In a shocking development, a forged order was found to have been made in the name of Justice Guatam Patel of Bombay High Court.
On noticing this, Justice Gautam Patel held an urgent sitting on a Saturday afternoon.
Justice Gautam Patel passed an order on February 15 and declared that a forged order has been 'put out' dated December 1, 2019 in a testamentary matter wherein it seeks make the so-called 'petitioner', one Satishchandra Goradia, heir to two bank guarantees valued at Rs.51 lacs.
Advocates Umesh Mohite and Hetal Pandya filed a complaint before Justice Patel at 2 pm on Saturday and Justice Patel rushed to his chamber immediately to attend to the case.
"The entire document is a forgery. There is no such order. There are several reasons for this. One, the document purports to be an order in the High Court's Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction 'Its Revenue and Property Division'. There is no such Division. It purports to be in a Commercial Succession Petition (L) Nou 23520 2019. There is no such proceeding and there could be no such proceeding as a "Commercial Succession Petition". There is no Testamentary Petition with a five-digit lodging number"
Justice Patel then pointed out the minute details of the 'forged' order which proved it was indeed forged-
"The entire formatting of the documents, including the fonts, the line spacing etc, is not in the manner in which I make my orders. There is no footer on the date and page number which is my invariable practice for the last several years.
The document purports to be made on 1st December 2019. That was a Sunday. No such order could ever have been made."
Justice Patel's penchant for language, diction and punctuation reflects in his judgments. While pointing out the errors in the forged order, he recorded two paras from the said order "which made no sense".
"There are other glaring indicators of this document being fabricated, forged and got up. Paragraph 9 of this document copies a phrase from one of my orders 'I will set out all the prayers' but without the font that I use and without appropriate punctuation. There are typographical errors in paragraph 9C ('fed' instead of 'filed')", Justice Patel noted.
Court observed that the disturbing part about the said forged order was that it was evidently sought to be used in respect of two term deposits, one was the Indian Bank Term Deposit with maturity value of INR 25 lacs signed as non transferable, second was Bank of Baroda Term Deposit with Maturity value of INR 26 lacs, signed non transferable with nominee as Varsha S Goradia declared as claimant. (Satishchandra's Mother).
Justice Patel noted-
"Satishchandra Goradia died just 15 days ago. This order was brought to the notice by the learned Advocates, Mr Umesh Vasant Mohite and Advocate Ms Hetal Arvind Pandya by Mr Parth Goradia, grand nephew (Satishchandra's brother's son's son). Parth states that he obtained this document from his father, and that his father in turn obtained it from one Mr Ashok Vageriya.
On inquiries with my Chamber staff today present in Court, we find that there is no Advocate Ashok Vageriya registered with an Advocate's code in this Court's system or records, nor is there a registered Clerk of any such person."
Thus, Court directed the Registrar (Legal & Research) to immediately take appropriate proceedings including under Section 340(3)(a) and Section 195 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, if necessary against persons unknown.
Also, the Registrar has been asked to write to head offices of both Indian Bank and Bank of Baroda with a request to freeze or lock encashment or any transactions without Court's order.
"Finally I must note that such an order could never have been passed by me in any Succession Petition because testamentary matters were not even within my sitting assignment in December 2019."
Justice Patel highlighted that the physical copy of the document attached to the complaint does not have the usual footer or the date and time stamp generated by the system mentioning when orders of this Court are uploaded and downloaded.
This date and time stamp appears whenever the High Court website order section is accessed from outside the High Court computer network. When an order previously is accessed from the terminal of any PA/PS there is no date and time stamp and there is also no watermark.
"When a previously uploaded order is accessed from a terminal in a Courtroom, the watermark is visible but the date and time stamp is not. It may not therefore be possible that the entire document was fabricated using some Courtroom terminal. This needs to be investigated. I may note that my own staff has brought this to the attention of the Registry several times in the past.
There is no manner of doubt that the entire document is not only a surgery but a clumsy one."
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