Forgery is defined under Section 463 of Indian Penal Code, Whosoever makes any fake document or incorrect electronic record or part of a document with an intention 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 share with property, or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with purpose to commit fraud or that fraud may be accomplished, commits forgery.
Forgery hence can be described as a means to achieve an end- the end is an instance of action or scheme fabricated to mislead someone into believing a lie or inaccuracy.
Concept of false Document
According to Section 463 of IPC, A person is declared to make a false document when;
Firstly- who dishonestly or fraudulently makes sign, seal or performs a document or part of a document makes any mark indicating the execution of a document, with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document or part of a document was made signed sealed or executed by the authority of a person by whom authority was not made, signed at a time at which he knows that it was not made sealed or executed; or
Secondly- who without legal authority dishonestly or fraudulently by withdrawing or contrarily reconstructs a document in any material part thereof after it has been made himself or by any person whether such person be alive or dead at the time of such alteration; or
Thirdly- whoever dishonestly or fraudulently causes any person to seal, sign, execute or reconstruct a document knowing that such person by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication cannot by reason of deceit practised upon him, he does not know the content of the document or the nature of the alteration.
What Constitutes Forgery?
Forgery implies false document, signature or other imitation of the object of utility used with the intent to deceive another. Those who commit forgery are usually charged with the crime of fraud. Objects of the forgery include contracts, identification cards, and legal certificates. The most common form of forgery includes signing someone else’s name to cheque. Objects, data, and documents can also be forged. Legal contracts, historical paper, art objects, certificates, licenses, identification cards can also be forged. Consumer goods and Currency can also be forged but this crime is usually referred to as counterfeiting.
The basic elements of forgery include:
Forgery requires Deception
In most of the jurisdiction, the crime of forgery is not imposed unless it is done with the intent to commit fraud larceny. For example, the work of art can be replicated or copied without any crime being committed unless someone attempted to sell or represent the original copies. In such cases, the act would be considered an illegal forgery.
Creation of fake document
Forgery also includes the creation of fraudulent or fake documents. For instance, it can involve photocopying of the person’s signature and then artificially placing it on a document without their knowledge or consent. Moreover, On the grand scale forgery occurs in the field of art and literature.
Forgery as Identity Theft
Identity theft is a crime wherein the defendant unjustly acquires and uses another’s person personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception typically for budgetary gain.
Initially, states have treated identity theft as deceptive imitation forgery or as theft by deception.
The intention of the forger
Section 468 pertains only to the cases where forgery is for the purpose of cheating. Forgery has been explained before as concerning the presence of one or other of the two elements of dishonesty or fraud.
Proof: the prosecution has to prove that the:
Accused committed forgery.
That he did so with an intention that the document forged shall be used for the purpose of cheating.
Punishment for Forgery
Section 465 of the Indian Penal Code describes Punishment for forgery. According to this section, Whoever commits forgery shall be punished with imprisonment of jail term either description for a span which may extend to two years or with the penalty, or with both. Under IPC it is a non-cognizable offence. If the forgery is of a promissory note of the Central Government then it is Cognizable.