This article is written by Tanya Gupta, a 2nd-year law student, from BVP-New Law College, Pune. In this article, the author has discussed the concept of “False evidence and offences against crime”.
Evidence is every type of proof legally presented at trial (allowed by the judge) which is intended to convince the judge and/or jury of alleged material facts of the case. Evidence is any statement required or permitted by the court on oath and any document which is produced by the court’s instruction. As per Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, the evidence is of two types;
- Documentary Evidence
A statement or documentary evidence presented to the court when known to be false or is believed not to be true is false evidence. Criminal evidence is any physical or verbal evidence that is presented for the purpose to prove a crime.
Section 191 of the Indian Penal Code explains that giving false evidence means a person bound by oath or express provision of law, to tell the truth, makes a false statement or a statement that he doesn’t believe to be true or believes to be false. False statement or evidence given by a person can be in written form or otherwise (oral or indicative). Section 191 is also known as Perjury under English Perjury Act 1911. For example, a matter concerning the handwriting of Z for which Z’s son is called to test the handwriting that whether it is of his father or not. Even after knowing it is not the handwriting of Z he states the opposite in court stating that it is the handwriting of Z. It is a typical offence called perjury. Taking up the same scenario of Z’s handwriting, where his son is called to testify his handwriting but this time his son is not confident and states that although I am not confident that it was not the handwriting of Z; in this situation, his son cannot be held liable under Section 193 of Indian Penal Code because his intention is not to lie. A copy of the sales deed shown in the court which is edited or fabricated is known as false evidence. Perjury is all about giving false evidence. Lets us take a classic example in which X is bound under oath that he will speak only the truth in respect to a case in which Y is suspect for the charge of murder that took place in Delhi. Now X says that Y was with me in Shimla on 20th May 2019( the date when the murder was committed). But X lies and gives false evidence. It is a clear example of perjury.
Essential Ingredients of False Evidence
False evidence made by a person who is:
- Bound by oath, or
- By an express provision of law, or
- A declaration which a person is bound by law to make on any subject, and
- Which statement or declaration is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true.
Three essential prerequisite condition for the application of Section 191:
- A legal obligation to state the truth,
- Making of a false statement or declaration, and
- Belief in its falsity.
Differences vis-a-vis the English Law of Perjury
Perjury has been kept at the position of criminal form under English Law of Perjury because a person is at the guilt by the statutory obligation of crime if lawfully sworn as a witness or as an interpreter in a judicial proceeding where he lawfully makes a statement material in that proceeding which is known to be false or does not believe it to be true.
The violation of oath is a condition prerequisite. Under Indian law, a statement contrary to oath /declaration requires an express provision to state the truth.
Under the English Law, the false statement is a statement or a declaration falsely made only in a judicial proceeding whereas, under Indian law false evidence is a statement when given to a public servant would also be classified as Perjury.
Legally Bound by Oath or Law to Say the truth
- A Person is legally bound by oath if;
a) A Person should be bound by oath- Section 8 of the Oath act defines it that it is a duty to state the truth.
b) By an express provision of law to state the truth.
c) Or bound by law to make a declaration.
2) Legal obligation to speak the truth in view of the oath administered.
3) Express Provision of law which binds him to speak the truth.
4) Irregularity in the administration of the oath- There is some irregularity in administration on oath by officers i.e oath is not signed properly or there is some procedural irregularity. Now if there is any irregularity will Section 191 be applicable or not? It is immaterial. The person who takes the oath knows that he is lying will be punished under section 191 of the Indian Penal Code.
5) No application to advocates.
Fabricating False Evidence
Section 192 of the Indian Penal Code defines fabricating false evidence. Whoever causes any circumstances to exist or makes any false entry in any book or record or electronic record or makes any document or electronic record containing a false statement, intending that such circumstances, false entry or false statement may appear in evidence in a judicial proceeding, or in a proceeding taken by law before a public servant as such or before an arbitrator and that such circumstance, false entry or false statement, so appearing in evidence, may cause any person who in such proceeding to form is to form an opinion upon an evidence, to entertain an erroneous proceeding touching any point material to the result of such proceeding is said to fabricate false evidence.
Essentials of fabricating false evidence
- Cause any circumstances to exist; or
- Makes any false entry in any book or record etc containing a false statement ;
- Intending that such circumstances, false entry or false statement may appear in evidence in a:
a) Judicial proceeding, or
b) In a proceeding taken by law before a public servant,
c) Before an arbitrator; and
4) Helps form an opinion upon the evidence, to entertain an erroneous opinion;
5) Touching any point material to the result of such proceeding.
These essentials can be easily understood by a given example. There is a shopkeeper ‘X’ whose shop is in Lucknow and he pretends that his shop was open on 20th May 2019 although his shop was closed. He shows in his book entry that his shop was open. However, on that day ‘X’ went to Delhi and committed the crime of extortion. When Police investigates about it he shows his book entry as evidence. This would qualify as fabricating false evidence.
An intention that Fabricated Evidence May Appear as evidence in a judicial proceeding
Intention plays a very vital role in Section 192. False document so made should appear in evidence in a judicial proceeding or before a public servant or arbitrator.
Punishment for False Evidence
The person who gives false evidence in the court can get imprisonment up to 7 years and also fine, whereas outside the court where the person has given false evidence can get imprisonment up to 3 years and fine. Giving false evidence is a non-cognizable offence i.e police cannot arrest the person who gives false evidence without an arrest warrant. It is a type of bailable offence i.e a person can get bail from the court. He can claim bail as a matter of right. It is non-compoundable means the person who has given false evidence against a person cannot compromise with him and the case can’t be closed and Section 194 to 195A of Indian Penal Code deals with the aggravated form of offences. Aggravate form means serious form. For example, Under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code someone is charged for murder and the person is giving false evidence due to which accused is convicted to a death sentence so this is a form of aggravated form of offence. There are different forms of punishment under Section 194 as:
1) When someone is convicted.
2) When someone is convicted and executed.
Section 195: giving or fabricating false evidence with an intention/knowledge for an offence punishable with imprisonment for seven years or more or life imprisonment. He will be punished as a person convicted of that offence would be liable to be punished. For example, Person X who is accused of dacoity and a person A gives false evidence due to which X is convicted of dacoity. The punishment of dacoity is life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment of ten years and now if it has been proved that A has given false evidence or fabricated false evidence so he (accused of Section 195) would also get the same punishment that a person who is convicted of dacoity.
Section 195A of Indian Penal Code is added by Amendment Act, 2006. The act must amount to threatening another with an injury to his person, reputation or property or to the person or reputation of anyone in whom that person is interested (eg. family, friends). The intention of the accused person should be to give false evidence. Punishment is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.
In the case of Santokh Singh vs Izhar Hussain, it was held that test identification of parade is mainly used in rape cases to identify the accused by the victim and if the victim had lied and given a false statement that he was the accused then it is an offence under Section 192 and Section 195.
Offences Punishable in the Same Way as Giving or Fabricating False Evidence
Using False Evidence
A person when uses evidence which he knows it to be false comes under Section 196. Whoever corruptly uses or attempts to use as true or genuine evidence any evidence which he knows to be fabricated or false evidence.
Meaning of ‘Corruptly’
The intention which does not fall in dishonestly or fraudulently but against the spirit of criminal law then it comes under the category of corruptly.
There was a doctor S Dutta who specialized in the field of medicine and he was called for an expert witness where he was asked to furnish the certificate as he was an expert. Now he had furnished certificate but after some time in enquiry, it was found that it was false. Now the court enquires under which section the accused must be charged. Section 465 talks about dishonesty and Section 471 talks about fraudulently but the conduct of Dr Dutta did not come under dishonestly or fraudulently. Supreme Court held that the conduct of Dr Dutta should be covered under Section 196 under a phrase corruptly. Corruptly is a term (long) which is different from fraudulently and intention.
Section 197 deals with issuing or signing the false certificates and signing that certificate issued or signed must be one which is required by law. Required by law means through any statutory obligation. The essence of this requirement should be any statute to give a certificate and that certificate which is issued or signed in spite of knowledge of falsity. Medical certificate does not come under the ambit of Section 197. It must be one which is admissible as evidence. The certificate must be false in any material point and knowledge of falsity by the accused should be there.
Using of False Certificate
Introduction: Section 198 states using a true certificate which is known to be false. Ingredients of section 197 must be fulfilled. A Person who corruptly uses or attempts to use any such certificate as a true certificate, knowing the same to be false in a material point. Section 197 is about to issue or signed the false certificate whereas section 198 is to use the certificate as a true certificate which is false.
Section 199 states about a false statement made in declaration which is receivable by law as evidence. A person who gives the statement or declaration should be false. A document making the declaration should be received as evidenced by a court of justice or public servant or other person authorised by law. The intention behind giving a false declaration is that the accused was aware of falsity or he has knowledge that the statement is false. The declaration is not limited to oath/ affirmation.
An oath was taken in this case which was taken on the name of a notary which does not exist so it was said that it was a clear violation of Section 199 of Indian Penal Code.
Use of False Declaration
A Declaration or statement which a person gives in front of the court is false or believes not to be true is punished Section 200. A person who corruptly uses or attempts to use as true any such declaration, knowing the same to be false in any material point, shall be punished in the same manner as if he gave false evidence.
Offences Against Public Justice
Section 201 to 229A explains offences against public justice which is described further.
Causing the Disappearance of Evidence
There are two categories:
- Causing disappearance
- False information
There both intentions are to screen the offender. Suppose there are two friends A and B. A has committed the murder of X and to hide the body of X and to protect A from the charges B helps him so it falls under Section 201 because of causing the disappearance of evidence. B has the intention to screen the offender.
Section 201 deals with two aspects:
- Causing disappearance of evidence.
- Giving false information about the offence.
Ingredients of Section 201
- The offence must have committed.
- Accused must cause the disappearance of the evidence with respect to the offence committed.
- Gives false information about the offence( accused knowns this to be false).
- Intention- to screening the offender from legal punishment.
Commission of Offence
Commission of offence is sine non qua that is it is an essential condition or a thing which is necessary.
Palvinder Kaur vs the State of Punjab– In this case, the wife committed the murder of the husband with her boyfriend due to her extramarital affair with him. So the wife and her boyfriend have put husband’s body in the trolley and throw it into the well. After one month when his body was found in post mortem only Potassium cyanide is found and nothing else. They both are charged under Section 302 and 201. But there was no evidence which can prove the prosecution that the murder is done by wife with the help of his boyfriend. So the outcome was that as the principal offence under Section 302 was unable to establish due to which consequently under Section 201 was not establish either because the commission of an offence is sine non qua( essential condition).
Giving False Information
Kodali Puran Chandra Rao vs Public Prosecutor, Andhra Pradesh There was a river in a village in which floating dead body of a woman was found and 2 km away from that river there was a lake in which another body was found. The Investigation officer whose duty was there made a story that two prostitutes came in the village and they both were raped due to which they committed suicide and without post mortem, he had made the report of the case and made criminate both of them. When he has to report to higher authorities he had made false information and when the matter is referred to the Supreme Court, it was held that although there is no definite evidence on investigating authorities it can be said that they have given false information and a prima facie is established based on the facts and therefore the police officer is held guilty under Section 201 for giving false information.
Omission to Give Information
Section 202 states that Intentional omission to give information of offence by a person bound to inform. For example, a police officer is going for his duty from his home to the police station. On his way, he saw that there was a crowd and they all were beating a person. When he inquired he comes to know that the person has stolen something from a shop so that’s why they all were beating but he did not take any action and went away so he would be charged under section 202 because it was his responsibility, legal duty, statutory obligation under Criminal Procedural code, to report any cognizable offence when it comes under his knowledge and he should take any action.
Ingredients of Omission to give information
1) There should be knowledge or reasons to believe that an offence has been committed.
2) The person should intentionally omit to give any information regarding that offence.
3) The person is legally bound to give still he omits to give information.
4) He shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.
Intentional Omission to Give Information
There are many times Bonafide mistakes are done that are with utmost good faith. So at that time, the intentional omission is avoided if they are committed with a bonafide mistake.
It was a case related to Judicial torture in which a police officer has kept a person in judicial custody and had given torture due to which he has got many injuries so police office has sent him to a nearby hospital but till the time the person could reach the hospital. He died and the case was charged under 304(2) i.e culpable homicide not amounting to murder but Supreme Court held that culpable homicide is not applicable because of two reasons first is a commission of offence has not been established and a second the legal duty to report the offence and intentional omission were not there.
Legal Obligation to Give Information
There should be a legal obligation to give information then only Section 202 will be a trigger. Until and unless there is no legal obligation to give information a person cannot fall under Section 202.
Giving False Information About an Offence
Section 203 is giving false information respected an offence committed that is:
1) Whoever knowing or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed.
2) Gives any information respecting that offence.
3) Which he knows or believes to be false.
4) Shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
For example, A person ‘X’ has made complain in a police station that in his house 10 lakh of jewellery, TV and any other movable property had been stolen although TV and other property were stolen he had given false information related to 10 lakh jewellery. He will be charged under Section 203.
Ingredients of Section 203
1) The offence has been committed.
2) Accused know or he had reason to believe that such an offence has been committed.
3) He gave the information to that offence.
4) The information so given was false and
5) When he gave such information he knew or believed it to be false.
The offence under Section 203 is non-cognizable, but warrant may issue in the first instance. It is bailable but not compoundable and triable by any Magistrate. Sections 201, 202 and 203 are related but different. All these three sections deal with various aspects of offences dealing with the conduct of a person after the commission of the offence.
Impersonation Abuse of Process of Court of Justice
It is related to the procedural aspect of a criminal proceeding. Section 206 to 210 deals with limited things only. For example, your home in Delhi and the court had given orders to seize the property so to save your home you have agreed with a third party X and sell it to X with the intention that court cannot seize your home and you can say that it is not your property and it belongs to X, then the person will be liable under Section 206.
Now if in the same example X had taken Dhruv’s property so that he can save his property from fortified seizure and he can return his property after some time then X will be charged under Section 207 and Dhruv will be charged under Section 206.
Section 208: Fraudulently suffering decree for sum not due. Suppose there is the movable property of 10 lakh that is car and anubhav had taken a loan from a bank to buy a car and now he is unable to pay EMI of the car and therefore the company had sent notice to him that either he pays EMI to them or his car would be seized. but anubhav had refused to pay so the company had taken notice from the court of justice. Now anubhav said to her friend Simran to file a case against him of Rs 11 lakh and anubhav fraudulently lost the case and asked that Simran can take her car and she took it so that it can be saved from the company and after sometime when the case would be closed he will take his car and give some money to her, therefore, anubhav will be charged under section 208.
Section 210 Fraudulently obtaining a decree for a sum not due. In the above example, Simran will be charged under section 210.
Section 209 Dishonesty making a false claim in court. Whoever making fraudulently or dishonestly a false claim in court to injure or annoy a person. The punishment is imprisonment of two years and shall also be liable to fine.
False evidence is information given by a person to divert the verdict in a court case. False evidence is also known as forged, fabricated, tainted evidence. The intention to give false evidence is to procure the conviction and to make the innocent guilty. Section 191 explains about giving false evidence and section 192 explains about fabricating false evidence. Chapter 11 of the Indian Penal Code has set out the provision relating to giving and fabricating false evidence and offences against public justice.
Indian Penal Code, 1860
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