Forging court record, benefitting from it very serious offence, says SC

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New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) Forging or manipulating court record and benefitting from it is a very serious offence, the Supreme Court said on Monday while cancelling the bail granted by the high court to a man in a cheating case.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrchud and M R Shah set aside the judgement of the Allahabad High Court and said the order passed by it releasing the accused on bail is unsustainable and deserves to be quashed.

'Forging and/or manipulating the court record and getting the benefit of such forged/ manipulated court record is a very serious offence. If the Court record is manipulated and/or forged, it will hamper the administration of justice. 'Forging/manipulating the Court record and taking the benefit of the same stands on altogether a different footing than forging/manipulating other documents between two individuals,' the bench said.

The top court said the high court ought to have been more cautious in granting the bail to a person who is alleged to have manipulated the court record and taken the benefit of such manipulated and forged court record, more particularly when he has been charge­sheeted.

'Suffice it to say that in the facts and circumstances of the case and looking to the very serious allegations of forging/ manipulating court order and having taken advantage of the same, the High Court is not justified in releasing Respondent No.2 (accused) on bail.

'Merely because the charge sheet is filed is no ground to release the accused on bail. The submission on behalf of the accused that as the record is now in the court's custody there is no chance of tampering is concerned, the allegation against the respondent accused are of tampering/forging/manipulating the court record which was in the custody of the court,' the bench said.

The seriousness of the offence is one of the relevant considerations while considering the grant of bail, which has not been considered at all by the high court while releasing the accused on bail, the apex court said.

The top court directed the accused Mahesh to surrender forthwith as a consequence of cancellation of the bail granted by the high court, if not surrendered. The Record Keeper of the Civil Court, Unnao on the order of the District Judge, Unnao has lodged an FIR against the accused of the offences under Sections 420, 467 (Forgery), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 120­B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal code and was alleged that there was a fabrication in the court record by way of using whitener. PTI PKS SA