1. Young Sessions Judges get so excited at the evidence of roguery that they miss the main consideration in Sessions trial which is to prove the specific charge against an accused person. Possibly when the learned Judge reaches my age he would be more tolerant.
2. The appellant Rim Ghulam Singh a zamindar has been convicted of an offence under Section 468 I.P.C. The long and very able judgment gives information about everything except the charge against Ram Ghulam Singh. After reading the judgment no doubt can remain in any one's mind as to the corruption prevailing in the District Board of Hamirpur, and the corrupt practise of every official connected with that unfortunate body. The reader, however, will be bewildered at these extraneous matters and will fail to discover how the charge of forgery is brought home to the appellant. It, therefore, became the duty of this Court to investigate this matter without the help to which it is entitled of the opinion and relevant observations of the learned Judge. The provisions of Section 468 are:
Every person who commits forgery, intending that the documents forged shall be used for the purpose of cheating shall be punished.
3. The first consideration, therefore, must be whether the prosecution has succeeded in proving that the documents produced in Court are forgeries. The documents are seven in number and written on printed forms of 'muster-rolls of labourers employed on for the period' and have all the columns filled up. Every form is signed at the bottom by the appellant, who is described in print as the officer in charge of the work. He was selected by the District Board to supervise the work of labourers who were repairing a public road and his duty was to make payment to the labourers and to recover the money from the District Board. It is not apparent for what emoluments or honour he was undertaking this task. He had to prepare these rolls to show which workman worked on what dates and what payments were made to them. It appears that the labourers worked from 1st to 16th December. The rolls are made up in two parts. One part dealt with labourers from 1st to 7th and the second part with labourers from 8th to 16th. They purport to have been paid according to their presence at rates 0-8-0 or 0-4-0 per day on 7th and on 16th. Rolls have been signed as if signed according to the date on the rolls on 7th and on 16th. As information was not available in the judgment of the learned Judge, I enquired of the learned Government Pleader in what respect the documents were forged. His opinion was that the date was different from the date on which they were prepared. That may be so, because it is said by the accused that they are copies from the original. It is, however, not proved that the amount which is represented to have been paid on 7th was paid on some other date.
4. The next point put forward by him was that Ram Ghulam Singh signed under the printed certificate:
certified that all the labourers shown in the above statement were actually employed on the work of the Board and that their wages entered in his muster rolls wore paid in his presence.
5. Ram Ghulam Singh himself admits that the labourers were not paid in his presence, but in the presence of his nephew, so it is argued that the document is a forgery. A false certificate is nowhere defined as a forgery. The certificate is not made on affidavit and no man in charge of work would attach any importance thereto when he considers that a reliable person has made payment. So far as I can make out the charge is limited to this; certain persons who are alleged to have been paid 0-8-0 and 0-4-0 were really paid at the rate of 0-5-0 and 0-3-0. Certain labourers were examined on behalf of the prosecution to depose that they were not paid at the rates entered against their names in the rolls. It is not suggested that they did not work at all and the entry of payment is entirely fictitious. The question, therefore, is reduced to an enquiry whether an entry of excess payment in a muster roll would make the muster roll a forged document. As laid down in Section 463, I.P.C.:
Whoever makes any false document on part of a document with a certain intention and for other purposes commits forgery.
6. This is not a complete definition but it is carried forward in the next Section 464 where the short statement of Section 463, the making of any false document or part of a document is defined. I do not accept the arguments of the learned Government Pleader that the making of a part of a document need not necessarily be making of a part of a false document and that in the making of a part of document only the intention or purpose need be proved and not that the document was false. The third definition of the false document may be disregarded for the purpose of this case. The first two clauses are:
A person is said to make a false document: First. Who dishonestly or fraudulently makes, signs, seals or executes a document or part of a document, or makes any mark denoting the execution of a document, with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document or part of a document was made, signed, sealed or executed by or by the authority of a parson by whom or by whose authority he knows that it was not made, signed, sealed or executed, or at a time at which ho knows that it was not made, signed, sealed or executed; or secondly: Who without lawful authority, dishonestly or fraudulently, by cancellation or otherwise alters a document in any material part thereof, after it has been made or executed either by himself or by any other person.
7. There is no cancellation and there is no allegation of cancellation here, so the second part of the definition may also be disregarded. Examining the 1st part the matter to be proved in the main is either that the authority was wanting or that the date was purposely fictitious. I have already commented on the date No question of authority here arises because it is admitted that the appellant had authority to prepare this document. In cases under the Indian Penal Code where definitions are somewhat difficult of comprehension, illustrations are added for elucidation of such definitions. I have gone through every illustration given in Section 464 both under the main definition and under the explanations, but have failed to discover any case where a document would become a forged document if a wrong entry of payment happens to be made therein. The learned Judge has taken great pains to prove that the appellant embezzled the money of the District Board. That, however, is not a matter which can be made the subject of enquiry in this prosecution. Possibly the officials of the District Board selected Ram Ghulam Singh for the work in order to make money through him. Cheating and embezzlement, however, are distinct offences from those of forgery. No charge of forgery is made out and so the appellant will be acquitted. I set aside the conviction and sentence and order that the appellant be released. If he is on bail, the bail bond shall be cancelled.