely to have caused damage to its reputation.
It may now be mentioned that the appellant
was also tried for offences under s. 420 and s. 465 I.P.C. in connection with
certain acts committed by him in June and October, 1944. The trial Court
acquitted him of the offence under s.
465, but convicted him of the other offence.
He was, however, acquitted on appeal, by the Sessions Judge, of the offence
under s. 420 I.P.C.
The appellant's conviction under s. 419 I.P.C.
was confirmed by the Sessions Judge and the revision against that 412 order was
dismissed by the High Court. it is against this order of the High Court that
the appellant has preferred this appeal after obtaining special leave.
It has been contended for the appellant that
on the facts, established in the case, no offence under s. 419 I.P.C. is made
out against him, as the appellant's efficiency as a surgeon is not in dispute,
he having secured good reports from his superiors during the period of his service
and as therefore there could be no question of the Service Commission suffering
damage in its reputation.
On the contrary, it is urged for the State
that the offence of cheating is made out against the appellant as he deceived
the Service Commission and that such deception was likely to damage its
reputation as he deceived the Service Commission and obtained from it
'property' viz., the admission card entitling him to sit at the Competitive
Examination for the appointment of candidates for these posts, and as the
appellant also deceived the Government of the State by his false
representations, and dishonestly induced it to appoint him in service and pay
him salary during the period of his service.
Section 415 I.P.C., defines 'cheating' and
"Whoever, by deceiving any person,
fraudulently ordishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any
property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any
property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything
which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or
omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body,
mind, reputation or property, is said to 'cheat'.
Explanation-A dishonest concealment of facts
is a deception within the meaning of this section".
Cheating can be committed in either of the
two ways described in s. 415 I.P.C. 'Deceiving a person' is common in both, the
ways of cheating. A person deceived may be fraudulently or dishonestly induced
to deliver any property or to consent to the retention of any property by any
person. The person deceived may also be intentionally induced to do or to omit
to do anything which he would not have done if not deceived and which act of
his caused or was likely to cause damage or harm in body, mind, reputation or
The Courts below, as already stated, found
that the appellant cheated the Service Commission by deceiving that he held the
degree of M.B.B.S. and by intentionally inducing the:
413 Commission to recommend his appointment
to the post of Civil Assistant Surgeon, 11 Class, and that this act of the
Service Commission was likely to damage its reputation as the appellant did not
really possess the degree of M.B.,B.S.
Assuming, without deciding, that such a
deception of the Service Commission and its recommendation could, in certain
circumstances, cause damage to its reputation, we are of opinion that in the
circumstances of this case there was no likelihood of the causing of such
damage to its reputation.
There is nothing on the record to show that
the Service Commission could have ordinarily detected the deception or that the
appointment of the applicant to the post in the Medical Service was the
appointment of a person who proved to be inefficient. On the contrary, the
evidence on the record shows that for about 10 years between his appointment
and the institution of this case, he served efficiently and obtained good
reports from the Departmental Superiors. His incompetency for the post was due
to his having not obtained the minimum academic qualifications prescribed for
the candidates for these posts. We are therefore of opinion that the appellant
has not committed the offence of 'cheating' as defined in the latter part of s.
415 I.P.C., even though he had deceived the Service Commission by representing
himself to be a duly qualified candidate, and thus induced it to select him for
It was argued for the State that the Public
Service Commission held a competitive examination and must have therefore
issued an admission card to the appellant entitling him to sit at that
competitive examination and that therefore the appellant having induced by
deception the Service Commission to deliver to him the admission card which is
'property', committed the offence of 'cheating' as defined in the first part of
s. 415 I.P.C. There is no force in this contention for the simple reason that
there is nothing on the record to indicate that an admission card was issued
entitling the appellant to sit at the competitive examination. In fact, no
examination as such took place, and the contention for the respondent appears
to have been made under a misapprehension arising out of the letter of the
Secretary of the Service Commission to the Surgeon General with the Government
of Madras stating that he was enclosing the list containing the names and other
particulars of 45 candidates who were successful at the competitive examination
held by the Commission for the direct recruitment of Civil Assistant Surgeons,
Class II (Men) in the Madras Medical Service. It is however clear from the
record that the candidates were simply interviewed by the Commission. There is
nothing on the record to show that any written examination to which admission
was by admission cards, took place. The judgment of the Magistrate states:
414 "The accused was interviewed by the
Service Commission as seen from Exhibit P-70, extract of Service Commission
The same statement is made in the judgment of
the Sessions Judge who said:
"The accused sent an application Ex.
showing that he passed M.B.,B.S. degree
examination, and on receiving it and interviewing him, the Public Service
Commission selected him as Civil Assistant Surgeon, Class 1".
The High Court states the same in its
judgment. It said:
"In 1948 he sent an application to the
Madras public Service Commission for selection as class 11 Civil Assistant
Surgeon and was selected as such following an interview by the said body".
In these circumstances, we cannot hold merely
on the basis of suggestions, that any competitive written examination was held
and that any admission card was issued to the appellant entitling him to sit at
the examination and, consequently, cannot hold that the offence of cheating by
dishonestly inducing the Service Commission to deliver him property was
committed by the appellant.
The only other question to determine now is
whether the appellant deceived the Government of Madras and dishonestly induced
it to deliver something in the form of salary to the appellant. It is urged
that the appointment to the post lay with the Government and not with the
Service Commission and that 'the Government would not have appointed him to the
post in the Medical Service if it had not believed that the appellant possessed
the necessary qualifications which, in his case, would be a degree of M.B.,
B.S., and that such a belief was entertained by the Government on account of
the deception practised by the appellant in misrepresenting in his application
that he held such a degree. On the other hand, it is contended for the
appellant that the delivery of 'property' is to be by the person deceived, in
view of the language of s. 415 I.P.C., and that the person deceived, if any,
was the Service Commission and not the Government, the application containing
the misrepresentation having been made to the Service Commission and not to the
We accept the contention for the respondent.
The appointments to the Medical Services are made by Government.
The Service Commission simply selected the
candidates and recommends their names to Government for appointment. This is
clear from letter Exhibit P. 47 from the Secretary to the Service Commission to
the Surgeon-General with the Government of Madras. The letter refers to the
enclosing 415 of a list containing the names and other particulars of the
candidates who were successful at the examination, their names being arranged
in order of merit. It refers to the relaxing of a certain rule in view of the
paucity of candidates and states that they may be appointed, if necessary,
pending receipt of the certificate of physical fitness and a further
communication from the commission.
This is also clear from the provisions of the
Government of India Act, 1935. Section 241 provided that appointments in
connection with the affairs of a Province will be made by the Governor of the
Province. Sub-s. (1) of s. 266 makes it a duty of the Provincial Public Service
Commission to conduct examinations for appointments to the Services of a Province.
Clause (a) of sub-s. (3) provides that the Provincial Public Service Commission
shall be consulted on all matters relating to methods of recruitment to civil
services and for civil posts and cl. (b) provides that it shall be consulted on
the principles to be followed in making appointments to civil services and
posts and on the suitability of candidates for such appointments. The Public
Service Commission is constituted in pursuance of the provisions of s. 264. It
is thus a statutory body and independent of the Government. This aspect of a
Public Service Commission was emphasized in State of U.P. v.
Manbodhan Lal Srivastava(1) when considering
the corresponding provisions of art. 320 of the Constitution.
This Court said:
"Once, relevant regulations have been
made, they are meant to be followed in letter and in spirit and it goes without
saying that consultation with the Commission on all disciplinary matters
affecting a public servant has been specifically provided for in order, first,
to give an assurance to the Services that a wholly independent body, not
directly concerned with the making of orders adversely affecting public
servants, has considered the action proposed to be taken against a particular
public servant, with an open mind; and, secondly, to afford the Government
unbiassed advice and opinion on matters vitally affecting the morale of public
It is in view of these provisions that the
Public Service Commission invites applications for appointment to the various
posts under the Government and subsequently makes a selection out of the
candidates for appointment to those posts. The selection may be after holding a
written examination Dr after interviewing candidates or after doing both. Names
oil the candidates selected are arranged in order of merit and forwarded to the
Government. The Government is expected, as a rule, (1)  S.C.R. 533.. 543.
116 to make appointments to the posts from
out of the list, in the same order. It has, however, discretion not to appoint
any part of the persons so selected and securing a place in the order of merit
which would have ordinarily led to his appointment.
Any representation made in an application for
appointments is really a representation made to the Government, the appointing
authority, and not only to the Public Service Commission to which the
application is presented and which has to deal with that application in the
first instance. up to the stage ,of selection. The object of the applicant was
to secure an appointment and not merely to deceive the Public Service
Commission and sit at the examination or to appear at the interview. The
deception was practised for that purpose and therefore there seems to be no
good reason for holding that the deception came to an end once the Service Commission
was deceived and had taken action on it as a result of the deception. A false
representation in an application to the Service Commission continues and
persists to be so till the application is considered by the final authority
responsible for making the appointments and must therefore be deemed to be made
to that final authority as well. In the instant case, when the recommendation
of the Service Commission was sent to the Government, the qualifications of the
recommended candidates, including the fact that the appellant had passed the
M.B.,B.S. examination were mentioned. The Government therefore believed that
the appellant possessed the degree of M.B.,B.S., that as the Service Commission
had scrutinized the application in that regard and had satisfied itself that
the appellant possessed that degree. The consequence of that is that the
Government were led to believe that fact, which thus became a false
We are therefore of opinion that the
appellant's misrepresentation to the Service Commission continued and persisted
till the final stage of the Government passing an order of appointment and that
therefore the Government itself was deceived by the misrepresentation he had
made in his application presented to the Service Commission.
The fact that the Service Commission is an
independent statutory authority has no relevant bearing on this question. It is
a statutory body as it is constituted under he provisions Of -a statutes. It is
independent of the Government in the sense that in its selection of candidates
or in its tendering advice to the Government it does not take any hint or
instructions or due from the Government.
It brings to bear its own independent mind to
judge the comparative merits of the candidates and their suitability to the
posts they apply for. Its function is to advise the Government on the
suitability of the candidates. It is therefore a statutory adviser to
Government in the matter of appointment to the Services. Deception of such an
adviser is 417 deception of the Government which is expected to pay heed to its
advice and act accordingly.
There have been cases in which servants or
agents of an authority have been deceived while the loss has been suffered by
the authority concerned. In such cases, the person deceiving the servants or
agents has been held to have deceived the authority concerned, though no direct
question was raised about the deception being made not to the authority but to
is servant. The principle of the cases, to our mind, fully applies to the case
of candidates deceiving the Public Service Commission and thereby deceiving the
Government in believing that they satisfied the various conditions prescribed
for candidates for those appointments. We may refer to some such cases.
In the Crown v. Gunput(1) the accused who had
produced a railway pass with an altered number before the ticket collector when
traveling by a train, was held to have thereby dishonestly induced the railway
company to do or omit to do what they otherwise would not have done or omitted
by the production of the altered pass. The deception of the ticket collector
was considered to be deception of the railway company.
In P. E. Billinghurst v. H. P. Blackburn(2)
certain bills were presented by a company for payment. They were checked by
Government officials who were deceived by certain representations made by
subordinate officials through whom the bills had passed, and consequently
payments were made in satisfaction of the demands under the bills. The persons
concerned in causing the deception were convicted of cheating the Government.
In Legal Remembrancer v. Manmatha Bhusan
Chatterjee and Legal Remembrancer v. Hridoy Narain(3) it was held that if the
evidence showed that responsible officers of the East Indian Railway Company and
its Asansol Office were deceived and induced either to allot wagons to a
certain colliery which would not otherwise have been allotted or to make out
wagon chalans for the colliery which would not otherwise have been made, it was
sufficient to support the allegations in the charges that the railway company
was, by reason of deceipt, induced to act in a certain way. The deception of
the responsible officers was thus taken to be the deception of the railway
company, the possible damage to whose reputation was remote.
In Emperor v. Fazal Din(4) it was held that
the deception practised was likely to cause damage or harm to the person on
(1)1868 Punj. Rec. Col. Case No. 6. (2) 27 C.W.N. 821.
(3)I.L.R. 51 Cal. 250 (4)1906 4 Crl. L.J.
L/P(D)ISCI-14 418 whom it was practised or to
the railway authorities whose agent he was in the matter of appointments.
In Queen-Empress v. Appasaimi(1) the act of
the accused in obtaining, by personation, a hall ticket from the Superintendent
at a University Examination and in signing the name of another person on the
examination papers was held to indicate an intention on his part to lead the
University authorities to believe that the examination papers were answered by
the other person. This again is on the principle that the deception of the
Superintendent who was working for the University was a deception of the
Similarly, in Ashwini Kumar Gupta v.
Emperor(2) the accused personated another person at a University examination
cheating the Registrar. It was held that this not only damaged the reputation
of the Registrar, but also that of the University. Reference may also be made
to the case reported as In re: Hampshire Land Company(3) in which a Society had
lent money to a company on the borrowing of the directors of that company who
were not competent to borrow, the resolution conferring on them the power of
borrowing being invalid for certain reasons. It was held that the Society had a
right to assume, in a case like that, that all the essentials of internal
management had been carried out by the borrowing company. On the same principle
it can be said that the Government of the State had a right to assume that the
Service Commission had verified that the candidates selected by it for
appointment by the Government possessed the necessary qualifications and in
that view the scrutiny by the Service Commission can be said to be on behalf of
The Government appointed the appellant to a
post in its Medical Service on being induced by deception that he was fully
qualified for the appointment. In consequence of the appointment, Government
had to pay him. the salaries which fell due. It is clear therefore that the
appellant, by deceiving the Government, dishonestly induced it to deliver
property to him and thus committed the offence of cheating under s. 415 I.P.C.
as he pretended to be Kaza Krishnamurthy which he was not. The offence really
committed by him was 'cheating' by personation, punishable under s. 419 I.P.C.
The conviction of the appellant for this
offence is therefore correct. We accordingly dismiss his appeal and order that
he will surrender to his bail and serve out the sentence.
(1) I.L.R. 12 Mad. 151. (2) I.L.R. 1937 (1) Cal. 71.
(3) 1896 (2) Ch. 743.