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Fabrication of Documents Prior to Filing of Trademark Suit and Proceedings Under Section 340 Cr.P.C

In the present case, the issue at hand involves the admitted fabrication of newspapers by Mr. Karan Kumar, the proprietor of KG Marketing, prior to filing a trademark suit. Mr. Kumar has acknowledged that the newspapers dated 17th June 2016 and 12th July 2016, submitted by him, were fabricated. This raises the pertinent legal question of whether Mr. Kumar’s actions warrant proceedings under Section 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Section 340 CrPC is designed to address offenses related to false evidence and offenses against public justice committed in relation to proceedings in any court. It mandates that if the court is of the opinion that an inquiry should be made into any offense referred to in Section 195(1)(b) CrPC, it must record a finding to that effect and make a complaint in writing to a Magistrate having jurisdiction.

Key Judicial Precedents:
Iqbal Singh Marwah vs. Meenakshi Marwah [(2005) 4 SCC 370]:
In Iqbal Singh Marwah, the Supreme Court distinguished between offenses committed prior to the initiation of legal proceedings and those occurring during the course of such proceedings. The court held that Section 195(1)(b)(ii) CrPC, which pertains to offenses relating to documents produced or given in evidence in a proceeding, does not apply to offenses committed prior to the initiation of the proceeding.

Bandekar Brothers Private Limited vs. Prasad Vassudev Keni and Others [2020] 10 S.C.R. 1075:
In Bandekar Brothers, the Supreme Court provided clarity on the application of Section 195(1)(b) CrPC read with Section 340 CrPC concerning allegations of forgery and fabrication. The court highlighted that if a document initially forged has a direct connection to the suit, Section 340 CrPC can be invoked.

In the current case, the fabricated newspapers were presented to falsely establish prior use of a trademark. These documents were initially fabricated and submitted to the court, leading to an ex-parte injunction order, which was subsequently vacated upon discovery of the fabrication. The nexus between the forged documents which were forged before filing in the court and the court proceedings is evident, as the fabricated evidence was used to secure judicial relief.

Applicability of Section 340 CrPC:
  • Section 340 CrPC stipulates that if the court believes an inquiry is warranted for an offense referred to in Section 195(1)(b) CrPC, a complaint should be registered. This applies to offenses committed: In relation to a proceeding in that court, In respect of a document produced in that court, or
  • In respect of a document given in evidence in a proceeding in that court.
  • In this scenario, the fabricated newspapers, which were used to obtain a judicial order, fall squarely within the ambit of Section 195(1)(b) CrPC.

Court’s Decision:
Given the admission of fabrication by Mr. Kumar and the false affidavit filed in court, the court has a basis to proceed under Section 340 CrPC. The authenticity of the documents was vouched for by Mr. Kumar, who later admitted to their fabrication. Thus, the offense can be considered to have occurred during the court proceedings.

The court is justified in directing the registration of a complaint under Section 340 CrPC. The Registrar General is instructed to lodge a complaint with the concerned Judicial Magistrate and transmit all relevant documents for further legal action. This decision underscores the seriousness of forgery and fabrication in judicial proceedings and ensures that such offenses are addressed with the full force of the law.

Author's Note:
This case highlights the critical importance of honesty and integrity in judicial processes. Fabrication of evidence not only undermines the judicial system but also erodes public trust. The court’s decision to proceed under Section 340 CrPC serves as a stern reminder that legal proceedings must be conducted with the utmost integrity, and any deviation will attract stringent legal consequences.

Case Citation: Rashi Santosh Soni Vs K G Marketing India: 02.07.2024: CS COMM 18 of 2023 : 2024:DHC:4887:Delhi High Court: Prathiba M Singh, H.J.

The information shared here is intended to serve the public interest by offering insights and perspectives. However, readers are advised to exercise their own discretion when interpreting and applying this information. The content herein is subjective and may contain errors in perception, interpretation, and presentation.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman
, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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