Question: The genuineness of a signature on a document was a dispute. Parties produced evidence on the point but did not examine handwriting experts. The trial judge himself compared the disputed signature with the admitted signature of the alleged executants. He held that the disputed signature was a forgery. In the appeal, this finding was assailed. Decide and… Read More »

Question: The genuineness of a signature on a document was a dispute. Parties produced evidence on the point but did not examine handwriting experts. The trial judge himself compared the disputed signature with the admitted signature of the alleged executants. He held that the disputed signature was a forgery. In the appeal, this finding was assailed. Decide and give reasons. [D.J.S. 1990] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [The genuineness of a signature on a...

Question: The genuineness of a signature on a document was a dispute. Parties produced evidence on the point but did not examine handwriting experts. The trial judge himself compared the disputed signature with the admitted signature of the alleged executants. He held that the disputed signature was a forgery. In the appeal, this finding was assailed. Decide and give reasons. [D.J.S. 1990]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [The genuineness of a signature on a document was a dispute. Parties produced evidence on the point but did not examine handwriting experts. The trial judge himself compared the disputed signature with the admitted signature of the alleged executants. He held that the disputed signature was a forgery. In the appeal, this finding was assailed. Decide and give reasons. [D.J.S. 1990]]

Answer

The comparison may be made either by witnesses acquainted with the handwriting or by the court itself or by an expert under section 73 of the Indian Evidence Act.

In Ajit Savant Majagavi v. State of Karnataka, [AIR 1997 SC 3235] the Supreme Court made the following observation:

“Section 73 does not specify by whom the comparison shall be made. However looking to other provisions of the Act, it is clear that comparison may either be made by a handwriting expert, under Section 45 or by anyone who is familiar with the handwriting of the person concerned as provided by Section 47 of Evidence Act or by the court itself.

As a matter of extreme caution and judicial sobriety the court should not normally take itself the responsibility of comparing the disputed signature with that of admitted signature or handwriting and in the event of the slightest doubt, leave the matter to the wisdom of an expert. But this does not mean that the court has not the power to compare the disputed signature as this power is already available to the court under Section 73.

In Ashok Kumar Uttam Chand Shah v. P.M.A. Chanchad [AIR 1999 Guj. 108] Gujarat High Court said:

“Under section 73 of Evidence Act, the Court is entitled to compare the disputed signature and handwriting. For coming to conclusion both the rule of prudence and caution requires that in the first place expert opinion should be obtained for assistance and if such opinion is not available then the Judge presiding over the court must disclose in the judgment his knowledge in the subject of the comparison of handwriting or should mention that he has taken aid from some authoritative textbook.

The court should also mention whether the result of its comparison finds support from the evidence adduced by the parties may be in the shape of oral evidence or documentary evidence or direct evidence. Mere statement in judgment that on comparison the disputed and admitted signatures are found to be of the same person are not enough and it cannot be said to be sound finding based on cogent and scientific reason and data.”

In D. Pandi v. Dhanalakshmi Bank Ltd., [AIR 2001 Mad. 243] it was held that though the Court would not normally compare the signature yet it is competent to do so. However, if the Court has any doubt it is incumbent on it to leave the matter for the opinion of an expert.

In order to prove the identity of handwriting, any mode not forbidden by law can be resorted to. Two modes are indicated by law in Section 45 and Section 47 of the Act. Section 45 permits expert opinion to be regarded as relevant. Section 47 permits the opinion of any person acquainted with such handwriting to be regarded as relevant evidence.

Comparison with disputed writing with admitted or proved writing who can make the comparison. It is the function of a hand-writing expert. It is, no doubt, open to a court to express its opinion about writing by comparison but it would not be safe to base a conclusion entirely on such a comparison. But the court can compare the writings in order to appreciate properly the other evidence produced in that regard.

In the present case at hand, the trial judge himself compared the disputed signature with the admitted signature of the alleged executants and held that the disputed signature was a forgery. It is not safe to base a conclusion entirely on the basis of a comparison made by the court.

The court is though more than competent to compare the writing for appreciation of evidence for that matter. It is not to say the Court must play the role of an expert but the Court may accept the fact proved only when it has satisfied itself on its own observation that it is safe to accept the opinion, whether of the expert or other witness. So, the decision of the trial judge needs reconsideration in the present case subject to the opinion of an expert or any person acquainted with the handwriting or signature on the document.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-10-01T07:38:58+05:30
Admin LB

Admin LB

Next Story