Saturday 10 September 2022

Can accused be prosecuted U/S 467 of IPC for possessing a forged Ph D Degree?

 The question which crops up for consideration is whether the Ph.D. degree certificate allegedly forged and used by the petitioner, prima facie, falls within the dragnet of Section 467 of the Penal Code. In this context, the reliance placed on behalf of the petitioner, on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Shriniwas Pandit Dharmadhikari (supra) appears well founded. In the said case, the petitioners therein had forged certificates to get admission in the college affiliated to Poona University. The Supreme Court observed that the certificates testifying the educational qualification, could not be described as valuable security in terms of the definition under Section 30 of the Penal Code.

{Para 15}

16. Though a number of judgments were cited on behalf of the petitioner, we deem it appropriate to refer two of the judgments of the Supreme Court. First, in the case of Md. Ibrahim (supra), wherein, after analyzing the provisions contained in Section 464 of the Penal Code, the Supreme Court enunciated that, "the condition precedent for an offence punishable under Sections 467 and 471 is forgery. The condition precedent for forgery is making a false document (or false electronic record or part thereof)."

17. Following the aforesaid pronouncement, in the recent decision in the case of Sheila Sebastian (supra), the Supreme Court observed as under:

"25. Keeping in view the strict interpretation of penal statute i.e. referring to rule of interpretation wherein natural inferences are preferred, we observed that a charge of forgery cannot be imposed on a person who is not the maker of the same. As held in plethora of cases, making of a document is different than causing it to be made. As Explanation to Section 464 further clarifies that, for constituting an offence under Section 464 it is imperative that a false document is made and the accused person is the maker of the same, otherwise the accused person is not liable for the offence of forgery.


Writ Petition No. 2281 of 2021

Decided On: 27.07.2021

Swapna Patker  Vs.  The State of Maharashtra and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

Sambhaji Shiwaji Shinde and N.J. Jamadar, JJ.

Citation: MANU/MH/2025/2021

Read full Judgment here: Click here

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