Section 466 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!
A new explanation has been inserted by the Information Technology Act, 2000 in this section which states that for the purposes of this section the word “register” includes any list, data or record of any entries maintained in the “electronic form” as defined by section 2(1)(r) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 according to which the expression “electronic form” with reference to information means any information generated, sent, received or stored in media, magnetic, optical, computer memory, micro film, computer generated micro fiche or similar device.
A judge fabricating a record in a pending case is punishable under this section. Forging of a document purporting to be the register of marriages is punishable under this section even though the register is a private one and not kept by the public servant as such.
Where the name and age in an educational certificate are altered with a view to get employment which would have been withheld had the true name and age been stated, it would be an offence under this section. Persuading or bribing a clerk in the office of a Munsif to permit him to have access to the record of the court and making an interpolation in the list of documents filed and inserting a document in the record has been held to be punishable under this section.
In State of U.P. v. Ranjit Singh, the Supreme Court observed that if by virtue of preparing a false document purporting it to be a document of a court of justice and by virtue of it a person who is not entitled to be released on bail could be released, then undoubtedly damage or injury has been caused to the public at large and, therefore the accused stenographer who is the author of such document is guilty under section 466 vide section 25 of the code a person is said to do a thing fraudulently if he does that thing with intent to defraud but not otherwise.
The expression ‘defraud’ involves two elements, namely deceit and injury to the person deceived. Injury is something other than economic loss and it will include any harm whatever caused to any person in body, mind, reputation or such others. A benefit or advantage to the deceiver will almost always cause loss or detriment to the deceived.
The preparation of a forged bail order by the utilisation of which the person concerned obtained an advantage of being released deceiving the courts and the society at large cannot but be said to have made the document fraudulently, thereby attracting section 466 of the Code.
However, in view of the fact that the incident took place about 27 years ago and the Sessions Court having granted benefit of section 4 of the U.P. First Offenders Probation Act to the accused and also there being no bad antecedents, the accused would be entitled to be released on personal bond and surety.
The offence under this section is non-cognizable, non-bailable and non- compoundable, and is triable by magistrate of the first class.