Falsehood, False Evidence, Perjury – DISCUSSED WITH CITATIONS

In R.S. Sujatha Vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. – disposed on Nov 29 2010 Hon’ble Judges of Supreme court of India : Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan, Quoted following judgements while disposing Civil Appeal No. 9579 of 2003.

Chandra Shashi v. Anil Kumar Verma, (1995) 1 SCC 421, held that nobody should be permitted to indulge in immoral acts like perjury, prevarication and motivated falsehoods in the judicial proceedings and if someone does so, it must be dealt with appropriately. In case the recourse to a false plea is taken with an oblique motive, it would definitely hinder, hamper or impede the flow of justice and prevent the courts from performing their legal duties.

In Chajoo Ram v. Radhey Shyam and Anr., AIR 1971 SC 1367, this Court while dealing with a similar issue held as under: “…………No doubt giving of false evidence and filing false affidavits is an evil which must be effectively curbed with a strong hand but to start prosecution for perjury too readily and too frequently without due care and caution and on inconclusive and doubtful material defeats its very purpose. Prosecution should be ordered when it is considered expedient in the interests of justice to punish the delinquent and not merely because there is some inaccuracy in the statement which may be innocent or immaterial. There must be prima facie case of deliberate falsehood on a matter of substance and the Court should be satisfied that there is reasonable foundation for the charge…..”

In Chandrapal Singh and Ors. v. Maharaj Singh and Anr., AIR 1982 SC 1238, this Court while dealing with a case of a false statement for the purposes of Sections 193 and 199 IPC held as under: “…….. When it is alleged that a false statement has been made in a declaration which is receivable as evidence in any Court of Justice or before any public servant or other person, the statement alleged to be false has to be set out and its alleged falsity with reference to the truth found in some document has to be referred to pointing out that the two situations cannot co-exist, both being attributable to the same person and, therefore, one to his knowledge must be false. Rival contentions set out in affidavits accepted or rejected by courts with reference to onus probandi do not furnish foundation for a charge under Section 199 IPC……….Acceptance or rejection of evidence by itself is not a sufficient yardstick to dub the one rejected as false. Falsity can be alleged when truth stands out glaringly and to the knowledge of the person who is making the false statement. Day in and day out in courts averments made by one set of witnesses are accepted and the counter-averments are rejected. If in all such cases complaints under Section 199 IPC are to be filed not only there will open up floodgates of litigation but it would unquestionably be an abuse of the process of the court…..”

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In Pritish v. State of Maharashtra and Ors., AIR 2002 SC 236, this Court dealt with the provision of Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 extensively, in a case where admittedly forged document had been filed in a reference under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for getting a higher amount of compensation. The court observed as under:- “Reading of the sub-section makes it clear that the hub of this provision is formation of an opinion by the court (before which proceedings were to be held) that it is expedient in the interest of justice that an inquiry should be made into an offence which appears to have been committed…………But once the court decides to do so, then the court should make a finding to the effect that on the fact situation it is expedient in the interest of justice that the offence should further be probed into……It should again be remembered that the preliminary inquiry contemplated in the sub-section is not for finding whether any particular person is guilty or not. Far from that, the purpose of preliminary inquiry, even if the court opts to conduct it, is only to decide whether it is expedient in the interest of justice to inquire into the offence which appears to have been committed.”

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