Difference between Dishonestly & Fraudulently in the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Updated: Jun 1

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About the Author:

Prof.(Dr.) Priya Sepaha

Director, Law Colloquy,

Author, Trainer, blogger, Youtuber

Dishonestly & Fraudulently are usually confused as synonyms, although they have different meanings and uses in criminal law. The main factor in discriminating them is the level of punishment. Dishonestly is non-cognizable, whereas fraudulently is a cognizable offence.


Dishonesty is defined under Section 24 of IPC, which states, “Whoever does anything with the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person, is said to do that thing “dishonestly”.

Commonly, ‘deceit’ means an intentional misrepresentation or concealment, but in the IPC, the word “dishonestly” does not carry this implication. In the code, it is defined in a monetary circumstances, i.e. when a person acts with the intention of causing “wrongful gain”, i.e., gain by unlawful means, of property to which the person gaining is not entitled, or when a person acts with the intention of causing “wrongful loss”, i.e., loss by unlawful means, of property to which the person losing is legally entitled, he acts dishonestly.

Elements of Dishonesty:

In order an act to be a dishonest act following elements are necessary—

(i) Some act has been done;

(ii) ‘Deceit’ is not an essential element of dishonesty.

(iii) The act must be done to cause monetary/pecuniary wrongful gain or wrongful loss.

(iv) In some instances, dishonesty may be done by innocence as an exception.


Fraudulently is defined under Section 25 of the Indian Penal Code. It states, “A person is said to do a thing fraudulently if he does that thing with intent to defraud but not otherwise”.

The fraudulent act of a person can cause loss to another person or gain to another person. The word ‘defraud’ contains two elements, namely, deceit and injury to the person deceived. ‘Deceit’ means an intentional misrepresentation or concealment of the fact and as per IPC, the injury should be illegally caused to any person in body, mind, reputation or property. In Section 25 of the Code the word ‘defraud’ has been applied to deprive someone with the intention either by obtaining something by deception, or by taking something wrongly without the knowledge or consent of the owner.

Elements of Fraudulently:

In order that an act to be a fraudulent act following elements are necessary —

(i) A person has done something, and

(ii) The act must be done intending to defraud.

(iii) intent and injury are essential

(iv) ‘Deceit’ is a necessary ingredient of fraud

(v) It is a non-economic or non-pecuniary loss.

(vi) By construction, ‘fraudulently’ excludes the elements of monetary or economic gain or loss.

(vii) Innocence cannot be in fraud in any circumstance.

#dihonestly #fraudulently #dishonest #fraud #ipc #indianpnalcode

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