Tuesday 18 July 2023

Is it possible for the court to convict the accused based on a signature comparison if the original signature is not available?

The High Court fortunately realised the pitfall in the reasoning of the Trial Court. But in an over-anxiety to somehow convict A-7, the High Court adopted a very peculiar route, namely that of undertaking the task of comparing the admitted signatures/ handwritings with the disputed ones Under Section 73 of the Evidence Act. {Para 130}

131. For invoking Section 73, there must first have been some signature or writing admitted or proved to the satisfaction of the Court, to have been written or made by that person. The Section empowers the Court also to direct any person present in Court to write any words or figures for the purpose of enabling the Court to compare the words or figures.

132. There was no signature or writing available before the High Court, which had been admitted or proved to the satisfaction of the Court to have been written or made. The High Court did not also direct A-7 to write any words or figures for the purpose of enabling a comparison. Without following the procedure so prescribed in Section 73, the High Court invented a novel procedure, to uphold the conviction handed over by the Trial Court through a wrong reasoning.

133. In fact, the High Court considered Exhibit P-75 to be the document containing the admitted handwritings and signatures of A-7 and compared what was found therein with the handwritings/signatures found in Exhibits P-66, P-76, P-90 and P-92.

134. But what was contained in Exhibit P-75 was never admitted by A- 7 to be in his handwriting. Exhibit P-75 was marked through PW-30, the handwriting expert, and not even by the I.O. At least if the I.O. had identified and marked the specimen writings and signatures of A-7 as Exhibit P-75, it was possible for the prosecution to contend that the specimen signatures stood proved. But the I.O. did not identify Exhibit P-75. PW-30 through whom Exhibit P-75 was marked did not directly obtain the specimen writings of A-7. The statement of PW-30 that the specimen writings of A-7 are in Exhibit P-75 was only hearsay evidence, as he did not directly obtain those specimen signatures. Thus, Exhibit P- 75 never stood proved.

135. Even in the questioning Under Section 313 of the Code, no specific question was put to A-7 whether Exhibits P-66, P-76, P-90, P-92 and P- 75 were in his handwritings and whether they contained his signatures. Therefore, what was contained in Exhibit P-75 was not even admitted signatures.

136. In the absence of either admission or proof of the admitted signatures, the High Court could not have resorted to Section 73 of the Evidence Act.

137. In view of the above, the finding recorded by the Trial Court and the High Court as though A-7 committed forgery and cheating by making applications for the issue of demand drafts in the names of bogus firms is wholly unsustainable.


Criminal Appeal Nos. 2417 of 2010, 16 of 2011 and 2444 of 2010

Decided On: 15.06.2023

A. Srinivasulu  Vs. The State Rep. by the Inspector of Police

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

V. Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mithal, JJ.

Author: V. Ramasubramanian, J.

Citation: MANU/SC/0723/2023.

Read full Judgment here: Click here

Print Page

No comments:

Post a Comment