The crime of Forgery is mentioned in Chapter XVIII under Section 463 to 465 including the elements constituting forgery and the liable punishment for the commission of forgery. Forgery is applicable upon a person making a forged document with the intent to cause harm or injury to another person. The question, however, was placed before the Supreme Court whether the person who caused the making of a forged document would also be charged under the provisions for forgery for his intention to commit the crime?

In the matter of Sheila Sebastian V/s R. Jawaharaj, the Bench of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice N.V Ramana of the Supreme Court held that has held that a charge of forgery cannot be imposed on a person who is not the maker of the same. The present appeal was filed the complainant after the Madras High Court overturned the conviction of the trial court and first appellate court stating that to get attracted the offence of forgery, “making of a false document” is essential. Referring to the judgment of Md. Ibrahim and Ors. vs. State of Bihar and Anr (2009) 8 SCC 751, the Court observed that for the applicability of the offence of forgery as defined under Section 463, IPC depends upon creation of a document as defined under Section 464, IPC. The Bench further referred to the case of Mir Nagvi Askari vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2009) 15 SCC 643, and observed as follows:

“A person is said to make a false document or record if he satisfies one of the three conditions as noticed hereinbefore and provided for under the said section.

The first condition being that the document has been falsified with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document has been made by a person, by whom the person falsifying the document knows that it was not made. Clearly the documents in question in the present case, even if it be assumed to have been made dishonestly or fraudulently, had not been made with the intention of causing it to be believed that they were made by or under the authority of someone else.

The second criteria of the section deals with a case where a person without lawful authority alters a document after it has been made. There has been no allegation of alteration of the voucher in question after they have been made. Therefore, in our opinion the second criteria of the said section is also not applicable to the present case.

The third and final condition of Section 464 deals with a document, signed by a person who due to his mental capacity does not know the contents of the documents which were made i.e. because of intoxication or unsoundness of mind, etc. Such is also not the case before us. Indisputably therefore the accused before us could not have been convicted with the making of a false document.”

Concluding its findings on the facts at hand and with reference to judicial precedents, the Apex Court concluded that the Respondents No 1 and 2 are not liable for the offence of forgery as they are not the makers of the forged documents and it is only the imposter who is liable for the offence, as rightly concluded by the Madras High Court.


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Judgment: Sheila Sebastian Versus R. Jawaharaj and Anr.