Forgery is the creation of a document which one knows is not genuine and yet
projects the same as if it is genuine. In common parlance, it is used more in
terms of affixing somebody else’s signature on a document. Digital forgery
implies making use of digital technology to forge a document, desktop publishing
systems, color laser and ink-jet printers, color copiers, and images canners
enable crooks to make fakes, with relative ease, of cheques, currency,
passports, visas, birth certificates, ID cards, etc.
Section 91 of the IT Act (read with the Second Schedule) amended the provisions
of the IPC in relation to ‘forgery’ to include ‘electronic records’ as well.
Section 29A has been inserted in the Indian Penal Code to provide for a
definition of ‘electronic record’. The words ‘electronic record’ will have the
same meaning which is assigned to it in section 2(1)(t)2 of the IT Act. Section
464 of the IPC was amended by section 91 of the IT Act to include a false
electronic record. Under section 464, a person is said to make a false
- Who dishonestly or fraudulently makes or transmits any electronic record or part
of any electronic record, or, affixes any digital signature on any the
electronic record, or, makes any mark denoting the authenticity of the digital
signature, with the intention of causing it to be believed that such electronic
record or part of an electronic record or digital signature was made, executed,
transmitted, or affixed by or by the authority of a person by whom or by whose
authority he knows that it was not made, executed or affixed; or
- Who, without lawful authority, dishonestly or fraudulently, by cancellation or
otherwise, alters an electronic record in any material part thereof, after it
has been made, executed, or affixed with a digital signature either by himself
or by any other person, whether such person be living or dead at the time of
such alteration; or
- Who dishonestly or fraudulently causes any person to sign, execute or alter an
electronic record or to affix his digital signature on any electronic record
knowing that such person by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication
cannot, or that by reason of deception practiced upon him, he does not know the
contents of the electronic record or the nature of the alteration.
to section 464 has also been inserted which, for the purpose of
this section provides for the expression ‘affixing digital signature’ to have
the same meaning as assigned to it in section 2(1)(d)3 of the IT Act.
Section 463 of the IPC, after amendment, defines forgery, in relation to
electronic records, as the making of any false electronic record or part thereof
with intent to cause damage or injury to the public or to any person, or to
support any claim or title, or to cause any person to part with property, or to
enter into any express or implied contract, or with intent to commit fraud or
that fraud may be committed.
Section 466 (forgery of record of Court or of
Public register, etc.), section 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating),
section 469 (forger for purpose of harming reputation), section 470 (forged
document or electronic record), section 471 (using as genuine a forged
document),section474 (having possession of the document described in section 466
or 467, knowing it to be forged and intending to use it as genuine) and section
476 (counterfeiting device or mark used for authenticating documents other than
those described in section 467, or possessing counterfeit marked material) have
also been suitably amended to include electronic records
It may, however, be
noticed that section 467 which pertains to forgery of valuable security, will,
etc., has not been amended for the reason that section 1(4) bars the
applicability of the IT Act to certain documents including a will, trust,
power-of-attorney, contract for sale or conveyance of immovable property, etc.
Therefore, digital forgery and offenses related to it are now covered under the
IPC pursuant to the amendments made by the IT Act.
Convention on Cyber Crime Council of Europe
The Convention on Cybercrime, Article 7 requires the member-States to make laws
to establish as criminal offenses, when committed intentionally and without
right, the input, alteration, deletion, or suppression of computer data,
resulting in inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted
upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless whether or not the
data is directly readable and intelligible.