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“False Accusation” in ICC Article 211 Refers to Original Accusation, Not False Statements/Evidence Presented During Trial: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the phrase “false charges” in Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code refers to the initial charge that sets in motion the criminal investigation and not false statements or false statements. evidence presented in a criminal trial. . The Apex Court pointed out that the statement which is made with the intent and purpose of setting the criminal law in motion would constitute “charges” under the provision.

Section 211 reads as follows –

Section 211. False Accusation of Offense Made with Intent to Injure.—Whoever, with intent to injure any person, institutes or does initiated any criminal proceedings against that person or falsely accuses any person who has committed an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawful cause for such prosecution or accusation against such person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or a fine, or imprisonment for both; and if such criminal prosecution is brought upon a false accusation of an offense punishable by death, [imprisonment for life]or a term of imprisonment of seven years or more, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of up to seven years in either form, and shall also be liable to a fine.”

In a petition filed by the Union government seeking perjury proceedings against the petitioners who filed a plea in 2009 demanding an independent investigation into allegations of extrajudicial executions of tribals in Chhattisgarh by the forces security, a bench made up of judges AM Khanwilkar and JB Pardiwala refrained from initiating such proceedings. Alternatively, he suggested that the state government or the CBI take appropriate action against the petitioners under Section 211 of the ICC and other relevant provisions of the law.

On reading article 211 CPI (false accusation of an offense committed with intent to injure) and as explained in Santokh Singh and Ors. v. Izhar Hussan and Anr. (1973) 2 SCC 406, the bench emphasized the essential elements of the provision as sub-

  1. the complaint must have falsely accused a person of having committed an offence;
  2. the complainant at the time of filing the complaint must have known that there was no just or legal reason to bring such an accusation
  3. the complaint must have been made with the intention of causing an investigation of a person

Although Cr.PC does not define “charge” or “criminal procedure”, the Chamber was of the view that the false “charge” in Section 211 should be interpreted according to its original meaning and not in one sense. restricted or technical. According to the bench, this would include –

“false accusation made to any authority required by law to investigate it or take any action with respect to it, such as informing higher authorities for investigation or other prosecution, and the initiation of criminal prosecution includes the setting in motion of the criminal law.

He further noted –

“The words “falsely accused” must be read with the expression “institute of penal proceedings”. These two expressions, being capable of analogous meaning, must be understood as having been employed in their cognate sense. others.”

The court also deals with perjury

Referring to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure relating to perjury, in particular Sections 191, 192 and 193 CPI and Sections 195 and 340 Cr.PC, the Court recalled the two conditions which must be met before file a complaint against a person who has produced a false affidavit or false evidence in court –

  1. the person gave a false affidavit in a court proceeding; and
  2. in the opinion of the court, it is in the interests of justice to investigate such a person.

He noted that since the affidavit is “evidence” within the meaning of Article 191 ICC, one who swears to a false affidavit would be guilty of perjury. However, before prosecuting for perjury, the relevant court must determine whether opening an investigation would be in the interests of justice. The relevant court is required to see if there is evidence to support the allegation of perjury and not whether the evidence is sufficient to warrant a conviction. There should be a premium face case of willful lying and the relevant court must be satisfied that there is a reasonable basis for the charge, as held by the Supreme Court in SP Kohli v. High Court of Punjab and Harayana and Mauthu Karuppan, Commissioner of Police, Chennai v Parithi Ilmavazhuthi and Anr. Apart from this, as observed in Aarish Asgar Qureshi c. Fareed Ahmed Qureshi and Anr. the court concerned is also required to ascertain whether the misrepresentation so made was deliberate and conscious and whether the conviction is reasonably probable or probable.

The Chamber cited the judgment in Pritish v. Maharashtra state in which it was held by the Supreme Court that even without a preliminary inquiry under Article 340 CrPC or without hearing the person against whom proceedings are to be brought, the Court may form an opinion that it is expedient in the interest of justice that an inquiry be made when it appears to him that an offense has been committed in connection with a proceeding before this court. But, a contradictory opinion was expressed by a coordination bench in Sharad Pawar vs. Jagmohan Dalmiya. The matter was then referred to a larger court and, at present, awaiting a decision.

It was further noted that in MS Sheriff and Anr. vs. State of Madras and Ors.the Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court had ruled that no declaration on the guilt or innocence of persons should be made by the court concerned when adopting an order under Article 340 of the CrPC.

Case name: Himanshu Kumar and Ors. v. State of Chhattisgarh and Ors.

Reference: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 598

Case No. and Date: Brief (Criminal) Application No. 103 of 2009 | July 14, 2022

Corum: Judges AM Khanwilkar and JB Pardiwala


Indian Penal Code 1860 – Section 221 – The essential ingredients for invoking Section 211, IPC are that the complaint must have falsely accused a person of committing an offence; the complainant, at the time of filing the complaint must have known that there are no just or legal grounds for bringing a charge against the person, such complaint must have been made with the intent to cause harm to a person . [Paragraph 90]

Indian Penal Code 1860, Section 221 – “charge” not defined in the Cr.PC – a false “charge” in this section is not to be understood in a restricted or technical sense, but in its ordinary sense – would include a false charge made to any authority required by law to investigate or take any action with respect to it, such as reporting to higher authorities for investigation or other prosecution, and bringing criminal proceedings includes establishment of criminal law in motion – the phrase “falsely accusing” in this section cannot mean giving false testimony as a witness for the prosecution against an accused in a criminal trial – “falsely accusing” shall do reference to the original or original accusation setting in motion or seeking to set in motion – the mechanism of the criminal investigation and not when seeking to prove the false accusation by giving evidence in support of the accusation made in this trial – the false accusation must therefore first be made to a person in authority or to someone who is able to have the author of the offense punished by an appropriate procedure – in other words, it must be materialized either by a complaint or by a report of a notorious offense to the police officer or an officer having authority over the person against whom the allegations are made – the declaration to constitute the “charges” must be made with the intention and purpose of setting criminal law in motion. [Paragraph 91 and 94]

Constitution of India – Articles 32 and 226 – When a CBI Inquiry may be conducted – A CBI Inquiry may be conducted only in rare and exceptional cases – such prayer shall not be granted on mere request – though a satisfaction of the lack of good, fair, impartial and effective investigation eroding its credibility and reliability is the prerequisite for the instruction of a further investigation or a new investigation, the presentation of the indictment ipso facto or awaiting trial can in no way be a fatal obstacle – the contextual facts and the concomitant circumstances must be assessed and analyzed individually to decide whether further investigation or a new investigation is necessary to discover the truth and do justice to the parties – one factor that courts may consider is that such a transfer is “imperative” to maintain the “public interest”. confidence in the impartial functioning of state organs”. [Paragraph 44, 47, 50] – dismissed – State of West Bengal and others v. Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal (2010) 3 SCC 571- The Extraordinary Power of Constitutional Courts under Sections 32 and 226 respectively of the Constitution of India with respect to issuing instructions to the CBI to conduct an investigation must be exercised with great caution although no hard and fast guidelines can be established in this regard, but it was emphasized that such an order cannot be adopted on a routine basis or simply because the parties have made allegations against local police and may be invoked in exceptional situations where it becomes necessary to ensure credibility and instill confidence in the investigation or where the incident may have national or international ramifications or where such an order may be necessary to deliver full justice and uphold fundamental rights – mere allegations against the police do not not constitute a sufficient basis for transferring the investigation [Paragraph 44, 47, 50] – Referee Secretary, Minor Irrigation and Rural Engineering Services, UP c. Sahngoo Ram Arya & Anr. (2002) 5 SCC 521 – an order directing an investigation by the CBI should only be made where the High Court, after reviewing the material on the record, comes to the conclusion that such material discloses a prima facie case calling for an investigation by the CBI or any other similar agency. [Paragraph 45] – Returned Romila Thapar c. Union of India (2018) 10 SCC 753, – the accused “has no say in the appointment of an investigative body”. [Paragraph 51, 52]

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