The Supreme Court has reiterated that without independent and reliable corroboration, the opinion of the handwriting experts cannot be relied upon to base the conviction.
The bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna before acting upon the opinion of the hand-writing expert, prudence requires that the court must see that such evidence is corroborated by other evidence either direct or circumstantial evidence.
The Court was considering appeal against the conviction of the accused under Sections 467 and 468 IPC. The contention taken in this appeal was that, without proving that the accused has forged the signature in delivery slip, the conviction of the appellant under Sections 467 and 468 IPC cannot be sustained.
Referring to Murari Lal v. State of Madhya Pradesh (1980) 1 SCC 704 and Magan Bihari Lal v. State of Punjab (1977) 2 SCC 210, the bench observed:
'Of course, it is not safe to base the conviction solely on the evidence of the hand-writing expert. As held by the Supreme Court in Magan Bihari Lal v. State of Punjab (1977) 2 SCC 210 that "expert opinion must always be received with great caution……..it is unsafe to base a conviction solely on expert opinion without substantial corroboration. This rule has been universally acted upon and it has almost become a rule of law." 17. It is fairly well settled that before acting upon the opinion of the hand-writing expert, prudence requires that the court must see that such evidence is corroborated by other evidence either direct or circumstantial evidence."
However, in this case, the Court noted that the courts below have not based the conviction solely upon the opinion of the hand-writing experts. The evidence of hand-writing experts is only a corroborative piece of evidence to corroborate the evidence of other prosecution witnesses, the bench said.
Case name: Padum Kumar vs. State of UPCase no.: Cri. Appeal 87 of 2020Coram: Justice R. Banumathi and Justice AS BopannaCounsel for Appellant: Adv Saurabh MishraCounsel for State: Adv Adarsh Upadhyay
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