1. The appellant Jawahir has been convicted of an offence punishable under Section 474 of the Indian Penal Code, in respect of a document, or more strictly speaking, of two documents endorsed on separate halves of a sheet of paper alleged to have been found in his possession. The documents in question are a blank promissory note and a blank receipt. Both purported to be signed by one Bindhayachal. At the top of each of these papers there is an adhesive stamp of one anna; but the signature is not across the stamp, nor has the stamp been cancelled in accordance with the provisions of Section 12 of the Indian Stamp Act, No. II of 1899. The papers in question are blank in this sense, that they are printed forms with none of the particulars filled in. There is no specification of the person in whose favour either document purports to be executed, nor yet of the date or place of execution nor yet of the amount of money involved. The document purports on the face of it to be a receipt whereby Bindhayachal acknowledges to have received an unspecified sum of money, on an unspecified date from some person not specified. Similarly the other document purports to be a promissory note whereby Bindhayachal binds himself to pay to, or to the, order of, an unspecified person, an unspecified sum of money, with interest and compound interest after six monthly rests, the rate of interest also remaining unspecified. What I have been asked to consider on appeal is whether all the requirements necessary to a conviction under Section 474 of the Indian Penal Code, have been satisfied. The first question is whether these documents are forgeries.
2. His Lordship then discussed the evidence and found that they were forgeries, and that their possession by the accused was proved.
3. There remains however one point to be considered before the conviction can be affirmed. The learned Sessions Judge has assumed that the documents in question, as they stand, are 'valuable securities' within the meaning of the definition contained in Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code, and falling within the scope of Section 467 of the same Code. A very ingenious argument to the contrary has been pressed upon my notice on behalf of the appellant. If the signature of the alleged Bindhayachal upon these documents had been across the adhesive stamps, or those stamps had been otherwise cancelled in accordance with Section 12 of the Indian Stamp Act, No. II of 1899, there could be no possible question as to the provisions of Section 20 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, No. XXVI of 1881, operating in respect of these documents. Even if it had to be conceded that the documents as they stood did not purport to be valuable securities, they would beyond all question purport to be documents giving authority to the holder of the same to make a valuable security. No doubt the holder of these, documents had no intention of propounding them or using them in a court of law without first cancelling the adhesive stamps; but the documents as they stand cannot be said to be stamped in accordance with law. I am of opinion, however, that these documents must be held to be, as they stand, 'valuable securities' within the meaning of Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code. There is an old case in volume VII of the Madras High Court Reports, Appendix xxvi in which the meaning of the words 'purport to be' was considered, and it was held that a document which had not been stamped, and was therefore not admissible in evidence, might nevertheless be a valuable security. The same point was again decided in the case of Queen Empress v. Ramasami (1888) I.L.R. 12 Mad. 148. I am satisfied that the two papers in respect of which the appellant has been convicted do purport to be documents whereby a legal right is created within the meaning of Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code. The appellant has therefore been rightly convicted.
4. As regards the question of sentence, I must say that I should feel it more satisfactory if were in a position to consider this question after having before me the result of the proceedings which I understand have been instituted in respect of the mortgage deed propounded by Jawahir subsequently Co the discovery of these two documents in his possession. As the case now stands before me, I am not prepared to say that the sentence passed is unduly severe. I dismiss this appeal.