The general principle is that if a cognizable offence has taken place (and forgery is a cognizable offence!) any person can get an FIR registered.
This should hold true for forgery and filing of forged documents in court too, right? Well, the answer is Yes. But this issue wasn’t settled for a very long time.
The confusion sprang from the language of Section 195 CrPC which says, that in certain cases of offences having been committed w.r.t documents in Court, an FIR can’t be registered directly, and the court where the (allegedly) forged documents have been used has to file a complaint (after doing an enquiry u/s 340 CrPC).
This was clarified in Iqbal Singh Marwah’s case (citation below), where the SC said that, only and only if a forgery takes place w.r.t a document already filed in and in custody of the Court that the mischief of S.195 CrPC is attracted.
In all other cases, for instance, where a document is forged outside of Court and then merely used in Court subsequently, the bar of S.195 CrPC doesn’t apply and a direct FIR can be registered.
This position is more or less settled now.
- Iqbal Singh Marwah v. Meenakshi Marwah (2005) 4 SCC 370
- Bandekar Brothers v. State, 2020 SCC Online SC 707
- Section 195 CrPC
- Sections 191 to 195 IPC.
PS: For a very interesting (and nuanced!) exception to this principle see : Bandekar Brothers v. State, 2020 SCC Online SC 707 (where the SC says – that in certain cases of perjury/fabrication of evidence [where the predominant offence is perjury and not just forgery]– the bar of S.195 CrPC may still apply!)
From the desk of Bharat Chugh