S.195 CrPC: No FIR can be registered for forgery/conspiracy committed before court on the basis of private complaint, says Chhattisgarh High Court

In a notable judgment titled Nand Kumar Verma v. State of Chhattisgarh & Anr. in CRMP No. 424 of 2018 and 2022 LiveLaw (Chh) 13 that was delivered finally on February 15, 2022, the Chhattisgarh High Court has held that in terms of Section 195 CrPC, no FIR can be registered for forging of documents or conspiracy committed before the Court, on the basis of a private complaint. All Judges must always bear this in mind while ruling on similar such judgments. It also noted that it is crystal clear that the registration of FIR against the petitioner on the basis of complaints made by the respondents and other complainants is not tenable.

To start with, this cogent, commendable, and convincing judgment authored by a single Judge Bench comprising of Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas of Chhattisgarh High Court sets the ball rolling by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, “The petitioner has filed the instant petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing the FIR bearing Crime No. 124/2017 (Annexure P/1) registered against the petitioner on 30.03.2017 on the basis of complaint made by respondent No. 2 along with other complainants at Police Station- Baloda, District- Baloda-Bazar (C.G.) for committing offence punishable under Section 420 of I.P.C.”

While elaborating on the facts, the Bench then observes in para 2 that, “The brief facts, as projected by the petitioner, are that on 30.03.2017, Police Station- Baloda, District- Baloda-BazarBhatapara registered offence bearing FIR No. 124/2017 on the basis of written report dated 28.06.2016 by respondent No. 2/Nandlal Verma, Kalindri, Kaushal, Santram Mantram & Gopal alleging that the petitioner in a revenue case for mutation of land filed before Tahsildar had submitted fabricated false documents of Panchayat proceedings dated 03.04.2013 and got his name mutated in revenue records of the ancestral property on the basis of this fabricated document. After completion of preliminary enquiry, the Police have registered the FIR against the petitioner on 30.03.2017, which has been assailed by the petitioner in this petition.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then points out in para 13 that, “This Court while hearing this petition on 28.02.2018 granted interim protection in favour of the petitioner directing that the investigation may go on but no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner till the next date of hearing.”

Be it noted, the Bench then envisages in para 19 that, “From bare perusal of the FIR and considering the contents of the complaint, it is crystal clear that it has been alleged the petitioner has given false documentary evidence relating to resolution of Gram Panchyat dated 03.10.2003 before Tahsildar in revenue case and on that basis, the Tahsildar has mutated the property in the name of the petitioner, therefore, the provisions of Sections 195 & 340 of the Cr.P.C. will be attracted and it is perjury which amount to forgery, as such, as per the law laid down by Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Narendra Kumar Shrivastava Vs. State of Bihar (2019) 3 SCC 318, wherein it has been clearly held that a prosecution under this Section can be initiated only by the sanction of the court under whose proceedings an offence referred to in Section 195(1)(b) has allegedly been committed.”

It would be instructive to note that the Bench then mentions in para 20 that, “Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Patel Laljibhai Somabhai (Supra) while examining the purpose and object of the Legislature in creating the bar against cognizance of private complaints in regard to the offences mentioned in Section 195(1) (b) & (c) is both to save the accused person from vexatious or baseless prosecutions inspired by feelings of vindictiveness on the part of the private complainants to harass their opponents and also to avoid confusion which is likely to arise on account of conflicts between findings of the courts in which forged documents are produced or false evidence is led and the conclusions of the criminal courts dealing with the private complaint. It is for this reason as suggested earlier, that the Legislature has entrusted the court, whose proceedings had been the target of the offence of perjury to consider the expediency in the larger public interest, of a criminal trial of the guilty party.”

While mentioning another relevant case law, the Bench then hastens to add in para 21 that, “Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Gopalakrishna Menon (Supra) has held at paragraph 7 as under:-

“7. In view of what we have said above, the prosecution in the instant case on the basis of a private complaint and in the absence of a complaint from the appropriate civil court where the alleged fraudulent receipt has been produced, would not be sustainable. As we are of the view that if the prosecution is allowed to continue serious prejudice would be caused to the appellants and they would be called upon to face a trial which would not be sustainable, we allow this appeal and set aside the decision of the High Court and quash the complaint case filed against the appellants.””

Adding more to it, the Bench then enunciates in para 22 that, “Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Narendra Kumar Shrivastava (Supra) has held that perjury on the basis of private cognizable offence under this Section can be initiated only by the sanction of the court under whose proceedings an offence referred to in Section 195(1)(b) has allegedly been committed. Hon’ble the Supreme Court has held at paragraph 22 to 24 as under:-

“22. In Sachida Nand Singh {2000) 1 SCC 278] relied on by the learned counsel for the appellant, this Court was considering the question as to whether the bar contained in Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of the Cr.P.C. is applicable to a case where forgery of the document was committed before the document was produced in a court. It was held:

“6. A reading of the clause reveals two main postulates for operation of the bar mentioned there. First is, there must be allegation that an offence (it should be either an offence described in Section 463 or any other offence punishable under Sections 471, 475, 476 of the IPC) has been committed. Second is that such offence should have been committed in respect of a document produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in any court. There is no dispute before us that if forgery has been committed while the document was in the custody of a court, then prosecution can be launched only with a complaint made by that court. There is also no dispute that if forgery was committed with a document which has not been produced in a court then the prosecution would lie at the instance of any person. If so, will its production in a court make all the difference?

23. The sequitur of the above discussion is that the bar contained in Section 195(1)(b) (ii) of the Code is not applicable to a case where forgery of the document was committed before the document was produced in a court. Accordingly we dismiss this appeal.”

23. In Sachida Nand Singh (supra), this Court had dealt with Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of the Cr.P.C unlike the present case which is covered by the preceding clause of the Section. The category of offences which fall under Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Cr.P.C. refer to the offence of giving false evidence and offences against public justice which is distinctly different from those offences under Section 195(1) (b)(ii) of Cr.P.C, where a dispute could arise whether the offence of forging a document was committed outside the court or when it was in the custody of the court. Hence, this decision has no application to the facts of the present case.

24. The case in hand squarely falls within the category of cases falling under Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Cr.P.C. as the offence is punishable under Section 193 of the IPC. Therefore, the Magistrate has erred in taking cognizance of the offence on the basis of a private complaint. The High Court, in our view, has rightly set aside the order of the Magistrate. However, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we deem it proper to set aside the costs imposed by the High Court.””

Most forthrightly, the Bench then holds in para 25 that, “Considering the rival submission of the parties and considering the facts and circumstances of the present case, the petitioner has assailed the registration of FIR and authority of the police to register a private complaint and one of the complainants has already been made party in this case.

Read concluding on thedailyguardian.com

In a notable judgment titled Nand Kumar Verma v. State of Chhattisgarh & Anr. in CRMP No. 424 of 2018 and 2022 LiveLaw (Chh) 13 that was delivered finally on February 15, 2022, the Chhattisgarh High Court has held that in terms of Section 195 CrPC, no FIR can be registered for forging of documents or conspiracy committed before the Court, on the basis of a private complaint. All Judges must always bear this in mind while ruling on similar such judgments. It also noted that it is crystal clear that the registration of FIR against the petitioner on the basis of complaints made by the respondents and other complainants is not tenable.

To start with, this cogent, commendable, and convincing judgment authored by a single Judge Bench comprising of Justice Narendra Kumar Vyas of Chhattisgarh High Court sets the ball rolling by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, “The petitioner has filed the instant petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing the FIR bearing Crime No. 124/2017 (Annexure P/1) registered against the petitioner on 30.03.2017 on the basis of complaint made by respondent No. 2 along with other complainants at Police Station- Baloda, District- Baloda-Bazar (C.G.) for committing offence punishable under Section 420 of I.P.C.”

While elaborating on the facts, the Bench then observes in para 2 that, “The brief facts, as projected by the petitioner, are that on 30.03.2017, Police Station- Baloda, District- Baloda-BazarBhatapara registered offence bearing FIR No. 124/2017 on the basis of written report dated 28.06.2016 by respondent No. 2/Nandlal Verma, Kalindri, Kaushal, Santram Mantram & Gopal alleging that the petitioner in a revenue case for mutation of land filed before Tahsildar had submitted fabricated false documents of Panchayat proceedings dated 03.04.2013 and got his name mutated in revenue records of the ancestral property on the basis of this fabricated document. After completion of preliminary enquiry, the Police have registered the FIR against the petitioner on 30.03.2017, which has been assailed by the petitioner in this petition.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then points out in para 13 that, “This Court while hearing this petition on 28.02.2018 granted interim protection in favour of the petitioner directing that the investigation may go on but no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner till the next date of hearing.”

Be it noted, the Bench then envisages in para 19 that, “From bare perusal of the FIR and considering the contents of the complaint, it is crystal clear that it has been alleged the petitioner has given false documentary evidence relating to resolution of Gram Panchyat dated 03.10.2003 before Tahsildar in revenue case and on that basis, the Tahsildar has mutated the property in the name of the petitioner, therefore, the provisions of Sections 195 & 340 of the Cr.P.C. will be attracted and it is perjury which amount to forgery, as such, as per the law laid down by Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Narendra Kumar Shrivastava Vs. State of Bihar (2019) 3 SCC 318, wherein it has been clearly held that a prosecution under this Section can be initiated only by the sanction of the court under whose proceedings an offence referred to in Section 195(1)(b) has allegedly been committed.”

It would be instructive to note that the Bench then mentions in para 20 that, “Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Patel Laljibhai Somabhai (Supra) while examining the purpose and object of the Legislature in creating the bar against cognizance of private complaints in regard to the offences mentioned in Section 195(1) (b) & (c) is both to save the accused person from vexatious or baseless prosecutions inspired by feelings of vindictiveness on the part of the private complainants to harass their opponents and also to avoid confusion which is likely to arise on account of conflicts between findings of the courts in which forged documents are produced or false evidence is led and the conclusions of the criminal courts dealing with the private complaint. It is for this reason as suggested earlier, that the Legislature has entrusted the court, whose proceedings had been the target of the offence of perjury to consider the expediency in the larger public interest, of a criminal trial of the guilty party.”

While mentioning another relevant case law, the Bench then hastens to add in para 21 that, “Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Gopalakrishna Menon (Supra) has held at paragraph 7 as under:-

“7. In view of what we have said above, the prosecution in the instant case on the basis of a private complaint and in the absence of a complaint from the appropriate civil court where the alleged fraudulent receipt has been produced, would not be sustainable. As we are of the view that if the prosecution is allowed to continue serious prejudice would be caused to the appellants and they would be called upon to face a trial which would not be sustainable, we allow this appeal and set aside the decision of the High Court and quash the complaint case filed against the appellants.””

Adding more to it, the Bench then enunciates in para 22 that, “Hon’ble the Supreme Court in Narendra Kumar Shrivastava (Supra) has held that perjury on the basis of private cognizable offence under this Section can be initiated only by the sanction of the court under whose proceedings an offence referred to in Section 195(1)(b) has allegedly been committed. Hon’ble the Supreme Court has held at paragraph 22 to 24 as under:-

“22. In Sachida Nand Singh {2000) 1 SCC 278] relied on by the learned counsel for the appellant, this Court was considering the question as to whether the bar contained in Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of the Cr.P.C. is applicable to a case where forgery of the document was committed before the document was produced in a court. It was held:

“6. A reading of the clause reveals two main postulates for operation of the bar mentioned there. First is, there must be allegation that an offence (it should be either an offence described in Section 463 or any other offence punishable under Sections 471, 475, 476 of the IPC) has been committed. Second is that such offence should have been committed in respect of a document produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in any court. There is no dispute before us that if forgery has been committed while the document was in the custody of a court, then prosecution can be launched only with a complaint made by that court. There is also no dispute that if forgery was committed with a document which has not been produced in a court then the prosecution would lie at the instance of any person. If so, will its production in a court make all the difference?

23. The sequitur of the above discussion is that the bar contained in Section 195(1)(b) (ii) of the Code is not applicable to a case where forgery of the document was committed before the document was produced in a court. Accordingly we dismiss this appeal.”

23. In Sachida Nand Singh (supra), this Court had dealt with Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of the Cr.P.C unlike the present case which is covered by the preceding clause of the Section. The category of offences which fall under Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Cr.P.C. refer to the offence of giving false evidence and offences against public justice which is distinctly different from those offences under Section 195(1) (b)(ii) of Cr.P.C, where a dispute could arise whether the offence of forging a document was committed outside the court or when it was in the custody of the court. Hence, this decision has no application to the facts of the present case.

24. The case in hand squarely falls within the category of cases falling under Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Cr.P.C. as the offence is punishable under Section 193 of the IPC. Therefore, the Magistrate has erred in taking cognizance of the offence on the basis of a private complaint. The High Court, in our view, has rightly set aside the order of the Magistrate. However, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we deem it proper to set aside the costs imposed by the High Court.””

Most forthrightly, the Bench then holds in para 25 that, “Considering the rival submission of the parties and considering the facts and circumstances of the present case, the petitioner has assailed the registration of FIR and authority of the police to register a private complaint and one of the complainants has already been made party in this case.

Recommended For You

About the Author: SANJEEV SIROHI