Section 463 to Section 477A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deal with the offences relating forgery,  forged documents and making or possessing counterfeit seal, etc with intend to commit forgery. Section 463 and Section 464 of the Indian Penal Code defines forgery as the making of a false document in order that it may be used as genuine. Section 465 of the Code prescribes the Punishment for forgery.


1. Forgery : 

        According to Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code, "whoever makes any false document or  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.

Ingredients :

        To invoke Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code, the following ingredients must be established -

(1) A person makes any document or part of a document

(2) The document or false electronic record or part of the document or electronic record must be false.

(3) His Intention is -

   (a) to cause damage or injury to the public or any person; or
   (b) to support any claim or title; or
   (c) to cause any person to part part with his property; or
   (d) to enter into any express or implied contract; or
   (e) to commit any fraud or that fraud may be committed

2. Making a false document. 

According to Section 464 A person is said to make a false document or false electronic record -

First

Who dishonestly or fraudulently —

   (a) makes, signs, seals or executes a document or part of a document;
 
   (b) makes or transmits any electronic record or part of any electronic record;
 
   (c) affixes any digital signature on any electronic record;

   (d) makes any mark denoting the execution of a document or the authenticity of the digital signature, with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document or part of document, electronic record or digital signature was made, signed, sealed, executed, transmitted or affixed by or by the authority of a person by whom or by whose authority he knows that it was not made, signed, sealed, executed or affixed; or

Secondly 

Who, without lawful authority, dishonestly or fraudulently, by cancellation or otherwise, alters a document or an electronic record in any material part thereof, after it has been made, executed or affixed with digital signature either by himself or by any other person, whether such person be living or dead at the time of such alteration; or

Thirdly—

Who dishonestly or fraudulently causes any person to sign, seal, execute or alter a document or an electronic record or to affix his digital signature on any electronic record knowing that such person by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication cannot, or that by reason of deception practised upon him, he does not know the contents of the document or electronic record or the nature of the alteration.

Illustrations 

   (a) A has a letter of credit upon B for rupees 10,000, written by Z. A, in order to defraud B, adds cipher to the 10,000, and makes the sum 1,00,000 intending that it may be believed by B that Z so wrote the letter. A has committed forgery.

  (b) A without Z's authority, affixes Z's seal to a document purporting to be a conveyance of an estate from Z to A, with the intention of selling the estate to B and thereby of obtaining from B the purchase-money. A has committed forgery.

  (c) A picks up a cheque on a banker signed by B, payable to bearer, but without any sum having been inserted in the cheque. A fraudulently fills up the cheque by inserting the sum of ten thousand rupees. A commits forgery.

  (d) A leaves with B, his agent, a cheque on a banker, signed by A, without inserting the sum payable and authorizes B to fill up the cheque by inserting a sum not exceeding ten thousand rupees for the purpose of making certain payments. B fraudulently fills up the cheque by inserting the sum of twenty thousand rupees. B commits forgery.

  (e) A draws a bill of exchange on himself in the name of B without B's authority, intending to discount it as a genuine bill with a banker and intending to take up the bill on its maturity. Here, as A draws the bill with intent to deceive the banker by leading him to suppose that he had the security of B, and thereby to discount the bill, A is guilty of forgery.

  (f) Z's will contains these words-"I direct that all my remaining property be equally divided between A, B and C." A dishonestly scratches out B's name, intending that it may be believed that the whole was left to himself and C. A has committed forgery.


Explanation 1 

    A man's signature of his own name may amount to forgery.

 Illustrations 

(a) A signs his own name to a bill of exchange, intending that it may be believed that the bill was drawn by another person of the same name. A has committed forgery.

(b) A writes the word "accepted" on a piece of paper and signs it with Z's name, in order that B may afterwards write on the paper a bill of exchange drawn by B upon Z, and negotiate the bills as though it had been accepted by Z. A is guilty of forgery; and if B, knowing the fact, draws the bill upon the paper pursuant to A's intention, B is also guilty of forgery.

(c) A picks up a bill of exchange payable to the order of a different person of the same name. A endorses the bill in his own name, intending to cause it to be believed that it was endorsed by the person to whose order it was payable; here A has committed forgery.

(d) A purchases an estate sold under execution of a decree against B. B, after the seizure of the estate, in collusion with Z, executes a lease of the estate to Z at a nominal rent and for a long period and dates the lease six months prior to the seizure, with intent to defraud A, and to cause it to be believed that the lease was granted before the seizure. B, though he executes the lease in his own name, commits forgery by antedating it.


Explanation 2 -

  The making of a false document in the name of a fictious person, intending it to be believed that the document was made by real person, or in the name of a deceased person, intending it to be believed that the document was made by the person in his lifetime, may amount to forgery.


Explanation 3 -

   For the purposes of this section, the expression "affixing digital signature" shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (d) of subsection (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Illustration A draws a bill of exchange upon a fictious person, and fraudulently accepts the bill in the name of such fictitious person with intent to negotiate it. A commits forgery.


3. Punishment for forgery 

      Section 465 of the Indian Penal Code  prescribes the punishment for forgery - According to this Section whoever commits forgery shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.


   The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Magistrate of the first class.

4. Forgery of record of Court or of public register etc.

Section 466 of the code deals with an aggravated form of the offence of forgery it says that, whoever forges a document or electronic record, purporting to be a record or proceeding of or in a Court of Justice, or a register of birth, baptism, marriage or burial, or a register kept by a public servant as such, or a certificate or document purporting to be made by a public servant in his official capacity, or an authority to institute or defend a suit, or to take any proceedings therein, or to confess judgment, or a power of attorney, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation.—

For the purposes of this section, "register" includes any list, data or record of any entries maintained in the electronic form as defined in clause (r) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Ingredients : 

1) A person forges a document,

2) The document purports to be,

    A) record of proceedings of a Court of Justice, or

    B) register of birth, baptism, marriage or burial or

    C) register kept by a public servant as such, or

    D) certificate or document made by public servant in his official capacity, or

    E) authority to Institute or defend suit etc. or

    F) power of attorney.

        The offence is non-cognizable, non bailable, non-compoundable and triable by a Magistrate of first class . Punishment may extend to 7 years of imprisonment and fine.


5. Forgery of valuable security will etc. (Section 467 of the Indian Penal Code )

       Whoever forges a document which purports to be a valuable security or a will, or an authority to adopt a son, or which purports to give authority to any person to make or transfer any valuable security, or to receive the principal, interest or dividends thereon, or to receive or deliver any money, movable property, or valuable security, or any document purporting to be an acquittance or receipt acknowledging the payment of money, or an acquittance or receipt for the delivery of any movable property or valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Ingredients :

  To invoke Section 467 of the Code following ingredients are to be satisfied -

  A person forges a document which purports to be -

1) A valuable security

2) A Will,

3) an authority to adopt a son

4) authority to any person to make a transfer valuable security.

5) authority to receive the principal, interest or dividends on a valuable security

6) authority to receive or deliver money, movable property or valuable security.

7) acquaintance or receipt acknowledging the payment of money, or

8) acquaintance of receipt for any movable property or valuable security.


        The offence under Section 467 of the Indian Penal Code is non-cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by a Magistrate of first the class .If the forgery is of promissory note of the Central Govt, is Cognizable.



6. Forgery for purpose of cheating.

         Section 468 of the Indian Penal code says that, whoever commits forgery, intending that the document or electronic record forged shall be used for the purpose of 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.


Ingredients 

1) The document or electronic record is forged;

2) The accused forged the document or electronic record;

3) The accused forged the document or electronic record intending that the forged document would be used for the purpose of cheating.


       Offence under this section is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by a Magistrate of the first class

7. Forgery for purpose of harming reputation. (Section 469): 

       Whoever commits forgery, intending that the document or electronic record forged shall harm the reputation of any party, or knowing that it is likely to be used for that purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Ingredients : 

1) The document or electronic record in question is forged;

2) The accused forged it

3) The document or electronic record would be to defame or harm the reputation of someone .


Cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by a Magistrate of the first class

8. Forged document. Section 470 of I.P.C)

        A false document or electronic record made wholly or in part by forgery is designated "a forged document or electronic record".

9. Using as genuine a forged document or electronic record. 

        According to Section 471 of the Indian Penal Code, whoever fraudulently or dishonestly uses as genuine any document or electronic record which he knows or has reason to believe to be a forged document or electronic record, shall be punished in the same manner as if he had forged such document or electronic record.

Ingredients 

1) The document or electronic record is a forged one;

2) The accused used the document or electronic record is genuine ;

3) The accused knew or had reason to believe that it was a forged document or electronic record.

4) The accused used it fraudulently or dishonestly, knowing or having reason to believe that it was a forged document or electronic record.

           The offence under section 471 is cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and may be tried by a magistrate of first class. It is punishable in the same manner as if he had forged such document or electronic record.


10. Making or possessing counterfeit seal, etc., with intent to commit forgery punishable under section 467. 

           According to Section 472 whoever makes or counterfeits any seal, plate or other instrument for making an impression, intending that the same shall be used for the purpose of committing any forgery which would be punishable under section 467 of this Code, or, with such intent, has in his possession any such seal, plate or other instrument, knowing the same to be counterfeit, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Ingredients : 

1) The accused of made or counterfeit the seal, plate or the instruments for making an impression.

2) The accused had in his possession any such seal, plate knowing the same to counterfeit;

2) Such seal, plate etc was made to produce impression;

3) The accused intended to use such a seal, plate etc. for the purpose of committing forgery.


      The offence under section 472 of the Indian Penal Code is cognizable, bailable, non compoundable and tribal by a magistrate of the first class.


11. Making or possessing counterfeit seal, etc., with intent to commit forgery punishable otherwise. (Section 473) - 

        Whoever makes or counterfeits any seal, plate or other instrument for making an impression, intending that the same shall be used for the purpose of committing any forgery which would be punishable under any section of this Chapter other than section 467, or, with such intent, has in his possession any such seal, plate or other instrument, knowing the same to be counterfeit, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.


The offence under this section is cognizable, bailable, non compoundable and tribal by a magistrate of the first class.


12. Having possession of document described in section 466 or 467, knowing it to be forged and intending to use it genuine. (Section 474)

     Whoever has in his possession any document or electronic record, knowing the same to be forged and intending that the same shall fraudulently or dishonestly be used as a genuine, shall, if the document or electronic record is one of the description mentioned in section 466 of this Code, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description, for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Ingredients 

1) The document or electronic record is a forged one;

2) The accused was in possession of it;

3) The accused knew it to be forged; and

4) The accused intended to use it as genuine

       The offence under Section 474 of code is bailable and tribal by a magistrate of first class. It is punishable with imprisonment that may be extend to 7 years and fine.

See also 

Murder : When Culpable Homicide is not Murder. (Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1860)

2 Juistifiable Homicide (Indian Penal Code 1860)

3 Criminal Breach of Trust (Section 405 to Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code)

Receiving Stolen Property (Section 410 to Section 414 of the Indian Penal Code 1860)

Offences Relating to Elections : Indian Penal Code 1860

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