September 30, 2022

Differences between Forgery and Fabrication of Evidence

Chapter XI is headed “Of False Evidence and Offences against Public Justice”. Section 191 defines the offence of giving false evidence which is known as perjury in English Law. It consists, speaking generally, of the making, while on oath, of a statement which is known to be false or believed to be false or not believed to be true.

Section 192 then defines compendiously the offence of fabricating false evidence.

Sections 193 and 196 occur in Chapter XI deals with false evidence and offences against public justice. Section 193 punishes the giving or fabricating of false evidence and section 196 punishes the using of evidence known to be false.

For the offences under ss. 193 and 196, Indian Penal Code there could be no prosecution without a complaint in writing of the court concerned.

On the Other hand, Chapter XVIII of Indian penal code, from section 463 to 471 defines of offences of forgery.

Differences between Forgery and Fabrication of Evidence

The broad distinction between offences under the two groups is this-

  • Section 465 deals with the offence of forgery by the making of a false document and s. 471 with the offence of using forged document dishonestly or fraudulently.

Section 193 deals with the giving or fabricating of false evidence and section 196 with corruptly using evidence known to be false.

The gist of the offence in the first group is the making of a false document and the gist of the offences in the second group is the procuring of false circumstances or the making of a document containing a false statement so that a judicial officer may form a wrong opinion in a judicial proceeding on the faith of the false evidence.

  • Another important difference is that whereas S. 471 requires a user to be either fraudulent, dishonest or both, s. 196 is satisfied if the user is corrupt.

The Penal Code defines the expressions fraudulently and dishonestly but not the expression corrupt.

Meaning of the word ‘Corrupt’

The word “corrupt” does not necessarily include an. element of bribe taking. It is used in a much larger sense as denoting conduct which is morally unsound or debased. The word “corrupt” has been judicially construed in several cases but we refer here to two cases only.

In Emperor v. Rana Nana[1] Chief Justice Macleod considered the word to be of wider import than the words fraudulently or dishonestly and did not confine it to the taking, of bribes or cases of bribery.

In Bibkhranjan Gupta v. The King[2], Mr. Justice Sen dealt at length with this word. He was contrasting s. 196 with s. 471 and observed that the word corruptly was not synonymous with dishonestly or fraudulently but was much wider. According to him it even included conduct which was neither fraudulent nor dishonest if it was otherwise blameworthy or improper.

Meaning of ‘Dishonestly’

The word dishonestly is defined by s. 24 of Penal Code. A person who does anything with the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person, is said to do that thing ‘dishonestly’.

Meaning of the word ‘Fraudulently’

The word “fraudulently” is defined by s. 25 of the Penal Code. A person is said to do a thing fraudulently if he does that thing with intent to defraud but not otherwise. The last three words “but not otherwise” clearly indicate that the intent must be an “intent to defraud”.

It may be pointed out that in the Larceny Act of 1861 and in the Companies Act of 1862 in England the expression was “with intent to deceive or defraud”, while in the Forgery Acts the words “with intent to defraud” alone were used.

The reason was that documents were divided into two: public documents and private documents.

In the case of public documents, it was enough if the intention was merely to deceive but in the case of private documents such an intention was not considered sufficient but “an intent to defraud” was required.

The distinction between the two expressions was made by Lord Buckley (then Buckley J) in a winding up case as follows:

“. . . . To deceive is, I apprehend, to induce a man to believe that a thing is true which is false, and which the person practising the deceit knows or believes to be false. To defraud is to deprive by deceit: it is by deceit to induce a man to act to his injury. More tersely it may be put, that to deceive is by falsehood to induce a state of mind; to defraud is by deceit to induce a course of action.” (In re London and Globe Finance Corp. Ltd (1903) 1 ch. 728)

In Dr. S. Dutt vs State Of Uttar Pradesh[3], Justice Hidayatullah observed that,

“with intent to defraud” in the section indicate not a bare intent to deceive but an intent to cause a person to act or omit to act, as a result of deception played upon him, to his disadvantage. This is the most extensive meaning that may be given to the expression “with intent to defraud” in our Penal Code and the words “but not otherwise” clearly show that the words ‘intent to defraud” are not synonymous with the words “intent to deceive” and require some action resulting in some disadvantage which but for the deception, the person deceived would have avoided.


[1] I.L.R.. 46 Bom. 317

[2] I.L.R. [1949] 2 Cal. 440

[3] 1966 AIR 523, 1966 SCR (1) 493