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The offense of forgery is sine qua non for the offense of cheating: Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of D.K. Khare vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh (MCRC NO. 492 OF 2022) upheld that the offense of forgery is sine qua non for the offense of cheating

Facts of the case: By invoking inherent power of the Court conceived by Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 the petitioner was seeking quashing of the order whereby charges were framed by the trial Court in respect of the offenses punishable under Sections 420, 468, 471 of IPC and Section 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, against the petitioner.

One Shri B.D. Pandey made a complaint against the petitioner, who at the relevant time was holding the post of Joint Director, School Education, Legal Cell, Jabalpur. In the said complaint which was made to the Economic Offenses Wing, Bhopal, numbers of allegations were leveled against the petitioner relating to securing promotion to the post of Principal on the basis of a false experience certificate. Further allegations were to the effect that the petitioner demanded Rs.50,000/- from one Parasram Uchattar Maha Vidhyalaya Maharajpur for granting recognition and he cancelled the recognition of a number of schools as they did not agree to be illegitimate. The said complaint moved by complainant was addressed to the Superintendent of Police, Economic Offences Wing, and was forwarded to the Deputy Director (Vigilance), Public Instructions, Bhopal who directed the Joint Director, Public Instructions Division Jabalpur, District-Jabalpur to conduct an inquiry of each issue raised in the complaint and then submit a report.

One Shri Santosh Tripathi was holding the post of Joint Director, School Education Department, Jabalpur who forwarded the said complaint to the petitioner whereby the petitioner was called upon to submit his explanation as regards the issue raised in the complaint. The petitioner submitted his and thereafter, the report was prepared by Shri Santosh Tripathi upon receipt of explanation. In the said report he found that none of the charges against the petitioner were proved. In the light of the said report, the complaint against the petitioner was closed.

Prosecution contended that the report was forged, on the basis of which the petitioner was ultimately exonerated and the complaint was closed. However, another report was prepared by one Shri K.K. Dwivedi who after transfer of Shri Santosh Tripathi, joined as Joint Director, Public Instructions, Jabalpur. In this report the allegations against the present petitioner were found to be proved. Charge- sheet against the petitioner was filed.

The statement of charges states that the petitioner got the inquiry report dated 01.10.2012 prepared by Shri Santosh Tripathi and the same was prepared to derive benefit by projecting the same to be a genuine document and thus the conduct of the petitioner was punishable under Section 471 of IPC, Section 468 of IPC, Section 420 of IPC and Section 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. 

Judgment : The allegations in the complaint moved by Shri B.D. Pandey were not the charges against the petitioner and the entire charges were arising out of the so called inquiry report dated 01.10.2012.

The petitioner also submitted that at the stage of the prosecution, when only charges were framed, if the entire charge sheet was taken into consideration it was no where alleged that the so called inquiry report dated 01.10.2012 was forged by the petitioner in his own handwriting or forged the signature of Shri Santosh Tripathi and, therefore, according to the petitioner, he was neither author of the said report nor signatory to it, therefore, framing of charge under Section 468 of IPC is grossly erroneous.

It is trite law that scope of judicial interference at the preliminary stage of framing of charge is limited and is permissible u/S 482 of Cr.P.C. when it appears to the Court that upon perusal of entire charge- sheet, no incriminating material is against the accused. All four charges against the petitioner revolved around the inquiry report dated 01.10.2012. The charges so framed against the petitioner does not pertain to any of the allegations which in fact leveled by the complainant-B.D. Pandey.

There was no allegation of forgery of this inquiry report by the present petitioner or any proof to point out any document/material to show that there was allegation of forgery of inquiry report by the petitioner. Since, the offense of forgery is sine qua non for the offense of cheating, therefore, the prosecution had to prima facie establish that there was forgery at the instance of the petitioner. If there are no allegations of forgery, there cannot be cheating inasmuch as the offence of cheating in fact stems from the offence of forgery. The prosecution failed to establish even the foundational ingredients of forgery against the petitioner. The petitioner was discharged. 

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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