Hashim Vs. State of Tamil Nadu
 Insc 691 (17 November 2004)
ARIJIT PASAYAT & C.K. THAKKER WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 187 OF 2004 ARIJIT PASAYAT, J Strange though it may appear
increasingly our country is becoming notorious for spiraling number of cases
involving counterfeiting of currency notes, both of our country and foreign
countries and stamp papers. It is becoming increasingly difficult for a lay man
to be sure whether what he is receiving as a currency note is genuine or a
counterfeited one. Similar is the position regarding stamp papers.
In these appeals the basic allegations against accused appellants were
counterfeiting of US currency of 20 dollars denominations. Originally, there
were 7 accused persons. The accused persons are described as A-1, A-2 and so on
in terms of their position during trial. One Rajan Chettiar died during trial.
Two of the accused persons turned approvers. Out of the rest four, 2 are the
appellants in these appeals and they are A-2 and A-3. All the four accused filed
appeals before the High Court. They were each sentenced to RI for 7 years with
a fine of Rs.5,000/- with default stipulation of two years RI. They were
separately convicted under Section 489C. Both the sentences were directed to
run concurrently. But the custodial sentence imposed was different. For A-1, it
was 5 years; for A-2 it was 7 years, for A-3 it was 5 years and for A-4 it was
7 years. The High Court by the impugned judgment upheld their conviction for
offences punishable under Section 120B read with Section 489A, 489C and 489D of
the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the 'IPC').
The prosecution accusations as unfolded during trial are as follows:
On receiving secret information, the Investigating Officer (PW- 19)
conducted a raid at the house of Rajan Chettiar at No. 6, Palaiamman Koil
Street, Villivakkam, Chennai between 1.30 PM and 3.30 PM on 3.8.1982. During his search, he recovered eight bundles of counterfeit US dollars of 20
denomination (MOs 4 to 11) under mahazar (Ext. P1) in the presence of one
Thiruvengadam (PW 3).
Immediately, a complaint was lodged which was registered as FIR (Ex.P-28) in
Crime No. 32 of 1982 on the file of Inspector of Police, CBCID, Madras-4. Based
on the information furnished by Rajan Chettiar, PW-19 proceeded to Golden Cafi
Lodge at Poonamallee High Court, Chennai and reached the Lodge at 4.30 P.M. on
3.8.1982, conducted a search at Room No. 72 in the presence of one P.S. Kumar
(PW.4), the Manager of Golden Cafi Lodge and arrested A-1 and A-4 and recovered
three bundles of counterfeit US dollars of 20 denomination (MO 14) under
mahazar (Ex.P2) in the presence of PW-4.
On the basis of the confessional statement obtained from the A-1 (Ex.P-29),
PW-19 proceeded to Canara Timber Corporation, No. 176, Sydenhams Road, Periamet,
Chennai, a shop owned by Ravindran (PW 1) and recovered five bundles of
counterfeit US dollars of 20 denomination (MO 1 series) from PW1, under Mahazar
(Ex P30) in the presence of Thirumal and Jain.
From Canara Timber Corporation, PW-19 proceeded to Iyyappa Lodge at Hunters
Road, Vepery, Chennai, and reached there at 6.30 P.M. where he recovered six
bundles of counterfeit US dollars of 20 denomination from the A-2 under Ex P-31
and arrested him.
Then PW-10 proceeded to Vasantham Press at No. 96, Portuguese Church Street,
Chennai, owned by A-3 and since it was late night on 3.8.1982, he could not
conduct any search in the said Press and therefore, he arrested A-3 and sealed
the premises of Vasantham Press.
On 4.8.1982, based on the confession of the A-1, PW-19 proceeded to RJVA
Press at No.27, Balakrishna Mudali Street, Vyasarapadi, Chennai, owned by one
Anjana Devi, conducted a search and recovered printing inks in green, yellow,
light green and light yellow colours and printing blocks (MOs 35 to 42) under
mahazar (Ext. P33) in the presence of Anjana Devi, whose signature in the
Mahazar (Ex.P33) was identified by PW-6, the husband of Anjana Devi.
Rajan Chettair was arrested at 3.30 P.M. on 3.8.1992 at No.6, Palaimman Koil
Street, Villivakkam, Chennai, the A-1 and A-4 were arrested at 4.30 P.M. at
Room No. 72, Golden Cafi Lodge, Poonamallee High Road, Chennai, Ravindran (PW1)
was arrested at Canara Timber Corporation, No. 176, Sydenhams Road, Periamet,
Chennair, owned by him at 6.00 P.M. on 3.8.1982, A-2 was arrested at Room No.
13, Iyyappa Lodge, Hunters Road, Veperi, Chennai, owned by PW 7 at 6.30 P.M. on
3.8.1982 and the third accused was arrested at Vasantham Press, No. 96,
Portuguese Church Street, Chennai at late night on 3.8.1982.
Rajan Chettiar, A-1 and A-4 PW.1, A-2, PW2 and A-3 were produced before the
Magistrate on 4.8.1982 and remanded to judicial custody till 10.8.1982.
On 11.8.1982, PW-19 examined Chinnaiah (PW8) an artist and collected further
materials, based on which PW 19 conducted another search at Vasantham Press at
No. 96, Portuguese Church Street, Chennai on 12.8.1982 at about 1.20 PM and
recovered printing inks (MOs 23 to 24) under mahazar (Ex.P7) in the presence of
During investigation, PW 19 conducted a search at about 4.00 PM on 17.8.1982
in the house of A-2 at No. 23A, Bhawani Nagar, Red Hills, Chennai and recovered
printing blocks etc. (MOs 43 to 54) under mahazar (Ext. P 34) in the presence
of one Reddy and K.K. Arumugam.
At about 6.30 P.M. on the same day (17.8.1982), PW-19 conducted another
search in the house of Rajan Chettiar at Villivakkam, Chennai and recovered
spectacle pouch and certain incriminating receipts in the pouch (Mos 55 and 56
respectively) under mahazar (Ex.P35) in the presence of M.A. Kadar and Reddy.
On 20.8.1982 the confessional statements of PWs 1 and 2 (Exs. P- 20 and P-23
respectively) under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in
short the 'Code') were recorded by PW-17 based on which, PWs 1 and 2 were
pardoned, by an order dated 5.10.1983 passed under Section 306 of the Code by
Accordingly, FIR in Crime No. 32 of 1982 was filed against seven accused
initially, namely the accused/appellants herein, Rajan Chettiar, Ravindran
(PW-1) and Rajendra Menon (PW-2) but since Rajan Chettiar died even before the
framing of charges, the complaint against him stood abated and Ravindran (PW-1)
and Rajedara Menon (PW-2) were treated as approvers, as per Exs. P27 and P26
Based on the evidence recorded and collected by the Investigating Officer,
(PW-19)charge sheet was filed.
Accused persons faced trial. During trial prosecution examined 19 witnesses
including two approvers (PWs 1 and 2) and investigating officer (PW-19). Thirty
five documents were marked as exhibits and 56 material objects were produced.
The accused persons pleaded innocence and false implication. The trial Court
after considering the evidence on record found the accusations to have been
established and accordingly recorded conviction and imposed sentences as noted
Four appeals were filed before the High Court which did not yield any
fruitful result to the appellants and the appeals were dismissed by the common
judgment impugned in the present appeals.
The learned counsel for the appellants questioned correctness of the
judgment of the High Court on several grounds. Primarily the challenge was to
the reliance placed on the evidence of PWs 1 and 2, the approvers and PW-19,
the investigating officer. It was submitted that for acting on the approvers'
evidence corroboration on material particulars was necessary. It was further
submitted that there was no recovery in fact or in law. In any event, the
evidence relating to alleged recovery from A-2 is scanty and should not have
been acted upon. The evidence of the approvers (PWs 1 and 2) show that they do
not corroborate each other. In order to bring in application of Section 120B,
it was submitted that, there should have been evidence of the conspiracy. There
is no independent witness. Whatever PWs 1 and 2 said related to a period prior
to the alleged commission of offence and PW- 19's evidence relates to the
subsequent period. There was ample chance of tutoring PWs 1 and 2. No reason
has been assigned as to why Anjana Devi from whose business premises allegedly
some recoveries were made was not examined or even made an accused. It is also
not indicated as to why PW-8 was not implicated as an accused. The evidence
relating to recovery is also highly improbable. Even though, there was no claim
made that the alleged articles were genuine, it was incumbent on the
prosecution to prove that they were counterfeits. The reliance placed on
expert's evidence (PW-16) is also without legal sanction because the expert was
not examined to show that he had any expertise to say anything about the
articles being counterfeited. Only one person was examined to prove the reports
and he was not the author of the report and, therefore, his evidence was really
of no assistance to the prosecution. The effect of Explanation 2 of Section 28
IPC has not been considered in the proper perspective. Even if it is accepted
that an expert's evidence has to be considered the expertise of the expert
witness has been clearly provided and in the case at hand, prosecution has
failed to establish the expertise of the witnesses and the contents of the
report. Though reference has to be made to the role played by one Gaja, he has
not been examined. PW-14 has given the chemical analysts report. The ink which
was allegedly used for the purpose of counterfeiting was not seized from the
In response, learned counsel for the State submitted that Explanation 2 of
Section 28 is very relevant. When the possession is of an article which is
likely to be used in any part of the process of counterfeiting is proved the
case is covered by Section 489A. As it was difficult for an independent expert
to say whether the foreign currency was counterfeited, therefore, some of the
seized articles were sent to a foreign expert and it would have been practically
very costly for the expert to come and depose. The effect of Section 293 of the
Code has been kept in view by the trial Court while accepting the report as
evidence. The charge against the accused persons was one of conspiracy and,
therefore, in the background of what has been stated in Section 10 of the
Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (in short the 'Evidence Act') the evidence of PW-1 is
Both the approvers have spoken about the presence of A-2 during every
transaction. He is not an innocent by-stander as was tried to be contended. A
stand was taken that there was no period indicated.
Though in the examination-in-chief nothing was stated about the period but
in the cross examination by A-2 this matter was brought on record.
The confession recorded by PW-19 amply proves the accusations. Though much
was made of the fact that some of the seized notes were not produced in Court,
prosecution has explained this by bringing on record the fact that some of the
seized notes were sent for the expert's view.
There were two reports, one of the persons who had given the report was not
available. But the authenticity of the report has been established by the other
expert who was acquainted with the signature.
It would be appropriate to deal with the question of conspiracy.
Section 120-B IPC is the provision which provides for punishment for
criminal conspiracy. Definition of "criminal conspiracy" given in
Section 120-A reads as follows :
"120-A When two or more persons agree to do, or cause to be done, - (1)
an illegal act, or (2) an act which is not illegal means, such an agreement is
designated a criminal conspiracy.
Provided that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offence shall
amount to a criminal conspiracy unless some act besides the agreement is done
by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof." The
elements of a criminal conspiracy have been stated to be (a) an object to be
accomplished, (b) a plan or scheme embodying means to accomplish the object,
(c) an agreement or understanding between two or more of the accused persons
whereby, they become definitely committed to cooperate for the accomplishment
of the object by the means embodied in the agreement, or by any effectual
means, and (d) in the jurisdiction where the statute required an overt act. The
essence of a criminal conspiracy is the unlawful combination and ordinarily the
offence is complete when the combination is framed. From this, it necessarily
follows that unless the statute so requires, no overt act need be done in
furtherance of the conspiracy, and that the object of the combination need not
be accomplished, in order to constitute an indictable offence. Encouragement
and support which co-conspirators give to one another rendering enterprises
possible which, if left to individual effort, would have been impossible,
furnish the ground for visiting conspirators and abettors with condign
punishment. The conspiracy is held to be continued and renewed as to all its
members wherever and whenever any member of the conspiracy acts in furtherance
of the common design. (See: American Jurisprudence, Vol.II, Sec. 23, p.559.)
For an offence punishable under Section 120-B the prosecution need not
necessarily prove that the perpetrators expressly agree to do or cause to be done
illegal act; the agreement may be proved by necessary implication. Offence of
criminal conspiracy consists not merely in the intention of two or more, but in
the agreement of two or more to do an unlawful act by unlawful means. So long
as such a design rests in intention only, it is not indictable. When two agree
to carry it into effect, the very plot is an act in itself, and an act of each
of the parties, promise against promise, actus contra capable of being
enforced, if lawful, punishable if for a criminal object or for use of criminal
In view of what has been stated in Ram Narayan Popli's v. CBI ( 2003 (3) SCC
641) the evidence of PWs 1 and 8 which also relates to the earlier period is
clearly covered because of the conspiracy angle and the applicability of
Section 10 of the Evidence Act.
Section 133 of the Evidence Act is also of significance. It relates to the
evidence of an accomplice. In positive terms it provides that the conviction
based on the evidence of an accomplice is not illegal merely because it
proceeds upon the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice, because the
accomplice is a competent witness.
In Bhubon Sahu v. The King (AIR 1949 PC 257) it was observed that the rule
requiring corroboration for acting upon the evidence of an accomplice is a rule
of prudence. But the rule of prudence assumes great significance when its
reliability on the touchstone of credibility is examined. If it is found
credible and cogent, the Court can record a conviction even on the
uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice. On the subject of the credibility of
the testimony of an accomplice, the proposition that an accomplice must be
corroborated does not mean that there must be cumulative or independent
testimony to the same facts to which he has testified. At the same time the
presumption available under Section 114 of the Evidence Act is of significance.
It says that the Court may presume that an accomplice is unworthy of credit
unless he is corroborated in "material particulars".
Section 133 of the Evidence Act expressly provides that an accomplice is a
competent witness and the conviction is not illegal merely because it proceeds
on an uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice. In other words, this section
renders admissible such uncorroborated testimony. But this Section has to be
read along with Section 114, illustration (b). The latter section empowers the
Court to presume the existence of certain facts and the illustration elucidates
what the Court may presume and makes clear by means of examples as to what
facts the Court shall have regard in considering whether or not maxims
illustrated apply to a given case. Illustration (b) in express terms says that
accomplice is unworthy of credit unless he is corroborated in material
particulars. The Statute permits the conviction of an accused on the basis of
uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice but the rule of prudence embodied in
illustration (b) to Section 114 of the Evidence Act strikes a note of warning
cautioning the Court that an accomplice does not generally deserve to be
believed unless corroborated in material particulars. In other words, the rule
is that the necessity of corroboration is a matter of prudence except when it
is safe to dispense with such corroboration must be clearly present in the mind
of the Judge. [See Suresh Chandra Bahri v. State of Bihar (AIR 1994 SC 2420)].
Although Section 114 illustration (b) provides that the Court may presume
that the evidence of an accomplice is unworthy of credit unless corroborated,
"may" is not must and no decision of Court can make it must. The
Court is not obliged to hold that he is unworthy of credit.
It ultimately depends upon the Court's view as to the credibility of
evidence tendered by an accomplice.
In Rex v. Baskerville (1916 (2) KB 658), it was observed that the
corroboration need not be direct evidence that the accused committed the crime;
it is sufficient if there is merely a circumstantial evidence of his connection
with a crime.
G.S. Bakshi v. State (Delhi Administration) (AIR 1979 SC 569) was dealing
with a converse case that if the evidence of an accomplice is inherently
improbable then it cannot get strength from corroboration.
Taylor, in his treatise has observed that "accomplice who are usually
interested and always infamous witnesses, and whose testimony is admitted from
necessity, it being often impossible, without having recourse to such evidence,
to bring the principal offenders to justice". ( Taylor in "A Treatise
on the Law of Evidence"(1931) Vol. 1 para 967).
The evidence of the Approver must , however, be shown to be of a reliable
In Jnanendra Nath Ghose v. State of West Bengal (1960) 1 SCR 126:
(AIR 1959 SC 1199 : 1959 Cri LJ 1492) this Court observed that there should
be corroboration in material particulars of the Approver's statement, as he is
considered as a self-confessed traitor. This Court in Bhiva Doulu Patil v.
State of Maharashtra, AIR 1963 SC 599 : (1963 (1) Cri LJ 489) held that the
combined effect of Sections 133 and 114 illustration (b)of the Evidence Act was
that an accomplice is competent to give evidence but it would be unsafe to
convict the accused upon his testimony alone. Though the conviction of an
accused on the testimony of an accomplice cannot be said to be illegal, yet the
Courts will, as a matter of practice, not accept the evidence of such a witness
without corroboration in material particulars. In this regard the Court in
Bhiva Doulu Patil's case (AIR 1963 SC 599 : 1963 (1) Cri LJ 489) observed
(Paras 6 and 7):
"In coming to the above conclusion we have not unmindful of the
provisions of S. 133 of the Evidence Act which reads:
Sec. 133."An accomplice shall be a competent witness against an accused
person; and a conviction is not illegal merely because it proceeds upon the
uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice." It cannot be doubted that
under that section a conviction based merely on the uncorroborated testimony of
an accomplice may not be illegal, the Courts nevertheless cannot lose sight of
the rule of prudence and practice which in the words of Martin B. in R. v.
Boyes, (1861) 9 Cox CC 32 "has become so hallowed as to be deserving of
respect and the words of Lord Abinger "It deserves to have all the
reverence of the law:." This rule of guidance is to be found in
illustration (b) to S. 114 of the Evidence Act which is as follows:
"The Court may presume that an accomplice is unworthy of credit unless
he is corroborated in material particulars." The word 'corroboration'
means not mere evidence tending to confirm other evidence. In DPP v. Hester(
1972) 3 All ER 1056, Lord Morris said :
"The purpose of corroboration is not to give validity or credence to
evidence which is deficient or suspect or incredible but only to confirm and
support that which as evidence is sufficient and satisfactory and credible; and
corroborative evidence will only fill its role if it itself is completely
credible ......" In D.P.P. v. Kilbourne (1973) 1 All ER 440, it was
observed thus :
"There is nothing technical in the idea of corroboration. When in the
ordinary affairs of life one is doubtful whether or not to believe a particular
statement one naturally looks to see whether it fits in with other statements
or circumstances relating to the particular matter; the better it fits in the
more one is inclined to believe it. The doubted statement is corroborated to a
greater or lesser extent by the other statements or circumstances with which it
fits in." In R. V. Baskerville( supra), which is a leading case on this
aspect, Lord Reading said :
"There is no doubt that the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice is
admissible in law ..... But it has long been a rule of practice at common law
for the judge to warn the jury of the danger of convicting a prisoner on the
uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice or accomplices, and, in the
discretion of the judge, to advise them not to convict upon such evidence; but
the judge should point out to the jury that it is within their legal province
to convict upon such unconfirmed evidence ...... This rule of practice has
become virtually equivalent to a rule of law, and since the Court of Criminal
Appeal Act, 1907, came into operation this Court has held that, in the absence
of such a warning by the judge, the conviction must be quashed ......
If after the proper caution by the judge the jury nevertheless convicts the
prisoner, this Court will not quash the conviction merely upon the ground that
the testimony of the accomplice was uncorroborated." In Rameshwar v. State
of Rajasthan ( AIR 1952 SC 54), Bose, J., after referring to the rule laid down
in Baskerville case with regard to the admissibility of the uncorroborated
testimony of an accomplice, held thus :
"That, in my opinion, is exactly the law in India so far as accomplices
are concerned and it is certainly not any higher in the case of sexual
offences. The only clarification necessary for purposes of this country is
where this class of offence is sometimes tried by a judge without the aid of a
jury. In these cases it is necessary that the judge should give some indication
in his judgment that he has had this rule of caution in mind and should proceed
to give reasons for considering it unnecessary to require corroboration on the
facts of the particular case before him and show why he considers it safe to
convict without corroboration in that particular case." Justice Bose in
the same judgment further observed thus :
"I turn next to the nature and extent of the corroboration required
when it is not considered safe to dispense with it. Here, again, the rules are
lucidly expounded by Lord Reading in Baskerville case at pages 664 to 669. It
would be impossible, indeed it would be dangerous, to formulate the kind of
evidence which should, or would, be regarded as corroboration. Its nature and
extent must necessarily vary with circumstances of each case and also according
to the particular the offence charged. But to this extent the rules are clear.
First, it is not necessary that there should be independent confirmation of
every material circumstance in the sense that the independent evidence in the
case, apart from the testimony of the complainant or the accomplice, should in
itself be sufficient to sustain conviction. As Lord Readings says - 'Indeed, if
it were required that the accomplice should be confirmed in every detail of the
crime, his evidence would not be essential to the case, it would be merely
confirmatory of other and independent testimony.' All that is required is that
there must be some additional evidence rendering it probable that the story of
the accomplice (or complainant) is true and that it is reasonably safe to act
Secondly, the independent evidence must not only make it safe to believe
that the crime was committed but must in some way reasonably connect or tend to
connect the accused with it by confirming in some material particular the
testimony of the accomplice or complainant that the accused committed the
crime. This does not meant that the corroboration as to identify must extend to
all the circumstances necessary to identify the accused with the offence.
Again, all that is necessary is that there would be independent evidence which
will make it reasonably safe to believe the witness's story that the accused
was the one, or among those, who committed the offence. The reason for this part
of the rule is that - "a man who has been guilty of a crime himself will
always be able to relate the facts of the case, and if the confirmation be only
on the truth of that history, without identifying the persons, that is really
no corroboration at all ...... It would not at all tend to show that the party
accused participated in it." Thirdly, the corroboration must come from
independent sources and thus ordinarily the testimony of one accomplice would
not be sufficient to corroborate that of another. But of course the
circumstances may be such as to make it safe to dispense with the necessity of
corroboration and in those special circumstances a conviction so based would
not be illegal. I say this because it was contended that the mother in this
case was not an independent source.
Fourthly, the corroboration need not be direct evidence that the accused
committed the crime. It is sufficient if it is merely circumstantial evidence
of his connection with the crime. Were it otherwise, "many crimes which are
usually committed between accomplices in secret, such as incest, offences with
females' (or unnatural offences) 'could never be brought to justice". [See
M.O. Shamsudhin v.
State of Kerala (1995 (3) SCC 351)] Judged on the background of the legal
position as stated above the evidence of PWs 1 and 2 does not suffer from any
infirmity to warrant rejection for their evidence is not really uncorroborated
as is submitted by learned counsel for the appellants. The evidence of PWs 8
and 19 clearly provides the materials. As noted above, even circumstantial
evidence can provide the corroboration. In the instant case, the evidence of
PWs 1 and 2 therefore clearly meets the requirements of Section 114 (b) in the
background of Section 133 of the Evidence Act.
Further question that was raised is whether the essential ingredients of
Section 489A, C and D are satisfied. The said provisions read as follows:
"489A- Counterfeiting currency notes or bank notes:
Whoever counterfeits, or knowingly performs any part of the process of
counterfeiting, any currency note or bank note 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 fine.
Explanation: For the purposes of this section and of sections 489B, 489C,
489D and 489E the expression 'bank note' means a promissory note or engagement
for the payment of money to bearer on demand issued by any person carrying on
the business of banking in any of the world, or issued by or under the
authority of any State or Sovereign Power, and intended to be used as
equivalent to, or as a substitute for money.
489C- Possession of forged or counterfeit currency notes or bank notes-
Whoever has in his possession any forged or counterfeit currency note or bank
note, knowing or having reason to believe the same to be forged or counterfeit
and intending to use the same as genuine or that it may be used as genuine,
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend
to seven years or with fine or with both.
489D- Making or possessing instruments or materials for forging or
counterfeiting currency notes or bank notes- Whoever makes, or performs, any
part of the process of making, or buys or sells or disposes of, or has in his
possession any machinery, instrument or material for the purpose of being used,
or knowing or having reason to believe that it is intended to be used, for
forging or counterfeiting any currency note or bank note, 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 fine.
The expression 'counterfeit' is defined in Section 28 IPC. The same reads as
"28-Counterfeit: A person is said to 'counterfeit' who causes one thing
to resemble another thing, intended by means of that resemblance to practice
deception, or knowing it to be likely that deception will thereby be practiced.
Explanation 1: It is not essential to counterfeiting that the imitation
should be exact.
Explanation 2: When a person causes one thing to resemble another thing, and
the resemblance is that a person might be deceived thereby, it shall be
presumed until the contrary is proved, that the person so causing the one thing
to resemble the other thing intended by means of that resemblance to practice
deception or knew it to be likely that deception would thereby be
practiced." Sections 489 A to 489 E deal with various economic offences in
respect of forged or counterfeit currency notes or bank notes. The object of
legislature in enacting these provisions is not only to protect the economy of
the country but also to provide adequate protection to currency notes and bank
Section 489A not only deals with complete act of counterfeiting but also
covers the case where the accused performs any part of the process of
counterfeiting. Therefore, if the material shows that the accused knowingly
performed any part of the process of counterfeiting, Section 489A becomes applicable.
Similarly Section 489 B relates to using as genuine forged or counterfeited
currency notes or bank notes. The object of Legislature in enacting this
section is to stop the circulation of forged notes by punishing all persons who
knowing or having reason to believe the same to be forged do any act which
could lead to their circulation.
Section 489C deals with possession of forged or counterfeit currency notes
or bank notes. It makes possession of forged and counterfeited currency notes
or bank notes punishable. Possession and knowledge that the currency notes were
counterfeited notes are necessary ingredients to constitute offence under
Section 489 C and 489 D. As was observed by this Court in State of Kerala v.
Mathai Verghese and Ors. (AIR 1987 SC 33) the expression 'currency notes' is
large and wide enough in its amplitude to cover the currency notes of any
country. Section 489C is not restricted to Indian currency note alone but it
includes dollar also and it applies to American dollar bills.
The wording of Section 489D is very wide and would clearly cover a case
where a person is found in possession of machinery, instrument or materials for
the purpose of being used for counterfeiting currency notes, even though the
machinery, instruments or materials so found were not all the materials
particular required for the purpose of counterfeiting.
Section 28 defines the word 'counterfeiting' in very wide terms.
The main ingredients of counterfeiting as laid down in Section 28 are:
(1) causing one thing to resemble another thing;
(2) intending by means of that resemblance to practise deception, or (3)
knowing it to be likely that deception will thereby be practised.
Thus, if one thing is made to resemble another thing and the intention is
that by such resemblance deception would be practised or even if there is no
intention but it is known to be likely that the resemblance is such that
deception will thereby be practised there is counterfeiting. (See The State of Uttar
Pradesh v. I. Hafiz Mohd.
Ismail (AIR 1960 SC 669) In the said case it was observed that there is no
necessity of importing words like "colourable imitation" therein. In
order to apply Section 28 what the Court has to see is whether one thing is
made to resemble another thing and if that is so and if the resemblance is such
that a person might be deceived by it, there will be a presumption of the
necessary intention or knowledge to make the thing counterfeit, unless the
contrary is proved.
"Counterfeit" in Section 28 does not connote an exact reproduction
of the original counterfeited. The Explanation 2 of Section 28 is of great
significance. It lays down a rebuttable presumption where resemblance is such
that a person might be deceived thereby. In such a case the intention or the
knowledge is presumed unless contrary is proved.
In view of the credible, cogent and reliable evidence tendered, the
inevitable conclusion is that the appellants have been rightly convicted under
Section 120B read with Sections 489A, 489C and 489D, IPC and separately under
Section 489C of the Code. The sentences as imposed do not warrant interference,
particularly in view of the object for which these provisions have been
The appeals are dismissed.