This is an important judgment from Hon’ble Supreme Court on a contention point as documented in Para 5,
5. The principal controversy revolves round the interpretation of the expression “when such offence is alleged to have been committed in respect of a document produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in any Court” occurring in clause (b)(ii) of sub-section (1) of Section 195 Cr.P.C.
Simply put, if a document is forged before being submitted in a court, there is no bar to file a complaint on the accused of the forgery under clause (b)(ii) of sub-section (1) of Section 195 Cr.P.C.
A Magistrate may take cognizance of any offence
(a) upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such offence,
(b) upon a police report of such facts, and
(c) upon information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his own knowledge, that such offence has been committed.
From a victim standpoint who is facing an offender of forgery, thereafter in this case, the respondents moved an application under Section 340 Cr.P.C. requesting the Court to file a criminal complaint against appellant no.1 as the will set up by him was forged.
From Paras 23-26, very valuable aspect is explained ‘expedient in the interests of justice‘:
Iqbal Singh Marwah & Anr Vs Meenakshi Marwah & Anr on 11 March, 2005
23. In view of the language used in Section 340 CrPC the court is not bound to make a complaint regarding commission of an offence referred to in Section 195(1)(b), as the section is conditioned by the words “court is of opinion that it is expedient in the interests of justice”. This shows that such a course will be adopted only if the interest of justice requires and not in every case. Before filing of the complaint, the court may hold a preliminary enquiry and record a finding to the effect that it is expedient in the interests of justice that enquiry should be made into any of the offences referred to in Section 195(1)(b). This expediency will normally be judged by the court by weighing not the magnitude of injury suffered by the person affected by such forgery or forged document, but having regard to the effect or impact, such commission of offence has upon administration of justice. It is possible that such forged document or forgery may cause a very serious or substantial injury to a person in the sense that it may deprive him of a very valuable property or status or the like, but such document may be just a piece of evidence produced or given in evidence in court, where voluminous evidence may have been adduced and the effect of such piece of evidence on the broad concept of administration of justice may be minimal. In such circumstances, the court may not consider it expedient in the interest of justice to make a complaint. The broad view of clause (b)(ii), as canvassed by learned counsel for the appellants, would render the victim of such forgery or forged document remediless. Any interpretation which leads to a situation where a victim of a crime is rendered remediless, has to be discarded.
24. There is another consideration which has to be kept in mind. Sub-section (1) of Section 340 CrPC contemplates holding of a preliminary enquiry. Normally, a direction for filing of a complaint is not made during the pendency of the proceeding before the court and this is done at the stage when the proceeding is concluded and the final judgment is rendered. Section 341 provides for an appeal against an order directing filing of the complaint. The hearing and ultimate decision of the appeal is bound to take time. Section 343(2) confers a discretion upon a court trying the complaint to adjourn the hearing of the case if it is brought to its notice that an appeal is pending against the decision arrived at in the judicial proceeding out of which the matter has arisen. In view of these provisions, the complaint case may not proceed at all for decades specially in matters arising out of civil suits where decisions are challenged in successive appellate fora which are time-consuming. It is also to be noticed that there is no provision of appeal against an order passed under Section 343(2), whereby hearing of the case is adjourned until the decision of the appeal. These provisions show that, in reality, the procedure prescribed for filing a complaint by the court is such that it may not fructify in the actual trial of the offender for an unusually long period. Delay in prosecution of a guilty person comes to his advantage as witnesses become reluctant to give evidence and the evidence gets lost. This important consideration dissuades us from accepting the broad interpretation sought to be placed upon clause (b)(ii).
25. An enlarged interpretation to Section 195(1)(b)(ii), whereby the bar created by the said provision would also operate where after commission of an act of forgery the document is subsequently produced in court, is capable of great misuse. As pointed out in Sachida Nand Singh after preparing a forged document or committing an act of forgery, a person may manage to get a proceeding instituted in any civil, criminal or revenue court, either by himself or through someone set up by him and simply file the document in the said proceeding. He would thus be protected from prosecution, either at the instance of a private party or the police until the court, where the document has been filed, itself chooses to file a complaint. The litigation may be a prolonged one due to which the actual trial of such a person may be delayed indefinitely. Such an interpretation would be highly detrimental to the interest of the society at large.
26. Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that the courts are normally reluctant to direct filing of a criminal complaint and such a course is rarely adopted. It will not be fair and proper to give an interpretation which leads to a situation where a person alleged to have committed an offence of the type enumerated in clause (b)(ii) is either not placed for trial on account of non-filing of a complaint or if a complaint is filed, the same does not come to its logical end. Judging from such an angle will be in consonance with the principle that an unworkable or impracticable result should be avoided.
Citations : [2005 AIR SC 2119], [2005 SCR 2 708], [2005 JT 3 195], [2005 SCALE 3 93], [2005 AIOL 135], [2005 MHLJ SC 3 530], [2005 BOMCR CRI SC 2 470], [2005 SCC 4 370], [2005 SUPREME 2 549], [2005 CRLJ SC 2161], [2005 SCC CRI 1101]
Other Sources :