Friday, July 11, 2014

Chop hands of forgers, says HC judge

CHENNAI: It is unfortunate that the country does not have laws to chop off hands and fingers of fraudsters who forge property documents, the Madras high court lamented on Thursday. Justice S Vaidhyanathan, refusing to order release of property documents registered on the basis of forged papers, also imposed a fine of 1 lakh on the person who committed the fraud.

"In Islamic countries, horrifying punishment of cutting hands and chopping off fingers for even petty thefts is implemented. I came across an article that said Iran has unveiled its latest innovation in criminal punishment - a machine that cuts off fingers of thieves. It is being used for cutting off the fingers of culprits by a court in Shiraz. For forgery, this court is of the view that such a stringent punishment of chopping off fingers should be awarded to the petitioner," the judge said.

"Unfortunately, in our country there is no stringent law to cut off the hands of persons who indulge in fabricating documents. If laws are rigid and deterrent, criminals will not dare to indulge in illegal activities like the case on hand, wherein officials of a sub-registrar office were hand in glove with criminals to help them usurp and loot the properties of innocents," he said.

Citing the Quran, the judge said theft was 'haraam'. "The Prophet cursed the thief because he is a corrupt element in society, and if he is left unpunished, his corruption will spread and infect the body of the ummah (nation)," he said.

The matter relates to a petition filed by P M Elavarasan, seeking to direct the Saidapet district registrar and Virugambakkam sub-registrar to assign a registration number to his property and release the documents. The authorities withheld the documents after realising that the property belonged to V V V Nachiappan's family and the land documents had been forged by Elavarasan. His counsel, however, argued that the registering authorities did not have the power to probe ownership and title of the property and that they are obliged to return registered documents.

Justice Vaidhyanathan, rejecting the demand, said it was a clear attempt to grab land and expressed shock that such fraud took place with the connivance of officials in the registration department. Upholding the decision to withhold the documents, the judge said Elavarasan had the temerity to approach the court for a favourable order despite having perpetrated forgery and fraud. The court then imposed 1 lakh cost on Elavarasan and directed him to pay 25,000 each to four service organisations, including the Adyar Cancer Institute, within a month.

Noting that the court could not remain a silent spectator, the judge said it would deal with such people with an iron hand. He then expressed hope that authorities and the court concerned would initiate criminal proceedings against Elavarasan for his illegal activities and award maximum sentence after a speedy trial.
A Subramani,TNN | Jul 11, 2014, 12.45 AM IST

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