SC: Sole opinion of handwriting expert ought not to be the basis of FIR

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 10th February 2020, in the matter of Rajeshbhai Muljibhai Patel And Others Etc. v. State Of Gujarat And Another Etc. observed that FIR of forgery and cheating ought not to be registered if it is based on the sole opinion of the handwriting expert.

 The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

When the issue as to the genuineness of a document is pending consideration in the civil suit, FIR ought not to have been allowed to continue as it would prejudice the interest of the parties and the stand taken by them in the civil suit. (Para 18)

In terms of Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, the opinion of handwriting expert is a relevant piece of evidence; but it is not a conclusive evidence. It is always open to the plaintiff to adduce appropriate evidence to disprove the opinion of the handwriting expert. (Para 19)

Section 73 of the Indian Evidence Act empowers the Court to compare the admitted and disputed writings for the purpose of forming its own opinion. (Para 19)

Based on the sole opinion of the handwriting expert, the FIR ought not to have been registered. (Para 19)

When once the issuance of cheque is admitted/established, the presumption would arise under Section 139 of the N.I. Act in favour of the holder of cheque that is the complainant. The nature of presumptions under Section139 of the N.I. Act and Section 118(a) of the Indian Evidence Act are rebuttable. The burden lies upon the accused to rebut the presumption by adducing evidence. Until the accused discharges his burden, the presumption under Section 139 of N.I. Act will continue to remain. (Para 20)

When disputed questions of facts are involved which need to be adjudicated after the parties adduce evidence, the complaint under Section 138 of the N.I. Act ought not to have been quashed by the High Court by taking recourse to Section 482 Cr.P.C. Though, the Court has the power to quash the criminal complaint filed under Section 138 of the N.I. Act on the legal issues like limitation, etc. (Para 20)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_10-Feb-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *