IPC Section 468 : Forgery For Purposes Of Cheating

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Index 

  1. Introduction 
  2. What Is Forgery 
  3. IPC Section 468 Defined
  4. Essence Of IPC Section 468
  5. Requirements Under IPC Section 468
  6. Punishment Under IPC Section 468
  7. Nature Of IPC Section 468
  8. Similar Sections
  9. Latest Judgements
  10. Conclusion 

Introduction 

Forgey is a crime in the eyes of law given the fact it causes harm to those involved. This deceptive act, as defined by Indian law, is punishable due to its potential for significant harm. Implementing strict measures to prevent, identify, and penalise such fraudulent activities is essential, given the potential damage caused by counterfeit documents. This article elaborates further on forgery, it’s consequences and laws that forbid forgery. 

What Is Forgery 

Forgery, a serious felony, involves intentionally creating or altering documents or electronic records to deceive and illicitly gain money or property. This fraudulent act is deemed a serious offence under Indian law due to its potential for substantial harm. To combat the dangers posed by counterfeit documents, it’s imperative to employ rigorous methods for prevention, detection, and punishment of such deceptive behaviour. Those guilty of forgery are individuals who fabricate false documents or electronic records, or manipulate existing ones, intending to cause harm, deceive the public or individuals, support false claims, induce property loss, engage in contracts, or commit fraud.

Illustration :  An individual, let’s call him Alex, wants to deceive a bank into approving a loan application. Alex decides to forge his employer’s signature on a salary verification letter to make it appear as though he earns a higher income than he actually does. He creates a fake letterhead, signs the document with a forged signature resembling his employer’s, and submits it to the bank along with his loan application. The bank, unaware of the forgery, processes the loan based on the false information provided, leading to Alex obtaining a loan he wouldn’t have qualified for otherwise. In this case, Alex’s act of forging the signature constitutes forgery, as it involves deceitfully altering a document to deceive and gain financial benefits unlawfully.

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IPC Section 468 Defined

Section 468 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the offence of forgery committed with the intention of cheating. This section is a crucial component of the legal framework governing forgery and fraud in India.

Essence Of IPC Section 468

The essence of Section 468 IPC is that it criminalises the act of forgery when it is carried out with the specific intent of cheating or defrauding someone. 

Forgery, as defined in Section 463 IPC, involves the making of a false document or electronic record with the intent to cause damage or injury to the public or to any person. Section 468 IPC takes this a step further by requiring that the forgery be committed with the intention that the forged document or record shall be used for the purpose of cheating.

Requirements Under IPC Section 468

To establish an offence under Section 468 IPC, the prosecution must prove the following essential elements:

  1. The accused committed forgery, as defined in Section 463 IPC
  2. The accused intended that the forged document or electronic record shall be used for the purpose of cheating.

Punishment Under IPC Section 468

The punishment for this offence is imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to seven years, and the accused shall also be liable to a fine.

The application of Section 468 IPC has been the subject of several landmark court rulings. 

Nature Of IPC Section 468

The offence under Section 468 IPC is cognizable, non-bailable, and triable by a Magistrate of the first class. The broad scope of this provision, coupled with the severe punishment it prescribes, underscores the gravity with which the law views the act of forgery committed with the intention of cheating. By criminalising such conduct, Section 468 IPC aims to protect individuals and the public from the harmful consequences of fraudulent activities involving forged documents or electronic records.

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Similar Sections 

As mentioned earlier IPC Section 463 forgery, involves deliberately producing a fake document or its components with the aim of causing harm or injury to others or the public, backing up a claim or title, prompting property transfer, initiating an implied or explicit contract, or perpetrating fraud or the potential for future fraud.

Illustration : Consider a scenario where X has made a commitment that their property will be divided equally among Y, Z, and W after their demise. However, X deliberately removes Z’s name from the property document, aiming to share the entire estate only with Y and W. In this case, X would be liable for forgery as per Section 463 of the IPC, facing potential legal consequences.

To establish criminal liability for forgery, the key requirement is the creation of a counterfeit document or electronic record, as defined by Section 464 of the IPC. This section clarifies that the individual accused of forgery is the one responsible for producing the fraudulent document. The act of creating such a document, as outlined in Section 464, encompasses various actions. It is important to note that the document does not necessarily have to be in the name of a real person to constitute fraud. It only needs to appear authentic. 

According to the ruling in Mohd Ibrahim v. State of Bihar (2009) by the Supreme Court, creating a fake document includes signing something using another person’s name or signature, altering an official record, or obtaining a document through deception, especially from an intoxicated individual.

Latest Judgements 

In a significant Supreme Court case, Dr. Vimla was accused of fraud under Section 468 of the Indian Penal Code. She had bought a car in her minor daughter’s name and filed two insurance claims using her daughter’s identity after the car was in accidents. However, since her actions didn’t result in her gaining money from the claims or causing any financial harm to the insurance company, the court found her not guilty of the offence.

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In the State of Orissa v. Bishnu Charan Muduli case in 1985, the driver and cleaner of a bus were convicted by the Orissa High Court for causing an accident. They were found guilty of breaking Section 477-A of the Indian Penal Code because they had switched the bus’s license plate and falsified the registration book to match.

In the case of Nand Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar (1992), the Supreme Court ruled that the defendant could not be found guilty due to insufficient evidence. The court found no proof that he was aware of or approved the forgery committed by the co-accused to obtain LIC insurance. The only evidence presented was the deposit of premium amounts into his account, which was not enough to prove his involvement under Section 468.

In Kishan Lal v. State (1989), the Delhi High Court found the defendant guilty for falsely claiming to be the payee and signing the postal acknowledgement in the name of the actual payee. The court held the accused responsible under Section 467 of the IPC for committing this offence.

Conclusion

Forgery in India is a grave offence with severe consequences, as outlined in Section 468 of the IPC. Those convicted of forgery may face up to seven years in prison along with fines. Essentially, forgery encompasses creating false documents to deceive or harm others, such as using them for fraudulent claims, persuading property relinquishment, contract manipulation, or other deceitful acts, all of which are illegal and carry significant legal repercussions.

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