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Mere Incorrect Statement In Vakalatnama Not Forgery, SC Quashes Criminal Case Against MP Sasikala Pushpa [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
7 May 2019 11:17 AM GMT
Mere Incorrect Statement In Vakalatnama Not Forgery, SC Quashes Criminal Case Against MP Sasikala Pushpa [Read Judgment]
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"Vakalatnama is only a document which authorizes an advocate to appear on behalf of the party and by and large, it has no bearing on the merits of the case"

The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed a criminal case lodged against expelled AIADMK Leader and Member of Parliament Sasikala Pushpa and her husband with respect to the alleged forgery committed by them in signing the Vakalatnama. The Madras High Court, while considering the anticipatory bail application filed by Sasikala and her husband, had 'found' that they had not signed the...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed a criminal case lodged against expelled AIADMK Leader and Member of Parliament Sasikala Pushpa and her husband with respect to the alleged forgery committed by them in signing the Vakalatnama.

The Madras High Court, while considering the anticipatory bail application filed by Sasikala and her husband, had 'found' that they had not signed the Vakalatnama in Madurai on 18.08.2016 and thus have committed fraud upon the court. It was brought to the notice of the Court that Sasikala and her husband had left for Singapore from New Delhi and Bengaluru and they could not have signed the Vakkalath on the said date in Madurai. Though the duo submitted before the High Court that it was a purely clerical error, the single bench had directed the Registrar (Judicial) to lodge a complaint with the jurisdictional police station against them.

In the appeal filed by them, the Apex Court bench comprising of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer observed that a vakalatnama is only a document which authorizes an advocate to appear on behalf of the party and by and large, it has no bearing on the merits of the case. There is no reason as to why a party would deliberately furnish a false date and place in the Vakalatnama, the court said. It further observed:

"Even assuming that the version in the vakalatnama is wrong, mere incorrect statement in the Vakalatnama would not amount to create a forged document and it cannot be the reason for exercising the jurisdiction under Section 340 Cr.P.C. for issuance of direction to lodge the criminal complaint against the appellants."

The state, resisting the plea, contended that, upon examination of the signature in the Vakalatnama, the hand-writing expert has opined that it is not the signature of the appellants and therefore, the intention of the appellants to create a forged document has been clearly made out. Rejecting this submission, the bench observed that, in the light of the statement of the duo admitting their signatures in the vakalatnama,  the opinion of the handwriting expert would not stand on any higher footing. The bench observed that the disputed version in the Vakalatnama appears to be an inadvertent mistake with no intention to make misrepresentation. Quashing the case against them, the bench said:

"Since the appellants themselves have admitted their signatures in the Vakalatnama and the version in the Vakalatnama that they have signed at Madurai on 18.08.2016 is an inadvertent mistake, in our view, even if the trial proceeds, there may not be any possibility of the appellants being convicted for the alleged offences of forgery and for making forged document."

Read Judgment


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