SC: Forgery can’t be substantiated only on the basis of opinion of expert

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 16th November 2020, in the matter of Rattan Singh & Ors. Nirmal Gill & Ors. etc. held that the ground that the documents were a result of copied forgery cannot be substantiated only on the basis of the opinion of expert.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

A document is presumed to be genuine if the same is registered. (Para 9)

The ground that the documents were a result of copied forgery cannot be substantiated only on the basis of the opinion of expert. Even otherwise, the expert opinions are not a binding piece of evidence and have to be corroborated with other pieces of evidence.  (Para 65)

The presumption in favour of a 30­year old document is, therefore, a rebuttable presumption. (Para 71)

For invoking Section 17 of the Limitation Act, 1963, two ingredients have to be pleaded and duly proved. One is existence of a fraud and the other is discovery of such fraud. In the present case, since the plaintiff failed to establish the existence of fraud, there is no occasion for its discovery. (Para 78)

Standard of proof required in a civil dispute is preponderance of probabilities and not beyond reasonable doubt. (Para 80)

Copy of judgment: Judgement_16-Nov-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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