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Private Complaint Is Maintainable If Forgery Took Place Outside Court Before Producing Document As Evidence: Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
16 March 2022 11:16 AM GMT
Private Complaint Is Maintainable If Forgery Took Place Outside Court Before Producing Document As Evidence: Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court has said that a private complaint made before the magistrate court alleging offence under section 191 of Indian Penal Code is maintainable, if the forgery of document took place outside the Court before the document was produced as evidence in the court proceedings. A single judge bench of Justice H P Sandesh set aside the order of the magistrate court dismissing...

The Karnataka High Court has said that a private complaint made before the magistrate court alleging offence under section 191 of Indian Penal Code is maintainable, if the forgery of document took place outside the Court before the document was produced as evidence in the court proceedings.

A single judge bench of Justice H P Sandesh set aside the order of the magistrate court dismissing a private complaint and remanded the matter back for fresh consideration. It said,

"Magistrate has not exercised his jurisdiction by entertaining the complaint and instead, erroneously comes to the conclusion that he is not having jurisdiction to take cognizance based on the private complaint and failed to take note of the allegation made in the complaint in detail while filing the same, wherein specific allegation is made that the forgery of document has taken place outside the Court and not within the Court and only made use of the forged document in the Court proceedings. Hence, the private complaint is maintainable."

Case Background:

Petitioner Narendra Prasad P had filed a suit in the Court of Additional Senior Civil Judge, Mysuru against the respondent No.1 and three others for declaration of title in respect of the suit land.

The respondent claimed in the said suit that the she has acquired the property by execution of a Will and therefore, she is the owner. She claimed that signature of the witness was removed by white ink after registration.

The trial court decreed the suit and an appeal was filed and the same was also dismissed. The Appellate Court also made remarks on the evidence of the erstwhile Sub-registrar (Respondent no. 2) on the corrections made in the will.

The petitioner thus moved a private complaint under section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code seeking prosecution against the respondents under section 191 of the Indian Penal Code. The same came to be rejected, following which he approached the high court in revision.

It was contended that the first respondent gave false evidence, fabricated the Will, falling within the purview of Section 191 of IPC. The said acts were done not when it was in custodia legis but before it was produced in the Court and marked as an exhibit.

The Respondent said that the private complaint is not supported by any affidavit. Further, there was a delay in lodging the complaint since the Will was produced in the suit in the year 2012 and complaint was filed in the year 2018. When such being the inordinate delay in filing the complaint, the Trial Court has rightly rejected the complaint.

Court findings:

The court on going through the complaint and the trial court order said, "Having perused the contents of the complaint, it is clear that tampering of document was done outside the Court at the time of registration of the document and the same was not done in the Court proceedings and the only allegation is that, forged document has been used in the Court proceedings."

It referred to the case of Iqbal Singh Marwah & Anr. v. Meenakshi Marwah & Anr., wherein the Apex court had held that for attracting Section 195(1)(b)(ii), offences enumerated in Section must be committed during the time document was in custodia legis and Section 195 is not penal provision. The rule of strict construction does not apply including documents forged prior to their submission in Court and Section 195 would render victim of offence remediless.

Accordingly, the High Court observed, "The principles laid down in the judgement is aptly applicable to the case on hand since, the factual aspects of the case on hand and also the facts and circumstances in the judgement of the Apex Court are one and the same. Hence, it requires interference of this Court."

Holding that in the case on hand, the Magistrate has not exercised his jurisdiction in entertaining the complaint, instead committed an error in passing the order that the Court cannot take cognizance based on the private complaint.

The bench said, "The material on record would disclose that the manipulation and erasing of the same was done outside the Court and not in the Court proceedings and the only allegation is that the said document has been placed before the Court and used the forged document in the Court proceedings and it is not the case of the complainant that the offence was committed in the Court proceedings. Hence, there is no bar to the learned Magistrate to entertain the complaint and hence, the very approach of the Trial Court is erroneous."

Accordingly it allowed the petition. The court granted liberty to the petitioner to file an affidavit before the Trial Court in view of the principles laid down by the Apex court in Mrs Priyanka Srivastava's case.

Case Title: NARENDRA PRASAD P. v N. SUJATHA

Case No: CRIMINAL REVISION PETITION NO.692/2019

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 77

Date of Order: 11TH DAY OF MARCH, 2022

Appearance: Advocate S.G. BHAGAVAN for petitioner

Senior Advocate M.T. NANAIAH a/w Advocate N.R. GIRISH for R1

Advocate RAJARAM SURYAMBAIL for R2

Click Here To Read/Download Order



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