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G.S. Bansal Vs. the Delhi Administration - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Reported inAIR1963SC1577; [1964]2SCR470
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 24, 25, 463, 464 and 467
AppellantG.S. Bansal
RespondentThe Delhi Administration
Cases ReferredDr. Vimla v. The Delhi Administration
.....its language was the language of command and it imposed an obligation on the state of which no person could, by his act or conduct, relieve it. as it was not strictly necessary for the disposal of this case, the question whether any other fundamental right could be waived need not be considered in this connection. laxamanappa hanumantappa jamkhandi v. the union of india, [1955] 1 s.c.r. 769; dewan-bahadur seth gopal das moht v. the union of india, [1955] 1 s.c.r.773; baburao narayanrao sanas v. the union of india, [1954] 26 i.t.r. 725; subedar v. state, a.i.r. 1957 all. 396 and pakhar singh v. the state, a.i.r. 1958 punj. 294, distinguished and held inapplicable. per bhagwati and gubba rao, jj.-there could be no waiver '.,not only of the fundamental right enshrined in art. 14 but..........pershad. janki pershad held a ration depot in delhi. in the year 1948janki pershad purchased three post office national savings certificates of theface value of rs. 250/- in the name of the controller of rationing, delhi, anddeposited the same with him as security. on february 21, 1952, janki pershadtransferred the ration depot in favour of his grandson, s. k. bansal, the sonof the appellant. thereafter, on april 16, 1952, janki pershad applied to therationing authority for the release of the said security on the ground that hehad transferred the concerned ration deport in favour of his grandson who hadgiven a fresh cash security of his own. before the said security given by himwas released, janki pershad died on june 1, 1952. on july 1, 1952, therationing authority wrote a letter to.....

Subba Rao, J.

1. This appeal by special leave is against the judgment and order of theHigh Court of Punjab, Circuit Bench, Delhi, confirming those of the AdditionalSessions Judge, Delhi, convicting the appellant under s. 467 of the IndianPenal Code and sentencing him to imprisonment till the rising of the Court andto a fine of Rs. 250/-.

2. The appellant is an Under Secretary, now under suspension, in theMinistry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi, and is the son ofJanki Pershad. Janki Pershad held a ration depot in Delhi. In the year 1948Janki Pershad purchased three Post Office National Savings Certificates of theface value of Rs. 250/- in the name of the Controller of Rationing, Delhi, anddeposited the same with him as security. On February 21, 1952, Janki Pershadtransferred the ration depot in favour of his grandson, S. K. Bansal, the sonof the appellant. Thereafter, on April 16, 1952, Janki Pershad applied to therationing authority for the release of the said security on the ground that hehad transferred the concerned ration deport in favour of his grandson who hadgiven a fresh cash security of his own. Before the said security given by himwas released, Janki Pershad died on June 1, 1952. On July 1, 1952, therationing authority wrote a letter to Janki Pershad, not knowing that he haddied, informing him that the security deposited by him had been released andthat he should get the pledged certificates transferred in his favour by filingin the prescribed form sent with that letter and presenting the same along withthe certificates returned at the post office. The prosecution case is that, asJanki Pershad had by that time died, the appellant filled in the said form fortransfer, affixed the signature purporting it to be that of his father,attested the said signature, and affixed the stamp of Ministry of Home Affairs,Government of India, beneath his own signature of attestation, and presentedthe said form and the certificates at the Post Office. Though the clerk at thePost Office had some doubts as to the genuineness of the signature of JankiPershad, on an assurance given by the appellant, he issued fresh certificatesin the name of Janki Pershad on July 12, 1952. On September 3, 1952, theappellant signed the three certificates on their back as Janki Pershad in tokenof their cancellation and placed his own attestation and stamp of his officethereon. He gave a letter of authority in favour of Bhawani Shankar, a daftriattached to his office, for cashing the same. Bhawani Shankar presented thecertificates at the Post Office and received Rs. 275/- in payment thereof, onhis furnishing the necessary receipt. The encashed amount was paid to theappellant.

3. On September 8, 1956, the Magistrate, First Class, Delhi, framed chargesagainst the appellant under s. 467 of the Indian Penal code and committed himfor trial before the Court of Sessions. On February 2, 1959, the AdditionalSessions Judge, Delhi, found him guilty under s. 467 of the Indian Penal Codeand sentenced him as aforesaid. The appeal filed to the High Court wasdismissed on January 7, 1960. Hence the present appeal.

4. The following were the charges framed against the appellant :

'Firstly, that you between9th July, 1952 and 3rd September, 1952 at Delhi dishonestly or fraudulentlyattested the signatures of Janki Pershad Bansal deceased which were forged byyou on the back of the application for transfer of National SavingsCertificates from one person to another and thereby authorised the Post Master,General Post Office, Delhi, to transfer National SavingsCertificates............. and that you thereby committed an offence punishableunder section 467 IPC and within the cognizance of the Court of Sessions.'

'Secondly, that you between9th July, 1952 and 3rd September, 1952 at Delhi dishonestly or fraudulently inorder to obtain delivery of a sum of Rs. 275/- attested the signatures of JankiPershad deceased on National Savings Certificates............. which saidsignatures were forged by you and forged a letter of authority purporting tohave been written by the deceased Janki Pershad Bansal and thereby obtainedpayment of Rs. 275/- from Post Master, G.P.O., Delhi, through Bhawani Shankaron the basis of the above National Savings Certificates fraudulently ordishonestly discharged by you and that you thereby committed an offencepunishable, under section 467 IPC and within the cognizance of the Court ofSessions, Delhi.'

5. The appellant denied that he forged the signature of his father in theapplication, in the certificates or in the letter of authority. He also deniedto have gone to the Post Office and got the fresh certificates, or to havedeputed Bhawani Shankar for encashment of the said certificates. Further, hedisowned his own signature of attestation of the alleged signature of Jankipershad and denied to have affixed his office stamp on any of them. In short,his defence was a total denial of the prosecution case. The learned AdditionalSessions Judge after considering the entire evidence placed before him, heldthat both the charges had been substantiated and therefore found the appellantguilty under s. 467 of the Indian Penal Code. On appeal, Chopra J., reviewedthe entire evidence over again and came to the conclusion that though it hadnot been established that the signature on the application form was forged bythe appellant, there was a clear and convincing evidence that the appellantattested the same. On the second charge, the learned Judge found that thealleged signatures of Janki Pershad on the back of the three certificates andthe writing of the signature on the letter of authority were all forged by theappellant. On this finding, he dismissed the appeal.

6. There are, therefore, concurrent findings of fact that the appellant putthe signature of his father on the relevant documents, attested them and gotthe securities transferred in the name of his father and received the moneyfrom the Post Office. The said findings being findings of fact based uponrelevant evidence following the usual practice of this Court, we accept them.

7. Even so, Mr. Chari, learned counsel for the appellant, contends that onthe said findings the appellant is not guilty of forgery as defined under s.464 of the Indian Penal Code, for, it is said, he received the money which wasadmittedly due to him as a sole heir of his father and, therefore, he did noteither gain an advantage for himself or cause any injury to another, and thatthe said point was directly and fully covered by a recent decision of thisCourt in Dr. Vimla v. The Delhi Administration [1963] Supp. 2 S.C.R. 585.

8. Mr. Anthony, learned counsel appearing for the State, does not accepteither the factual or the legal position advanced by the learned counsel forthe appellant. He contends that on the facts found, the appellant, when he putthe signatures of his father on the relevant documents, had the clear intentionto secure an economic advantage to himself inasmuch as he resorted to thedevice adopted by him in order to save himself the trouble and expense ofobtaining a succession certificate.

9. The conflicting arguments on the application of Dr. Vimla's case [1963]Su. 2 S.C.R. 585, to the facts of the present case can be betterappreciated if the facts of the present case are clearly borne in mind. If aperson who has given postal certificates as security to a department by takingthem in the name of the said department dies, his heir can get the said amountby following two procedures, namely, (1) after obtaining a successioncertificate, he can apply to the department concerned to release the securityand then apply to the postal department for getting the certificates cashed,and (2) if the current value of the certificates at the time of the death ofthe holder does not exceed Rs. 5,000/- he can, after the expiry of three monthsfrom the date of the death of the holder, satisfy the Post Master General thathe is the sole heir of the holder and after making the relevant declarationrecover the said money. In one case he has to incur expenses for obtaining thesuccession certificate and in the other he has to wait for three months and thereafterproduce evidence to the satisfaction of the Post Master General that he is thesole heir of the deceased holder of the certificates. In the present case, theappellant attested the signature of Janki Pershad on the reverse of theapplication form for the transfer of the Post Office National SavingsCertificates in the name of his father, got fresh certificates issued in thename of his father, signed the name of Janki Pershad on the back of the threecertificates in token of their cancellation, placed his own attestation andstamp of his office thereon, gave a letter of authority in favour of BhawaniShankar as though it was given by Janki Pershad and received the money from thePost Office. By this process he got not only the certificates which stood inthe name of the Ration Department transferred in the name of his deceasedfather but also received the money payable to his father. Two steps wereinvolved in the process, one was to get the certificates in the name of theRation Department to be transferred in the name of his father and the secondwas to receive the money payable to his deceased father. As the father diedbefore the certificates were transferred in his name by the Ration Department,the appellant should have taken steps by informing that fact to the saidauthority and getting an application from the said authority to the Postalauthority for transferring the said certificates in his favour. The rationingauthority might not have given such an application to the Postal authority unlessa succession certificate was produced by him. No rules have been placed beforeus which enable the rationing authority to agree for the transfer of thesecurity given to it to a person claiming to be the heir of the owner thereofwithout the production of any such certificate. In regard to the secondprocess, the appellant would not have been able to get the money from thepostal department within three months without a succession certificate andthereafter without producing necessary evidence of his heirship to thesatisfaction of the Post Master General. This process entails delay, for theappellant can only apply to the postal authority after the expiry of threemonths and thereafter the payment depends upon the satisfaction of the officerconcerned, which may entail further delay or even rejection, Be it as it may,on the facts his intention at the time when he made out the false documents wasto short-circuit the alternative procedure open to him and receive the moneywithout going through the expense and trouble involved therein. Section 463 ofthe Indian Penal Code reads :

'Whoever makes any false document or part of adocument with intent to cause damage or injury, to the public or to any person,or to support any claim or title, or to cause any person to part with property,or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with intent to commitfraud or that fraud may be committed, commits forgery.'

Section 464 of the said Code reads :

'A person is said to make afalse document -

First. - Who dishonestly orfraudulently 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 ofcausing 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 person by whom or bywhose authority he knows that it was not made, signed, sealed or executed or ata time at which he knows that it was not made, signed, sealed or executed; or

Secondly. - Who, without lawfulauthority, dishonestly or fraudulently, by cancellation or otherwise, alters adocument in any material part thereof, after it has been made or executedeither by himself or by any other person, whether such person be living or deadat the time of such alternation; or......'

A person, therefore, will be guilty of forgery if he dishonestly orfraudulently signs a document with the intention mentioned in s. 464 of theCode. Under s. 24 of the Code.

'Whoever does anything with the intention ofcausing wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person, is saidto do that thing 'dishonestly'.'

And under s. 25 thereof,

'A person is said to do a thing fraudulently if hedoes that thing with intent to defraud but not otherwise.'

On the said facts we have no doubt that the appellant had made the falsedocuments with an intention to cause wrongful gain to himself, for by adoptingthe aforesaid device he secured for himself a gain as otherwise he would havehad to incur some expense for obtaining a succession certificate. Even on theassumption that he would have received the money after satisfying the rationingauthority and the Post Master General, he secured an advantage by resorting tothe said device, as he was relieved of the trouble of satisfying the rationingauthority and the postal authority that he was the sole heir of his father andavoided the risk of their refusal, which would have entailed further delay. Inthat event he had secured an uneconomic advantage : in the former case he hadmade the false documents dishonestly and in the latter case fraudulently. Ineither case he committed forgery within the meaning of s. 463 of the IndianPenal Code.

10. The decision of this Court in Dr. Vimla's case [1963] Supp. 2 S.C.R.585, is clearly distinguishable from the present case. In Dr. Vimla's case[1963] Su 2 S.C.R. 585, this Court, after considering the relevantdecisions on the question, stated the legal position thus :

'The expression 'defraud' involves two elements,namely, deceit and injury to the person deceived. Injury is something otherthan economic loss, that is, deprivation of property, whether movable orimmovable, or of money, and it will include any harm whatever caused to anyperson in body, mind, reputation or such others. In short, it is a non-economicor non-pecuniary loss. A benefit or advantage to the deceiver will almostalways cause loss or detriment to the deceived. Even in those rare cases wherethere is a benefit or advantage to the deceiver, but no corresponding loss tothe deceived, the second condition is satisfied.'

11. There, Dr. Vimla purchased a car in the name of her minor daughterNalini, got the insurance policy taken on the car transferred in the name ofNalini by singing the necessary documents as Nalini and, when the car met withan accident, obtained the compensation money by signing the name of Nalini inthe claim form and receipt; in short Dr. Vimla put through the relevanttransaction in the name of her minor daughter for reasons best known toherself, that is to say, the real owner of the car was Dr. Vimla and she onlyused the name of her minor daughter. Neither she got any economic ornon-economic advantage by making the said false documents nor the InsuranceCompany incurred any economic or non-economic loss be her so doing. Therefore,this Court held that she was not guilty of forgery. But in the present case,the appellant clearly secured an economic advantage by making the falsedocuments by (i) saving the money which he would have otherwise spent inobtaining a succession certificate, and (ii) getting the money belonging to hisfather as his heir. Even otherwise he secured a non-economic advantage as hegot himself relieved of the trouble of getting the certificate of proof to thesatisfaction of the rationing authority and the Post Master General of hiscredential to receive the money. He was, therefore, guilty of making the falsedocuments both dishonestly and fraudulently. The High Court is right in comingto conclusion which it did.

12. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed.

13. Appeal dismissed.

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