1. The question for decision in this case is whether we can give an extended meaning to the word 'cheating' in Section 562 of the Criminal Procedure Code so as to cover an offence under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, etc.).
2. We should be glad to do so, as we recognize that equally strong reasons on public and humanitarian grounds may exist for lenient treatment of an offence under either section. On the other hand a careful consideration of the wording of Section 562 of the Criminal Procedure Code seems to preclude the possibility of such a construction. If the term 'cheating' is to be held to cover offences under Section 418, 419 and 420 of the Indian ! Penal Code which are included with Section 417 in the same group in Schedule II to the Criminal Procedure Code, a similar extension must be allowed to the terms 'theft' and 'dishonest misappropriation.' The former must be held to cover offences under Sections 380, 381 and 382 of the Indian Penal Code and the latter offences under Section 404 of the Indian Penal Code. But such a construction is impossible in face of the fact that the legislature has specifically mentioned 'theft in a building' (Section 380, Indian Penal Code), in Section 562 of the Criminal Procedure Code in addition to simple theft (Section 379). The inference is irresistible that 'theft in a building' was not intended to be included in the term 'theft,' and we cannot give a narrow interpretation in the case of 'theft' and a wide one in the case of 'cheating.'
3. The view we have taken is in accord with that expressed by a Bench of the Bombay High Court in Emperor v. Ramjan Dadubhai (l915) Cri.L.J. 781. The only authority to the contrary is that of a single Judge in Harnarain v. Ramji Das (1915) 12 A.L.J. 465, from which we must respectfully dissent.
4. We set aside the Order of the Subdivisional Magistrate and direct him to dispose of the case according to law.