17 November 2004
Supreme Court


Case number: Crl.A. No.-000185-000185 / 2004
Diary number: 14782 / 2003
Advocates: K. RAJEEV Vs



CASE NO.: Appeal (crl.)  185 of 2004


RESPONDENT: State of Tamil Nadu

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 17/11/2004




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 \026  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 PW 12.

       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 PW 18.  

       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 respectively.

       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 above.

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 appellants.  

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 very relevant.  

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 \026 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 means.

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 witness. 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 upon it.  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 follows:   "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 notes.

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 enacted.  

The appeals are dismissed.