Offences relating to documents given in evidence
Authored By– Amisha Bohra
Authored To – DR. RAM NIWAS SHARMA
Offences related to documents given in evidence refer to the criminal acts committed in relation to documents that are presented as evidence in legal proceedings. These offences can include:
1. Fabricating evidence: This involves the creation of false documents or altering existing documents with the intention of misleading the court.
2. Tampering with evidence: This involves the destruction, concealment, or alteration of documents that are relevant to a legal proceeding.
3. Perjury: This involves knowingly making false statements while under oath, including false statements related to documents presented in court.
4. Contempt of court: This involves disobeying or disrespecting the orders of the court, including orders related to the production of documents.
These offences are taken very seriously as they can undermine the integrity of the legal system and the administration of justice. If someone is found guilty of an offence related to documents given in evidence, they can face serious legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment. Fabricating evidence is a serious crime that involves creating or manipulating evidence to deceive others, influence an investigation or trial, or to incriminate an innocent person. It is illegal and unethical to fabricate evidence, and it undermines the integrity of the justice system. Examples of fabricating evidence can include creating false documents, altering or tampering with existing evidence, or planting evidence at a crime scene. Those who fabricate evidence can face criminal charges, including perjury, obstruction of justice, and tampering with evidence. Fabricating evidence can have severe consequences, including wrongful convictions, ruined reputations, and the loss of trust in the justice system. It is important to always be truthful and honest when dealing with legal matters and to report any suspected instances of evidence fabrication to the appropriate authorities.
Tampering with evidence is the act of intentionally altering, destroying, concealing, or falsifying physical evidence with the intention of misleading or obstructing an investigation or legal proceeding. Tampering with evidence is a serious crime and can have severe legal consequences. Examples of tampering with evidence can include destroying or hiding a murder weapon, altering a document or recording, or concealing a key piece of evidence from investigators. Those who are found guilty of tampering with evidence can be charged with a range of offenses, including obstruction of justice, tampering with physical evidence, and perjury. Tampering with evidence can have significant consequences, including the obstruction of a criminal investigation or the wrongful conviction of an innocent person. It is important to always be truthful and honest when dealing with legal matters, and to report any suspected instances of evidence tampering to the appropriate authorities.
Perjury is the act of knowingly making false statements under oath, such as when testifying in a court of law or during a legal deposition. Perjury is a serious crime and is punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both. Perjury can occur when a person provides false information during a legal proceeding or when they intentionally mislead or withhold information from the court. For example, a witness who lies under oath about what they saw or heard during a crime could be charged with perjury. Similarly, a defendant who makes false statements during their trial could also be charged with perjury. Perjury is considered a serious offense because it undermines the integrity of the legal system and can have serious consequences for the outcome of a case. Those who are found guilty of perjury can face severe legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and damage to their reputation. It is important to always be truthful and honest when dealing with legal matters, and to report any suspected instances of perjury to the appropriate authorities.
Contempt of court is the act of disobeying or showing disrespect towards a court of law or its officials. It can involve various actions such as disrupting court proceedings, disobeying court orders, or insulting a judge or court staff. Contempt of court is a serious offense and can result in fines, imprisonment, or both. There are two types of contempt of court: criminal and civil. Criminal contempt of court is the intentional disobedience or disrespect towards the court, such as refusing to testify or ignoring a court order. Civil contempt of court is failing to comply with a court order, such as not paying child support or alimony. The consequences of being found guilty of contempt of court can be severe. Criminal contempt can result in fines, imprisonment, or both. Civil contempt can result in fines or imprisonment until the person complies with the court order. It is important to always show respect and follow the rules of a court of law. If you are unsure of what is expected of you, it is important to consult with an attorney or court official to avoid any potential consequences for contempt of court.
SCOPE OF SECTIONS 463, 464 AND 465 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE
Sections 463, 464, and 465 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 deal with the offences of forgery, making false documents, and punishment for forgery respectively. Section 463 defines forgery as the act of making a false document with the intention to deceive or cause damage to someone. It covers a wide range of documents, including those that are meant to be used as evidence in court, as well as those that are used in everyday transactions such as receipts, bills, and cheques. Section 464 deals with the offence of making a false document, which is similar to forgery, but does not require the intention to deceive. If a person makes a false document without any intention to deceive anyone, they can still be punished under this section. Section 465 lays down the punishment for forgery and making false documents. Making a false document is punishable by imprisonment for a period of up to three years, a fine, or both. The punishment for making a false document is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. The scope of these sections is to prevent fraudulent activities and to protect the interests of the public. They are intended to deter people from committing these offences by making the penalties severe. These sections are essential for maintaining the integrity of legal and financial systems and ensuring justice for all.
MAKING FALSE DOCUMENTS – SOME ILLUSTRATIONS
Here are some examples of making false documents that could be considered as offences under Indian Penal Code:
In general, any document that is made with the intention to deceive or cause damage to someone can be considered as a false document and may lead to charges under the relevant sections of Indian Penal Code. In Indian Penal Code, there are certain aggravated forms of forgery that carry higher penalties than ordinary forgery. Here are some examples:
Counterfeiting currency notes or bank notes: According to Section 489B, anyone who counterfeits any currency note or banknote faces life imprisonment or a term of imprisonment of up to ten years, as well as a fine. Forgery for the purpose of cheating: According to Section 420, whoever cheats and thus dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter, or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security or anything signed or sealed and capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to seven years, as well as a fine. Forgery of a document of title: Section 471 provides that whoever fraudulently or dishonestly uses as genuine any document which he knows or has reason to believe to be a forged document of the kind described in section 467, shall be punished in the same manner as if he had forged such document. These aggravated forms of forgery carry higher penalties because they involve serious offences that can have a significant impact on the financial and legal systems of the country.
In a charge of forgery under Indian Penal Code, there are certain defenses that the accused may use to defend themselves against the charges. Some example of the common defences are:
1. Mistake of fact: If the accused did not have the intention to deceive and genuinely believed that the document was genuine, they may use the defence of mistake of fact.
2. Lack of intention to deceive: If the accused can show that they did not have any intention to deceive anyone and that the document was created for some other legitimate purpose, they may use this defence.
3. Consent: If the alleged victim gave their consent to the creation of the document, the accused may use the defence of consent.
4. Lack of knowledge: If the accused can show that they did not know that the document was forged or that it was a crime to create such a document, they may use the defence of lack of knowledge.
5. Alibi: If the accused can prove that they were not present at the scene of the crime when the forgery took place, they may use the defence of alibi.
It is important to note that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. If the accused can provide evidence to support their defence, it may help to cast doubt on the prosecution's case and lead to an acquittal.
Here are some notable case laws related to forgery in India:
State of Maharashtra v. Natwarlal Damodardas Soni: In this case, the accused was charged with the offence of forgery of a passport. The Supreme Court held that the intention to deceive is an essential element of the offence of forgery, and the mere fact that a document is false does not necessarily make it a forged document. The Court also held that a person who obtains a forged passport does not necessarily commit the offence of forgery, but may be guilty of cheating.
State of Andhra Pradesh v. Sama Venkata Reddy: In this case, the accused was charged with the offence of forgery of a land document. The Supreme Court held that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove that the document was forged beyond reasonable doubt, and that the accused had the intention to deceive. The Court also held that the mere fact that the document contains some discrepancies or errors does not necessarily make it a forged document.
Nand Kishore v. State of Punjab: In this case, the accused was charged with the offence of forging a document in order to obtain a loan from a bank. The Punjab and Haryana High Court held that the accused had committed the offence of forgery and had the intention to deceive, as he had altered the original document and presented it as genuine to the bank. R.K. Dalmia v. Delhi Administration: In this case, the accused was charged with the offence of forging the minutes of a meeting of a company in order to gain control of the company. The Supreme Court held that the offence of forgery was made out, as the accused had fabricated the minutes of the meeting with the intention to deceive and had presented it as genuine to the company.
These case laws demonstrate the importance of proving the intention to deceive and the burden of proof lying on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. They also highlight the severity of the offence of forgery and the need to protect the integrity of legal and financial systems.
EXECUTION WITHOUT AUTHORITY
In India, the law governing forgery is the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Section 463 of the IPC defines forgery as "making any false document or electronic record or any part of a document or electronic record with the intention of causing damage or injury to the public or to any person, or with the knowledge that it is likely to cause damage or injury to the public or to any person. The essential elements of forgery under IPC are:
Making a false document or electronic record: The act of creating a false document or electronic record, or any part of it, is necessary to constitute forgery under IPC. Intention to cause damage or injury: The person who creates the forged document or electronic record must have the intention to cause damage or injury to the public or any person. The intention may also be to induce someone to believe that the document or record is genuine. Knowledge of likelihood to cause damage or injury: In addition to having the intention to cause damage or injury, the person must also have knowledge that the act of forgery is likely to cause damage or injury to the public or any person. Use of the forged document or electronic record: The forged document or electronic record must be used to deceive someone, usually for financial gain or other advantage. Forgery is a serious offence under IPC and is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or both. It is important to be aware of the essential elements of forgery under IPC in order to avoid engaging in this illegal activity.
WHEN ATTESTION WOULD BE FORGERY
Attestation is the act of witnessing a signature on a legal document by a person who is authorized to do so. The purpose of attestation is to confirm the authenticity of the signature and to ensure that the document has been signed by the person who claims to have signed it. Attestation is considered forgery when a person falsely witnesses a signature or signs a document as a witness without actually witnessing the signature. In such cases, the attestation is considered to be a false document and the person who has done the false attestation can be charged with forgery under the IPC. For example, if a person signs a legal document as a witness without actually witnessing the signature, it is considered to be a false attestation and can be considered as a form of forgery. Similarly, if a person witnesses a signature on a document but knowingly or unknowingly signs a different document, it can also be considered as a form of forgery. In summary, attestation can be considered forgery when it involves the creation or use of a false document or signature with the intention to deceive someone or to commit fraud.
FORGERY: INTENTION, DISHONESTY AND FRAUD COMPARED
Forgery, intention, dishonesty, and fraud are all related concepts, but they have different meanings and implications under the law. Forgery is the act of creating or altering a document or signature with the intention to deceive or defraud someone. It involves creating a document that appears to be genuine but is, in fact, fake or fraudulent. Intention refers to the mental state or purpose of the person committing the forgery. It is the conscious decision to create a false document or alter an existing one with the intention to deceive or defraud someone. Dishonesty refers to the lack of integrity or honesty in a person's actions. It is the act of deliberately deceiving someone or acting in a fraudulent manner. Dishonesty is often a key element in cases of forgery, as the act of creating a false document or signature is an inherently dishonest act. Fraud is a broader concept that encompasses forgery, as well as other forms of deception and dishonesty. It involves the intentional misrepresentation of facts or the concealment of information for the purpose of deceiving someone or obtaining a benefit. Fraud often involves financial or material gain, and it is a criminal offense under the law. In summary, forgery involves the creation or alteration of a false document or signature with the intention to deceive or defraud someone. Intention, dishonesty, and fraud are all important elements of forgery, as they relate to the mental state and motives of the person committing the offense.
Section 466 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the offense of forgery of a record of a court or public office. The section provides that whoever forges a document that purports to be a record or proceeding of a court of justice or a register of births, marriages, or deaths kept by a public servant shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to a fine. The scope of Section 466 is quite broad and covers a wide range of documents that are considered to be official records or registers kept by public servants. This includes court documents, such as judgments, orders, and decrees, as well as official registers maintained by public servants, such as birth, marriage, and death certificates. The section applies to both physical documents and electronic records. It also covers cases where the forged document is used as evidence in court proceedings, and where the document is created with the intention to deceive or defraud someone. The offense under Section 466 is considered to be a serious offense, as it involves the forgery of official records that are relied upon by the public and the government. The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine. In addition, the person found guilty of this offense may also face civil penalties and may be liable to pay compensation for any losses caused to the victim of the forgery.
In conclusion, forgery is a serious criminal offense that involves the creation or alteration of a false document or signature with the intention to deceive or defraud someone. It is a violation of the trust and integrity of official documents, and it can have serious legal and financial consequences for the person involved. There are different forms of making false documents, including forgery, counterfeiting, and using a false document, and each of these offenses is punishable under the law. The severity of the punishment depends on the nature and intent of the forgery, as well as the value of the document or the harm caused to the victim. It is important to be aware of the legal consequences of forgery and to ensure that all official documents are authentic and genuine. If you suspect that a document has been forged or altered, it is important to report it to the authorities and seek legal advice to protect your rights and interests.
 Prof. S.N. Mishra, Indian Penal Code (Central Law Publications, 22nd edn, Allahabad, 2020)
 PSA Pillai, Criminal Law (Lexis Nexis, 12th edn, Haryana, 2014)
 1980 AIR 593, 1980 SCR (2) 340
 1985 AIR 724, 1985 SCR (3) 509
 1995 SCC (6) 614, JT 1995 (7) 69
 1962 AIR 1821, 1963 SCR (1) 253