1. In the year 1875 one Pattabhiramayyar was diwan of Jaipur, and also had management of the Madugula estate, which had been mortgaged to his master: the appellant was muktyar for both estates. On the 21st April 1875 the appellant registered a bond (A) purporting to have been executed in his own favour by the zamindar of Madugula. In 1881 he brought a suit on this bond, and at the trial he sought to support his claim by the letter B, which purports to have been addressed to him by Pattabhiramayyar from Madugula on the 10th April 1875, and to have given cover to A. The Court found this letter to be a fabricated document and sanctioned the appellant's prosecution.
2. He was committed upon three heads of charge. The first was that he gave false evidence in respect of the letter, but this broke down in consequence of the deposition not having been read to him as required by law. The third was laid under Section 4711 and charged him with having dishonestly used a forged document: upon this also he was acquitted, because there was no proof that A was forged or the debt not really due, and consequently no dishonesty or intention to cause wrongful loss was proved. The second head charged the appellant under Section 196 with having corruptly used B as evidence, knowing it to be fabricated. Upon this head he has been convicted and sentenced to four years' rigorous imprisonment.
3. The appellant has himself submitted a most elaborate written argument, and we have also heard Counsel on his behalf. His Counsel relied principally on an ingenious legal argument to the effect that the Section 196 could not possibly apply; that if any section applied, it was 471, but that the conviction could not be altered to that section on appeal in the face of the acquittal under that very section which has not been appealed against. As regards Section 196 it was contended, and we think rightly, that it must be read with Sections 1912 and 1923, and can only apply to the use of evidence which was false evidence within the meaning of Section 191 or fabricated evidence within the definition laid down in Section 192. He also urged, and we think rightly, that a false document is not fabricated evidence under Section 192 unless there was at the time of making it an intention that it should appear in evidence. He then pointed to the Judge's opinion that the letter had been fabricated on the date it bears, and by the person who purports to have written it, for the purpose of aiding the appellant in getting the bond registered, and he drew a distinction between the proceedings before the Registrar as surmised by the Judge, or in the ultimate suit as it was in fact used, or both. No other object has been suggested, nor can we imagine any, and from the fact that the letter has certainly been used for one of these purposes, and probably for both, we may fairly infer that it was intended to be so used.
4. Then comes the question whether the letter was a fabrication. It seems to have been established beyond doubt that Pattabhiramayyar was nowhere near Madugula on the 10th April 1875, and this is enough to show that the letter was concocted. It also seems clear that the appellant knew it, for we entertain no doubt that his letter Z was written in 1875.
5. It follows that the conviction must be upheld, unless there is anything in the complaints that the appellant was not allowed a fair opportunity to defend himself. Now in only one respect are these complaints borne out by the record. Both in the record and more particularly in paragraphs 13 to 16 of his judgment the Sessions Judge has certified what really took place. The objection made before him was that depositions given by four persons in another case had been refused to the appellant by the committing Magistrate, and that the Judge ruled that they were not relevant. We think that this ruling, which is set out more particularly in paragraph 15 of the judgment, was correct. To the reasons there given we may add that none of these four persons had been examined for the prosecution, either before the committing Magistrate or the Sessions Court, and the depositions could only have been of use to contradict them. We decline therefore to send the case back.
6. It remains to consider the sentence. The appellant has been acquitted of the more serious offence with which he has been charged, viz., personal perjury, and we feel bound to assume that the bond on which he sued was a genuine document. The offence of which he has been found guilty is the making use of a concocted letter, apparently written for the purpose of enabling him the more readily to register this bond and to get over any difficulty which the Registrar might have raised to the obligee admitting the document on behalf of the obligor. For this we think four years' rigorous imprisonment too severe a punishment, particularly as the appellant is already undergoing another heavy sentence, and we accordingly reduce the term from four years to one year.
1 Using as genuine a forged document.
[Section 471: Whoever fraudulently or dishonestly uses as genuine any document which he knows or has reason to believe to be a forged document, shall be punished in the same manner as if he had forged such document.]
2 Giving false evidence.
[Section 191:- Whoever being legally bound by an oath, or by any express provision of law to state the truth, or being bound by law to make a declaration upon any subject, makes any statement which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false, or does not believe to be true, is said to give false evidence.
Explanation 1.--A statement is within the meaning of this section, whether it is made verbally or otherwise.
Explanation 2.--A false statement as to the belief of the person attesting is within the meaning of this section, and a person may be guilty of giving false evidence by stating that he believes a thing which he does not believe, as well as by stating that he knows a thing which he does not know.]
3 Fabricating false evidence.
[Section 192 : Whoever causes any circumstance to exist, or makes any false entry in any. book or record, or makes any document containing a false statement intending that such circumstance, false entry, or false statement may appear in evidence in a judicial proceeding, or in a proceeding taken by law before a public servant as such, or before an arbitrator, and that such circumstance, false entry, or false statement, so appearing in evidence, may cause any person, who in such proceeding is to form an opinion upon the evidence, to entertain an erroneous opinion touching any point material to the result of such proceeding, is said 'to fabricate false evidence.']