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L.K. Siddappa Vs. Lalithamma - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Petn. No. 73 of 1953
Reported inAIR1954Kant119; AIR1954Mys119
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 29, 44, 463, 464, 464(1), 465 and 500; Evidence Act - Sections 3; General Clauses Act - Sections 3(16)
AppellantL.K. Siddappa
Appellant AdvocateE. Kanakasabhapathy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateMahesh Chandra Guru and ;M. Sadanandaswamy, Advs.
.....- section 465 of indian penal code, 1860 - complaint filed against petitioner of publishing false document of celebration of marriage and distributing it to friends and relatives - whether act of petitioner came within mischief of commission of offence contemplated under section 465 - evidence conclusively proved document to be unauthorised and contained false facts - petitioner held to be guilty of offence under section 465. - income tax act,1961[] -- section 132 (4): [deepak verma & k.l. manjunath, jj] search & seizure examination of any person who is in possession or control of any books of accounts, documents, by an authorised officer, in the course of search or seizure statement made by any such person during examination - whether can be used as evidence,..........exs. p-1 and p-2 were genuine contracts has rightly been discounted and exs. p-1 and p-2 held as false documents prepared and published without any authority or basis whatsoever.3. siddappa, the petitioner, did not content himself by merely getting up these documents but distributed them to friends and relatives and also arranged for publication of the same in newspapers. (after discussion of the evidence his lordship proceeded:) in view of this evidence the courts below have rightly concluded that exs. p-1 and p-2 are false documents intentionally got up by the accused and published with a view to injure the complainant.4. the short question that falls for consideration is whether the petitioner siddappa has, by publishing the printed documents in question committed the offence under.....

1. One Lalithamma filed a complaint in the trial Court against the petitioner, Siddappa, alleging that false documents were got prepared notifying the celebration of marriage, between herself and the petitioner, who wilfully distributed the same to friends and relatives and also caused them to be published in the newspapers with intent to deceive and cause injury to her. The complaint was registered for offences under Sections 465 and 500, I.P.C. The petitioner having pleaded not guilty the trial Court found on evidence that the accused had committed an offence under Section 465, I.P.C., and sentenced him to one year R. I. and a fine of Rs. 1,000/-. The conviction and sentence were confirmed in appeal.

2. The question for consideration is whether the documents in question amount to the commission of the offence, complained of. It is necessary for the discussion of the point raised to set out a few facts proved in the case. Exhibits P-1 and P-2 are printed marriage invitations issued under the name of Patel Chickkiah (D.W. 2) and Veerathappa (P.W. 2) respectively, announcing the marriage of the accused with the complainant to take place on the morning of 28-6-51 in the house of one Patel Basappa at Handanahalli. Veerathappa (P.W. 2) swears that there was never any proposal of marriage between the persons named in the documents nor did he authorise his name to be inserted in the invitation. He is the mother's sister's husband of Lalithamma, and is actively helping Basalingamma, her mother, in the management of the properties and he is also being consulted in important affairs as the father of Lalithamma was dead.

Lalithamma is an young woman of about 20 years and lives with her mother as she is yet unmarried. She (P.W. 11) deposes that it is absolutely false that marriage between herself and the accused was fixed and denies that there was any authority either by her or by her mother to print and publish the marriage invitations. The proprietor of Ananda Press, Mysore (P.W. 1) where Exs. P-1 and P-2 were printed states that he is an astrologer and printer; that he fixed the date of marriage and printed the invitations on behalf of the petitioner. D.W. 2 Chikkiah avers that there was settlement of the marriage and that the original of Exhibits P-1 and P-2 indicate that the contract of marriage took place in his presence where the mother of Lalithamma as also her uncle Veerathappa were stated to have been present indicating thereby that they must have been responsible for having got printed the marriage invitations as per the original contract. This assertion remains unsubstantiated, and it is not even suggested to either the printer, or Lalithamma, or Veerathappa, D.W. 2 also does not affirm that he authorised the petitioner to use his name in the marriage invitation.

It is thus clear that the accused has got Exs: P-1 and P-2 printed without authority from either Easalingamma or Veerathappa or Patel Chikkiah, much less with the permission or consent of Lalithamma. The defence evidence that the originals of Exs. P-1 and P-2 were genuine contracts has rightly been discounted and Exs. P-1 and P-2 held as false documents prepared and published without any authority or basis whatsoever.

3. Siddappa, the petitioner, did not content himself by merely getting up these documents but distributed them to friends and relatives and also arranged for publication of the same in newspapers. (After discussion of the evidence his Lordship proceeded:) In view of this evidence the Courts below have rightly concluded that Exs. P-1 and P-2 are false documents intentionally got up by the accused and published with a view to injure the complainant.

4. The short Question that falls for consideration is whether the petitioner Siddappa has, by publishing the printed documents in question committed the offence under Section 465, I.P.C. Section 463 defines forgery (leaving out the details not necessary for this case) thus:

'Whoever makes any false document with intent to cause damage or injury to any person, commits forgery.'

'Making a false document' is described in Section 464(1) as follows:

'A person is said 'to make a false document' who dishonestly or fraudulently makes a document with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document was made by the authority of a person by whom or by whose authority he knows that it was not made.'

The word 'document' as defined by Section 29, I.P.C., denotes any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks, intended to be used or which may be used, as evidence of that matter. The said definition includes anything done by pen, by engraving, by printing or otherwise, whereby, it is made on paper, parchment, wood or other substance. Similar definitions of the word 'document' are found in Section 3, Evidence Act, and also in Section 3(16), General Clauses Act. The word 'document' occurs in Section 464, I.P.C. and there is no doubt that the documents Exs. P-1 and P-2 fall within the definition of Section 29, I.P.C.

It is proved by the evidence of Veerathappa (P.W. 2) Lalithamma (P.W. 11), P.W. 1 and D.W. 2 that the documents were unauthorised and contain facts that are absolutely false. It is contended for the petitioner that the mere getting up a document printed under an unauthorised name does not make it a false document. Reliance is placed for that position on the decision of this Court in -- '2 Mys CCR 252 (A)', where it was held that

'The dishonest making of a false document is forgery; but the mere fact of a document containing what is not true, is not sufficient to constitute the offence of forgery.'

In that case, the document was accepted to be genuine and no dishonest intention was found. Intention being the gist of the offence the case is distinguishable from the facts of the present case, where it is found that false documents are found to have been dishonestly got up.

5. It is next contended that mere printing of documents without autograph or facsimile signature does not amount to the offence of forgery. 'In the matter of Petition of Riasat Ali', 7 Cal 352 (B) is cited as an authority for the proposition. In that case a prisoner who was charged with attempting to commit forgery of a valuable security, was found guilty by the jury of attempting to commit forgery. The jury explained their finding by saying that the prisoner had ordered certain receipt forms to be printed similar to those used by the Bengal Coal Company, and that one of these forms had been actually printed and the proof corrected by him; that the prisoner had had an intention of making such addition to the printed form as would make it a false document and that he did this dishonestly and with intent to commit fraud.

Sir Richard Garth, C.J. commented thus in the course of his judgment

'I consider that the 'making' of a document or part of a document, does not mean 'writing' or 'printing' it, but signing or otherwise executing it; as in legal phrase we speak of 'making an indenture' or 'making a promissory note' by which is not meant the writing out of the form of the instrument but the sealing or signing it as a deed or note. The fact that the word 'makes' is used in the section in conjunction with the words 'signs, seals, or executes' or makes any mark 'denoting the execution etc.' seems to me very clearly to denote that this is its true meaning. What constitutes a false document or part of document, is not the writing of any number of words which in themselves are innocent, but the affixing the seal or signature of some person to the document, or part of a document, knowing that the seal or signature is not his and that he gave no authority to affix it. In other words, the falsity consists in the document, or part of a document, being signed or sealed with the name or seal of a person who did not in fact sign or seal it.'

Evidently, the printed receipt form in that case, was, without seal or signature, not complete so as to bring it under the definition of a document. What constitutes 'making' of a document, depends essentially upon the nature and the use it is intended for. Indeed the definition of a document does not necessarily require that it should be in every case to be in the writing or contain the signature or facsimile of any person tout includes what is done by way of printing. Tested from this aspect, Exs. P-1 and P-2 contain subscription of the names in print and are sufficient to cause it to be believed that those documents were made by the authority of the person under whose name they appear. As marriage invitations they are documents complete in themselves. Besides, a person is said to make a false document under Section 464 I. P. C. if he makes, signs........ a document The word 'makes' is more comprehensive than 'signs' and the use of the words 'makes' and 'signs' is not a mere tautology.

With reference to the decision in -- '7 Cal 352 (B)', Dr. Whitley Stokes in his book 'The Anglo Indian Codes' (at page 269) has expressed the opinion in the notes under Section 464, I.P.C. thus:

'Garth C. J. in -- '7 Cal 352 (B)' thought that the 'making' a document or part of a document means signing or otherwise executing it. Why then were 'makes' and 'made' used as well as 'signs', 'executes', 'signed', 'executed'?'

The Calcutta High Court have in a later case, (vide -- 'Pramathe Nath v. The State', : AIR1951Cal581 (C), while noticing the criticism of Dr. Stokes, nevertheless preferred to follow the earlier Bench decision in -- '7 Cal 352 (B)' as binding upon them. In the Bombay High Court -- 'Emperor v. Krishtappa Khandappa' AIR 1925 Bom 327 (D), Macleod C. J. has observed with reference to -- '7 Cal 352 (B)' that

'the learned Chief Justice (Garth C.J.) for the purposes of that particular decision did not consider the provisions of Section 29, I.P.C.'

and dissented from it. A Bench of the Lahore High Court -- 'Chatru Malik v. Emperor', AIR 1923 Lah 681 (686) (E), also discarded the view Of -- '7 Cal 352 (B)' and preferred to follow --'AIR 1925 Bom 327 (D)'. Cold stream J. remarked in the Lahore decision that the word 'makes' in Section 464, I.P.C. does not mean anything 'else than makes, that is to say, creates or brings into existence.' It is undoubted that the word 'makes' docs not mean mechanical reproduction; that 'involves a conscious act of the maker' as observed by Colin J. in -- 'Dickins v. Gill', (1896) 2 QB 310 (F). The petitioner is proved to be the author of Exs. P-1 and P-2. The printer had the petitioner's authority to print but the mere process of mechanical production does not, by itself, fix the responsibility on him. It is the author or the creator of the documents that will be liable. The expression 'makes' which also occurs in Section 18 of the Press (Emergency Powers) Act is interpreted by Newsam J. thus, 'prima facie a maker should refer to the creator and author and it would be straining the language of the section to hold that the printer is a maker' (Vide -- 'Parakunni Kumaran y. Emperor', 1937 Madras WN 1067 (G)). In the light of the principles discussed above, I have no hesitation in holding that the petitioner who is proved to be the author and creator of the documents should be held liable.

6. It is next contended that no injury is caused to the person nor is there any dishonest intention made out and that in order to establish the intention to defraud, there must be some person not only deceived but injured. Injury is defined by Section 44, I.P.C. as denoting any harm whatever illegally caused to any person, in body, mind, reputation or property. The two essential elements to constitute the offence are that there must be deceit, or intention to deceive; secondly actual or possible injury caused to some person or persons. In the present case the complainant is represented to be handsome young woman of 20 years, inheriting property worth about Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 40,000/- and is eligible for a suitable marriage.

The attitude of the petitioner indicates that he either wanted to coerce the complainant to consent to marry him, though he is already much-married, or simply black-mail her for his own nefarious purposes. Not only was there any whisper about the settlement of the marriage, but the petitioner even after publication of the invitations, wanted persons to believe that marriage is an accomplished fact. He is reported to have told P.W. 7 that marriage had already taken place in Nanjangud without the knowledge of complainant's mother. The fact of marriage is also got registered in the Congress Office by payment of a contribution. Such subsequent conduct can only point to the inference of his trying to show of as the married husband of the complainant, to assume control over her property.

The damage and injury likely to be caused to an unmarried woman in such circumstances are indeed incalculable. Not only does she suffer in public estimation, but her position even in her own family circles would be one of shame, vexation and distress. It may not be improbable that she will be under a cloud with her near relatives and the impression that a proposed marriage with a close relative (for, the petitioner had married her elder sister once) has fallen through, may defeat the prospects of her securing a suitable partner in life and the damage that results thereby may be beyond repair. Such risk is undoubtedly rendered possible apart from mental anguish and harm to self-reputation. There is thus possible injury or risk of injury to the person, mind or reputation of the complainant by the publication of the false documents Exs. P-1 and P-2, which were intended to deceive others into a belief that they were genuine documents properly authorised.

The intention to damage or injure the complainant may easily be gathered from the wilful use subsequently made by publication of the documents created. The evidence establishes beyond doubt that the petitioner has made a bold and deceitful experiment to trap a girl and force, without her consent, to marry him and also gain material profit for himself. In this view, there is no ground to disagree with the findings of the Courts below that the documents in question are, forged instruments and fall within the definition of false documents under Section 464, I.P.C.

7. In the result, the petition stands dismissed and the petitioner will surrender to bail and undergo the unexpired sentence imposed.

8. Petition dismissed.

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