On January 3, 2023, the Karnataka High Court quashed the charges against two employees of Kannada Matrimony, a matrimonial site, for persuading the second respondent to make a payment of Rs. 3,700 as a subscription fee in their favour. The court held that the same was done without an intention to cheat; hence, if the investigation against the petitioners were to be continued, it would amount to an “abuse of process of law”.
The second respondent had created an account on the matrimonial portal and had begun to converse with the first accused, an American resident who subsequently managed to procure large sums of money from her on the pretext of funding customs charges and flight and cancellation tickets. When the first accused gave excuses for not being able to have a face-to-face conversation through a video call, the second respondent grew suspicious. After discussing with one of her close friends, she concluded that she had fallen prey to a cheating scam.
Further, it is alleged that with assurances on the good character of the first accused and of the second respondent’s marriage to him, the petitioners (i.e., employees of Kannada Matrimony) persuaded the second respondent to make a payment of Rs. 3,700 as a subscription fee for re-activation of her account.
The second respondent filed an FIR against the first accused and the two petitioners. All three have been accused of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and Section 66(D) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Aggrieved, the petitioners filed the present writ petition before the Karnataka High Court, seeking the FIR’s quashing against them.
Adv. Shyam Sunder HV from Fox Mandal & Associates, who represented the petitioners, contended that there is no specific allegation of cheating against the petitioners, and the conditions required to constitute the cheating offence under Section 420 of IPC are not fulfilled. Accepting this contention, the court observed that the petitioners could not be punishable under Section 420 of IPC, considering the absence of a dishonest intention to cheat.
Therefore, the court allowed the writ petition and quashed the FIR against the petitioners.
 Vijaya Kumar @ Vijay Patil & Anr. v. The State of Karnataka & Anr. (WP No.29340/2017)