Ending a 12-year ordeal of a Dera Bassi resident facing charges for impersonating a judge and forging high court documents, judicial magistrate Amareshwar Singh acquitted him after the prosecution failed to prove that he "intentionally" posed as high court judge.
The whole case was due to an error by the postal department. Farmer Sardool Singh alias Sahurat, 63, resident of Sonali village in Dera Bassi, had a property dispute with his father, and had filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana high court. As part of the procedure, he had sent some documents by speed post to the other party in October 2002.
However, on the receipt generated by the postal department, it was mentioned that the documents were issued by court of HC justice MM Kumar. When the receipt was placed before the court by Sardool, the words were noticed and he was booked on charges for "committing forgery and misusing the name of judge and court". He even had to spend a few months in jail before being granted bail.
The allegation was that Sardool deliberately played a fraud while sending copies of an application filed by him for the recalling of an order issued in July 2002 to other party - showing as if they had been forwarded by the court of justice MM Kumar.
But Sardool submitted that he had sent an advance copy of the application with details that it had been filed in the court of justice MM Kumar. "However, the postal department, while generating the receipt of speed post, mentioned only 'MM Kumar', from which it appeared as if the said letter had been forwarded by justice MM Kumar himself," he underlined.
It was due to paucity of space that only the words 'MM Kumar' were typed by the postal department on the receipt as 'sender', "giving the [false] impression," submitted Sardool.
The judge's order dated February 20 says, "The persons working in the postal department are laymen and they cannot be expected to know the difference between filing of an application before high court and issuance of notice by court. Accused cannot be punished for ignorance on the part of the postal authorities."
"There is no evidence on record that accused ever posed himself as justice MM Kumar. Fault, if any, lies on the person who generated the said postal receipt." It adds.
"He was booked on a complaint from the high court. It was purely the fault of the postal department employees, owing to which 12 years of Sardool's life were tainted," said Sardool's lawyer, Arun Kumar.