"So far as the comparison of the signatures or the thumb impression is concerned, such course has to be done sparingly. The Judge, who comes to an opinion after comparison, should also disclose his expertise and also give reasons for the conclusions. A mere statement that the Court is of the opinion that the thumb impressions or the signature appears to be similar is not proper since as an expert, whose evidence is to be assessed, the Judge, who is also giving his opinion, should mention the reasons".
THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE N.R.L.NAGESWARA RAO
C.R.P.No.3642 OF 2012
!Counsel for the Petitioner
^Counsel for the Respondent
1) 2008(3) ALD 112 (SC)
2) 2011(6) ALD 741
The revision is filed against the order in I.A.No.107 of 2012 in O.S.No.16
of 2010 on the file of the Junior Civil Judge at Kollapur.
2. The revision petitioner is the defendant. The suit was filed for recovery
of money on the basis of a promissory note. The trial of the case was completed
and the matter is coming for arguments. At that stage, the present application
is filed for sending the suit document to the expert. The Court below has
dismissed the application finding that the Court itself can compare signature
under Section 73 of the Indian Evidence Act.
3. Naturally, delay in filing an application for expert is a good ground for
rejection of the same. So also the comparison of the signatures by the Court
itself is not generally warranted and unless there is expertise in comparison of
the signatures, it cannot be resorted to. When such comparison is to be made,
generally it shall be with the assistance. But, however, in this case, when
there is oral evidence available on record, the Court may not be justified in
intention to resort to comparison.
3. In this connection, it is useful to refer to a decision of the Hon'ble
Supreme Court reported in Thiruvengadam Pillai Vs. Navaneethammal1, whereunder
it was held that:
"16. While there is no doubt that Court can compare the disputed
handwriting/ signature/ finger impression with the admitted handwriting/
signature/ finger impression, such comparison by Court without the assistance of
any expert, has always been considered to be hazardous and risky. When it is
said that there is no bar to a Court to compare the disputed finger impression
with the admitted finger impression, it goes without saying that it can record
an opinion or finding on such comparison, only after an analysis of the
characteristics of the admitted finger impression and after verifying whether
the same characteristics are found in the disputed finger impression. The
comparison of the two thumb impressions cannot be casual or by a mere glance.
Further, a finding in the judgment that there appeared to be no marked
differences between the admitted thumb impression and disputed thumb impression,
without anything more, cannot be accepted as a valid finding that the disputed
signature is of the person who has put the admitted thumb impression. Where the
Court finds that the disputed finger impression and admitted thumb impression
are clear and where the Court is in a position to identify the characteristics
of fingerprints, the Court may record a finding on comparison, even in the
absence of an expert's opinion. But where the disputed thumb impression is
smudgy, vague or very light, the Court should not hazard a guess by a casual
17. The decision in Murari Lal4 and Lalit Popli5 should not be construed as
laying a proposition that the Court is bound to compare the disputed and
admitted finger impressions and record a finding thereon, irrespective of the
condition of the disputed finger impression. When there is a positive denial by
the person who is said to have affixed his finger impression and where the
finger impression in the disputed document is vague or smudgy or not clear,
making it difficult for comparison, the Court should hesitate to venture a
decision based on its own comparison of the disputed and admitted finger
impressions. Further even in cases where the Court is constrained to take up
such comparison, it should make a thorough study, if necessary with the
assistance of Counsel, to ascertain the characteristics, similarities and
dissimilarities. Necessarily, the judgment should contain the reasons for any
conclusion based on comparison of the thumb impression, if it chooses to record
a finding thereon. The Court should avoid reaching conclusions based on a mere
casual or routine glance or perusal".
4. Further, it is also useful to refer to the judgment reported in
Y.Jogulamma @ Jyothi v. Chukkakula Kondamma and others2, wherein this Court held
in Para No.24 as under:-
"So far as the comparison of the signatures or the thumb impression is
concerned, such course has to be done sparingly. The Judge, who comes to an
opinion after comparison, should also disclose his expertise and also give
reasons for the conclusions. A mere statement that the Court is of the opinion
that the thumb impressions or the signature appears to be similar is not proper
since as an expert, whose evidence is to be assessed, the Judge, who is also
giving his opinion, should mention the reasons".
Therefore, in view of the above circumstances, I do not find any justifiable
grounds to interfere with the order of the Court below.
5. Accordingly, the Civil Revision Petition is dismissed. No costs.
Miscellaneous petitions, if any, filed in this petition shall stand closed.
JUSTICE N.R.L. NAGESWARA RAO