Conviction cannot be merely based on the evidence of handwriting expert

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handwriting expert

In the era of increased in the number of case law, various fall under the category of expert evidence. Expert Evidence assists the Court when the case involves a matter which requires technical or special knowledge and the experts are treated as a witness in the court of law. A handwriting expert can determine who wrote the particular word or any signature. All these started from the case, where the appeal has been made challenging the dismissal of the revision petition of the appellant whose conviction done under section 467 and section 468 of the IPC and the sentence of 4year imprisonment imposed on him.

Facts

The appellant named Padum Kumar was working as a postman in Indira Nagar Post office, Lucknow. On 09.04.1992, Dr. M.L Varshney (PW-3) has sent a registered envelope No. 0095 to the Complainant Dr. K.B. Varshney (PW-1). The envelope contained four Indira Vikas Patra valued 5000/- each, totaling 20000/- and it does not reach to Dr. K.B. Varshney. On 27.04.1992, PW-1 enquired on Indira Nagar Post office and made a complaint to the senior superintendent in the department of Post about non-receiving of the registered envelope. The department has provided the information that a person named “Mohan” has received the said registry on 13.04.1992. Then, PW-1 along with his son Devesh Mohan (PW-2) went to the Indira Nagar Post office and saw the signature “D.Mohan” on the delivery slip. The PW-2 has denied that the signature belongs to him and a case was registered under Section 420, 467,468 of the IPC at P.S. Ghazipur, Lucknow. 

The investigating officer had sent the disputed signature in the delivery slip along with the Devesh Mohan to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Lucknow. As per the report of the Laboratory, both the signatures were further sent to the Handwriting Expert. After comparing both the signatures, the expert opined that the signature in the delivery slip and the Devesh Mohan are different and have not been made by the (PW-2).

The investigation revealed that the appellant has forged the signature on the delivery slip and charge-sheet has been filed against him under IPC section 420, 467,468.

Key Features:

  • To prove the charges, two more handwriting expert has been appointed to check both the signatures. 
  • On the opinion of the majority of experts, they find that the signatures on the delivery slip and Devesh Mohan are different.
  • Padum, being a postman did the work of delivery and have a delivery slip with him.
  • He frequently used to visit the house of the Complainant regarding the delivery of letters and envelope so well acquainted with the signature of Devesh Mohan.
  • The appellant was the person who delivered the envelope and he has to explain who signed the disputed signature and in the absence of the same, the presumption is to be raised against him.

Order:

It is not safe to base the conviction solely on the evidence of the handwriting expert opinion without any substantial corroboration. It is fairly well settled that the court must see either direct or circumstantial evidence along with the handwriting expert opinion. As all the human judgment is fallible and an expert may go wrong because of some defect in his observation or some honest mistake for his conclusion. The development of science on the identification of handwriting is not as perfect as more developed and perfect in science lessens the chances of imperfection and mistakes. Expert opinion is raised from Section 45 of the Evidence Act and there is no hard and fast rule to justify the opinion of the expert by the court, it may be rejected on the ground of non-corroboration with direct and circumstantial evidence.

Conclusion:

In the view to solve the case in a shorter period, there is a need for the development of science perfectly so that the forensic evidence is also corroborated as direct evidence in the court of law. As the number of cases increases, acceptance of forensic evidence will bring huge change while rendering accurate and secured justice to the public at large. 

Edited by Vartika Gajendra Singh

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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