Expert Opinion on Handwriting; 2 Important SC Judgments

Expert Opinion

Important SC Judgments on Handwriting Expert

1. HMJ Hidayatullah J. in Fakhruddin vs State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 1967 SC 1326

  • Both under Sections 45 and 47 the evidence is an opinion, in the former by a scientific comparison and in the latter on the basis of familiarity resulting from frequent observations and experience.
  • In either case, the Court must satisfy itself by such means as are open that the opinion may be acted upon.
  • One such means open to the Court is to apply its own observation to the admitted or proved writings and to compare them with the disputed one, not to become and handwriting expert but to verify the premises of the expert in one case and to appraise the value of the opinion in the other case.
  • The comparison depends on an analysis of the characteristics in the admitted or proved writings and the finding of the same characteristics in a large measure in the disputed writing.
  • In this way, the opinion of the deponent whether expert or other is subjected to scrutiny and although relevant to start with becomes probative.
  • Where an expert’s opinion is given, the Court must see for itself and with the assistance of the expert come to its own conclusion whether it can safely be held that the two writings are by the same person.
  • This is not to say that the Court must play the role of an expert but to say that the Court may accept the fact proved only when it has satisfied itself on its own observation that it is safe to accept the opinion whether of the expertor other witness.

2. State (Delhi Administration) Vs Pali Ram AIR 1979 SC 14

  • Since even where proof of handwriting which is in nature comparison, exists, a duty is cast on the Court to use its own eyes and mind to compare, the admitted writing with the disputed one to verify and reach its own conclusion, it will not be wrong to say that when a Court seised of a case, directs an accused person present before it to write down a sample writing, such direction in the ultimate analysis, “is for the purpose of enabling the Court to compare” the writing so written with the writing alleged to have been written by such person, within the contemplation of Section 73.
  • That is to say, the words ‘for the purpose of enabling the Court to compare’ do not exclude the use of such “admitted”¬†or sample writing for comparison with the alleged writing of the accused, by a handwriting expert cited as a witness by any of the parties.
  • Even where no such expert witness is cited or examined by either party, the Court may, if it thinks necessary for the ends of justice, on its own motion, call an expert witness, allow him to compare the sample writing with the alleged writing and thus give his expert assistance to enable the Court to compare the two writings and arrive at a proper conclusion.