Forgery is defined under Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code, Whosoever makes any fake document or incorrect electronic record or part of a document with an intention to cause damage or injury, to the public or to any person, or to support any claim or title, or to cause any person to share with property, or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with a purpose to commit fraud or that fraud may be accomplished, commits forgery.

Forgery hence can be described as a means to achieve an end the end is an instance of action or scheme fabricated to mislead someone into believing a lie or inaccuracy.


Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, of 1872 defines a document as, “Document” means any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks, or by more than one of those means, intended to be used, or which may be used, for the purpose of recording that matter.”


According to Section 463 of IPC, A person is declared to make a false document when;

  • Who dishonestly or fraudulently makes signs, seal, or performs a document or part of a document makes any mark indicating the execution of a document, with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document or part of a document was made signed sealed, or executed by the authority of a person by whom authority was not made, signed at a time at which he knows that it was not made sealed or executed; or


A picks up a cheque on a banker signed by Himanshu, payable to the bearer but without any sum having been inserted in the cheque. A fraudulently fills up the cheque by inserting the sum of ten thousand rupees. A commits forgery.

  • Whoever dishonestly or fraudulently causes any person to seal, sign, execute or reconstruct a document knowing that such person by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication cannot by reason of deceit practiced upon him, he does not know the content of the document or the nature of the alteration,
  • Who without legal authority dishonestly or fraudulently by withdrawing or contrarily reconstructs a document in any material part thereof after it has been made himself or by any person whether such person is alive or dead at the time of such alteration.

Forgery Law in India

Section 465 of the Indian Penal Code deals with the penalty for forgery in India. As per this Section, the offence is punishable by a jail cycle elongating up to 2 years or a fine or both. It is a non-cognizable, bailable offence in India that is triable by a Magistrate of the first class. Nevertheless, this is not a compoundable offence

Section 463 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever misuses any paper format, computer records, important documents, identity cards or etc publicly or personally or infringes any contract shall be punishable for 2 years.

It is applicable to all the citizens of India irrespective of the place or territory. The word “offence” covers every act committed outside India which, if committed in India, would be guilty under this Code.



Person X who is a citizen of India commits a murder in Uganda. He can be tried and convicted of murder in any place in India in any situation in which he may be found for further reference do refer to the case S. L. Goswami vs High Court Of Madhya Pradesh.

Section 464 states how the forgery of the documents occurs. Under section 464 IPC. It makes it explicit that only the one who makes a false document can be held liable under the aforesaid provision. It must be made clear in mind that, where there exists no doubtfulness, there lies no scope for understanding.

Punishment for Forgery

Section 465 of the Indian Penal Code describes Punishment for forgery. According to this section, Whoever commits forgery shall be punished with imprisonment of jail term either description for a span which may extend to two years or with the penalty, or with both. Under IPC it is a non-cognizable offence. If the forgery is of a promissory note of the Central Government then it is Cognizable.

In the case of Ram Narain Poply v. Central Bureau of Investigation, the court stated that the term forgery as used in the statute is used in its ordinary and popular acceptance. In order to constitute forgery, the first essential is that the accused should have made a false document. The false document must be made with an intention to cause harm or injury to the public or to any class of society or to any community.

For the purpose of the subject of identification and comparison of signature and writing, forgery may be classified as

  1. A copied forgery: In this variety of forgeries, the forger chooses a model signature or writing and tries to replicate the design of letters and other broad features depending upon his ability, practice, and competency. Such an attempt in most cases ends in a crude forgery, however, in some cases, the forger is competent enough to make a simulation that at first sight may appear to be accurate and may be passed as real by those who compare only the general outline of letters and gives little attention to the line quality and other minute details. 
  2. Traced forgery: This means reproducing the exact copy of the original signature. Traced forgery is accomplished by using carbon paper, indented tracing, tracing paper, transmitted light, or scanned images.
  3. Forgery by memory: It belongs to the signature or writing prepared of the material by the mental impressions of forms and letters of signatures or writings of the actual writer without examining any model or writing at the time of forgery.
  4. Forgery by impersonation: When a person nearly writes or signs the name of another person in his own handwriting in a normal manner rather than expressing himself to be that person with some motive involved.

Aggravated Forms of Forgery

The aggravated forms of forgery are:

A. Forgery of a Record of Court or Public Register

Whoever forges a document or an electronic record, purporting to be a record or proceeding of or in a Court of Justice, or a register of birth, baptism, marriage or burial, or a register kept by a public servant as such, or a certificate or document purporting to be made by a public servant in his official capacity, or an authority to institute or defend a suit, or to take any proceedings therein, or to confess judgment, or a power of attorney, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Section 466 deals with the forgery of the below documents

  1. Court records and pleadings;
  2. Register of birth, death, rebirth, marriage or register maintained by a public servant as such;
  3. Certificate or document purporting to be performed by a public servant in his official capacity; or
  4. An authority to replace or defend a suit, or to take any proceedings therein, or to confer judgment; or
  5. A Power of attorney.

B. Forgery of a Valuable Security or Will, etc

The words ‘valuable security symbolized a document which is, or indicates to be, a document whereby any legal right is formed, extended, transferred, restricted, extinguished or released, or whereby any person recognizes that he lies under legal liability or has not authorized for certain legal rights.

Section 467 of IPC deals with forgery relating to Valuable Security or will. 

Whoever forges a document which implies to be a valuable security or a will, or an authority to adopt a son, or which implies to give authority to any person to make or transfer any valuable security or to receive the principal, interest or dividends thereon or to receive or transfer any money, movable property, or valuable security to be an acquittance or receipt authenticating the payment of money, or an acquittance or receipt for the shipment of any movable property or valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to a penalty.

C. Forgery for Purpose of Cheating

Forgery which is an offence under the IPC 1860 is defined under Section 463. This section refers to a specific case of forgery in which the document is made subsidiary to cheating which is the main purpose of the offender. The main distinction between cheating and forgery is that in cheating the deception is oral on the other hand in forgery it is in writing.

Section 468 applies only to the case where forgery is for the purpose of cheating. It has been described as involving the proximity of one or other of the two elements of dishonesty or fraud.

Forgery is thus a means to an end, that end being the wrongful possession or retention of property. This must be the intention of the forger, thoughts are not necessary for the cheating motive which makes him the abettor of the cheat.

D. Forgery for Purpose of Harming Reputation

Whoever commits forgery, expecting that the document or electronic record forged shall injure the reputation of any party, or knowing that it is likely to be practiced for that purpose, shall be penalized with imprisonment of either description for a term which may continue to three years and shall also be liable to fine

E. Using a Forged Document as Genuine

According to Section 471 of IPC using a forged document as genuine is a cognizable offence. It states that whoever fraudulently or dishonestly accepts as the genuine document which he knows or has ground to believe to be a forged document, shall be punished in the corresponding manner as if he had forged such document.




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