Section 468 IPC
Here is the definition of Section 468 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which stipulates the punishment for forgery –
“Whoever commits forgery, intending that the 1[document or electronic record forged] shall be used for cheating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
What is Forgery?
The definition mentioned above states the punishment for forgery. However, the definition for forgery is mentioned under Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Forgery refers to making false documents with a criminal intention to cause damage to any person. The creation of false documents by itself is not punishable by the Indian Penal Code.
Here is the definition of forgery according to Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 –
” Whoever makes any false documents or false electronic record or part of a document or electronic record, 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 commit fraud or that fraud may be committed, commits forgery.”
Therefore, the elements required to constitute forgery are –
- The document or the electronic record or a part of it should be false in fact.
- The document or the electronic record must have been dishonestly or fraudulently within the meaning of Section 464 of the Indian Penal Code.
- The document or the electronic record must be made with the intent to:-
- Causing danger or injury to either the public or to any person.
- Supporting any claim or title.
- Causing any person to part away with the property.
- Entering into any express or implied contract.
- By committing fraud or may commit fraud.
ELEMENTS OF FORGERY –
Section 468 applies only to cases when forgery is committed for the purpose of cheating. As discussed before, forgery has been described as involving the presence of one or other of the two elements of dishonesty or fraud. Forgery is the means to an end, that end being the wrongful acquisition or retention of a property. The intention of the forger must be that, though it is not necessary that he/she should use the document himself for cheating or that he/she must cheat at all.
Read Also – Section 467 IPC : Provision and Punishment
PROOF TO ESTABLISH FORGERY –
The prosecution must establish the following grounds to prove forgery –
- That the accused has committed forgery.
- That he did so intending to forge that document for cheating
Section 468 of Indian Penal Code – Bailable or Not –
The offence of forgery for cheating under the Indian Penal Code is a non-bailable and a non-compoundable offence.
A bailable offence is regarded as crimes which are less severe and less grave. A bail is claimed as a matter of right.
The punishment for forgery as defined under Section 468 of the Indian Penal Code, is imprisonment up to seven years and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
SECTION 468 CASE LAWS –
State of Orissa v. Rabindra Nath Sahu –
In this case, the Orissa High Court had held that Section 468 does not require that the accused should commit the offence of cheating, which is important as per the section. What is important is that forgery must be committed, However, if the accused has used the forged document for the purpose of cheating, he becomes liable under Section 468 as well a for committing the offence of cheating.
Read Also – All about Section 354 IPC
Nand Kumar Singh v. the State of Bihar –
In this case, the accused was acquitted because of lack of evidence that it was with his knowledge and content that the co-accused had forged the documents which reacted to obtaining of LIC policies. The only evidence which was there was that the premium amounts were credited to his account, which was insufficient to prove his guilt.
Anicete Lobo And Ashok Datta Naik … vs. The State Goa, Daman And Diu –
A bank employee, A1, took a new draft on which another bank employee A5 had forged the signature of their agent A3. They opened a new account in the name of a fictitious person and enchased the cheques. In this case, the court rightly found them guilty and convicted them for their offences under Section 467, 468 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Read Also – Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code
Section 463 to 477A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with offences relating to documents and property marks. Section 468 deals explicitly with forgery committed for cheating only. However, there are other types of forgery such as forgery for record of court or of public register, etc., and to harm reputation (Section 469). Though Section 468 grants punishment for forgery as imprisonment up to 7 years along with a fine, for other types of forgery the punishment is imprisonment up to two years, or with fine or both, according to Section 465. It is also a bailable offence, unlike Section 468. In other jurisdictions such as the United States of America, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland imprisonment even up to 10 years can be granted. Therefore, the offence of forgery is a serious one.