Offences pertinent to false evidence and offences opposing the public justice is dealt with in Chapter XI of the Indian Penal Code. Hereunder are the two division of the categories into which the offences can be divided:
- Giving or fabrication of false evidence (Section 191 – 200)
- Offences opposing public justice (Section 201 – 229A)
I. Giving False Evidence or Perjury. (Section 191)
In English Law, this Section intends to punish the offence of perjury. The English statute i.e. the Perjury Act, 1911 states:
“A person is by statute guilty of a crime of perjury if, lawfully sworn as a witness or as an interpreter in a judicial proceeding which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true.”
The English law requires that there be at least two witnesses for the person committing the offence of perjury. The Indian Penal Code defines this offence in Section 191 and mandates that five ingredients be satisfied for such an act to be an offence:
- A person must be bound by an oath; or
- By an express provision of law
- Such a person must give a false statement; or
- Give a declaration which a person is mandated by law to make with respect to a subject; and
- If such statement or declaration comes out to be false and which he either is aware or believes to be false or does not believe to be true
The offence requires some preconditions to be conformed with:
- The person must be legally obligated to state the truth
- A false declaration or a statement; and
- Had a belief that it is false.
The false statement under English law will make a person guilty of an offence of perjury if he makes the false statement before the courts. Section 191, however, does not put any strict limitations and holds a person punishable if a person acts contrary to an oath he is bound by or express provision of law.
The Oaths Act 1969, has empowered every court and every person, by consent of parties or by law power to receive evidence and it further mandates administration of oath by commanding officers of military stations. The primary idea behind the administration of oath is to prosecute persons giving false evidence and additionally to make him comprehend the importance of his earnestness in this solemn occasion thereby making him duty-bound to speak with candour.
The authority administering oath must be competent before he administers the oath. Nevertheless, if the competent authority in case inadvertently or deliberately does not bind the person concerned by an oath, the obligation of the person making the statement, to be true does not decrease. Section 8 of the Oaths Act makes it an obligation on every person making a statement to be truthful.
Further, irregularity or omission in the administration of oath cannot render a proceeding invalid or make any evidence inadmissible. However, this Section will not be applicable to a witness if he is making a statement in a court which does not have the authority to administer oath.
Any proceeding consequent to an act of such witness owing to him produced false evidence cannot be maintained. Moreover if the proceeding is found to be bad due to lack of jurisdiction or sanction by law, then giving of a false statement or fabrication of evidence cannot attract the vice of Section 191.
The phrase “legally bound by oath” ponders a witness, hence absolving a lawyer of this obligation as has also been mandated by Section 193 and Section 196.
Code of Civil Procedure 1908, under which pleadings are done, also makes it legally imperative on persons filing pleadings and plaints to maintain it veracity. An affidavit is also a declaration made under oath which needs to be free from the vices of falsity.
The Supreme Court in the landmark judgment of KTMS Mohd v. Union of India has observed the following:
“The mere fact that a deponent has made contradictory statements at two different stages in a judicial proceeding is not by itself always sufficient to justify a prosecution for perjury under s.193, IPC, but it must be established that the deponent has intentionally given a false statement in any stage of the ‘judicial proceeding’ or fabricated false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of the judicial proceedings.”
Fabricating false evidence (Section 192)
This Section requires three elements to be satisfied for an offence to be committed:
- Causing of: 1. Existence of any circumstance 2. Making of any false entry or any document comprising any evidence which is false
- With an intent that it appears in an evidence 1. In a judicial proceeding 2. Proceeding before a public servant 3. Arbitrator
- Causing a person to make an erroneous opinion regarding evidence who has a duty to make such an opinion.
It must be noted that Section 191 and Section 192 converge. For example – a person may be booked under both the sections if he swears to a false affidavit as an affidavit is a sworn statement made under an oath hence attracting Section 191 and since swearing to such false affidavit would lead to a generation of a document comprising a statement which is false and hence producing fallacious evidence in a legal proceeding thereby attracting the provisions of Section 192 also.
Section contemplates that a mere generation of false evidence will not amount to fabrication until the intent to produce it as evidence in a judicial or a legal proceeding appears. Further, as soon as fabrication finishes an offence under this Section is established and further commencement of a judicial proceeding is not mandatory.
For such intent to be proved, the proximity to a judicial proceeding or the likelihood that the judicial proceeding is going to commence is a test to prove the intention of use of such false document.
Difference between giving false evidence and fabricating false evidence:
- Both the offences require the presence of mens rea, however, the former only requires that a general intent to exist and the latter a particular intent.
- In Section 191 the offence is constituted when a person who bound by law makes false statements which may not be pertinent to a material point whereas since in Section 192 the action or omission takes place in secrecy, the court intervenes only when an injury is caused to a person or matter material.
- Section 192 requires that such fabrication cause the judicial officer to form an erroneous opinion to constitute an offence, however, the effect of giving false evidence on an officer is not necessary under Section 191.
Section 193 provides a severe punishment of seven years for fabrication of false evidence as well as giving of false evidence in a judicial proceeding which indicates that the legislative intent to categorise such an offence to be of a serious character.
However, if such offences are done in a proceeding other than judicial proceeding then a lesser penalty of three years of imprisonment is imposed. Section 2 (i) of CrPC lays down that any proceeding wherein evidence is taken or may be taken on oath. Additionally, Section 193 lays down three explanations for ‘judicial proceedings’ and that is:
- Trial before a court martial
- Investigation instructed by law prior to a proceeding before a court of justice, although this investigation may not take place before the court of justice.
- Investigation ordered by a court of justice in accordance with the law, although this investigation may not take place before the court of justice. Hence, the officers deputed by courts of justice to enquire regarding any evidence either a statement or document can also conduct judicial proceedings.
Intention is a prime ingredient to be ascertained before imposing Section 193 on any person. However, in case any discrepancy or contradictions are present in evidence, such things will not amount to intentionally trying to deceive the courts of justice by using false statements or fabrication of evidence.
Section 194 which provides for ‘Giving Or Fabricating False Evidence With Intent To Procure Conviction Of Capital Offence’ and Section 195 which provides for ‘Giving Or Fabricating False Evidence With Intent To Procure Conviction Of Offence Punishable With Imprisonment For Life Or Imprisonment’, deal with aggravated forms of the offences discussed in Section 191 and Section 192.
Such aggravated forms may be cases wherein accused has been imposed with a charge of offences which are very serious in nature such as, murder culpable homicide not amounting to murder, whose punishment is either imprisonment or death penalty.
In the case of Santokh Singh v. Izhar Hussain, the accused was falsely implicated by Santokh Singh when he identified him illegally in an identification parade. The Apex Court was of the opinion that any statement made falsely in order to support the prosecution can constitute an offence under Section 193 and 195.
Nevertheless, a person if gives a dying declaration accusing another person to have committed his murders, yet he survives cannot be made guilty of an offence under Section194, IPC.
Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2005 inserted Section 195A to abstain people from influencing or threatening witnesses to give statements in their favour.
Using evidence unknown to be false (Section 196)
This section contemplates that ‘whoever’ corruptly tries to make appear false evidence, true and genuine shall be punished even when done with intent to defend.
The Apex Court in the case of S Dutt v. State of Uttar Pradesh has observed that the word ‘corrupt’ would denote conduct, which would be considered debased or morally unsound, therefore, the word ‘corrupt’ has a wider import than the words ‘dishonestly’ and ‘fraudulently’.
Issuing or signing false certificate. (Section 197)
The important conditions to be satisfied for the constitution of an offence under this Section are:
- Issuance of certificate or signing of it must be necessitated by law or must be one which is admissible as evidence
- Presence of falsity regarding a material point in the certificate
- Person signing or issuing the certificate must be aware of its falsity
Medical practitioners issuing medical certificates or character certificates are not necessitated by law and therefore, do not fall in the ambit of this Section. The words ‘required by law’ refers to the requirement mandated by a statute. Further, the words ‘admissible in evidence’ connotes that if a certificate has to be further proven by anymore witness, and then the certificate is not admissible in evidence in law.
Using as true a certificate known to be false (Section 198)
Use of false certificates by making them appear to be genuine and true is an offence under this Section and the word ‘corruptly’ has the same meaning as used Section 196.
False statement made in declaration which is by law receivable as evidence (Section 199)
An act of giving a declaration which is false and required by law as evidence of the fact mentioned in the declaration is an offence. The Section contemplates the ‘declaration’ mentioned in its provision as not imperatively similar to the declaration of statements by a person who is legally administered under an oath or bound by an express provision of law by Section 191, IPC.
Section 199 encompasses any declaration or statements which could be voluntary but be admissible as evidence and required to be presented before the courts of justice.
Using as true such declaration knowing to be false (Section 200)
If a person corruptly makes use or attempts to use a declaration being aware that it is false with regard to any material point then he commits an offence under this Section. The explanation to this section further elucidates that even if due to certain failures of completion of formalities if a declaration is found to be inadmissible as evidence, still it can be covered under the purview of this section.
In the case of Jotish Chandra v. State of Bihar declaration of minor son’s age in a suit related to trademark was given subject to the verification of the school authorities and thus, the accused could not have said to have used it corruptly. A person committing an offence under this section is punished in the same manner and with the same sanctions as an offender under the previous section.
II. Causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender. (Section 201)
Hereunder enumerated are the important ingredients to be satisfied for the constitution of an offence under this section:
- Commission of an offence
- Disappearance of an evidence related to the commission of the offence caused by a human
- Such disappearance must have been caused with an intent to screen or save the culprits from punishment; or
- Production of false information about the offence by a person
- Such person must have the awareness and knowledge about the falsity of the information and must have done this with an intent
Further, the punishment for the commission of an offence under this section has been prescribed in accordance to graveness and seriousness of crime, corresponding to which the disappearance of evidence has been caused or false statement given.
Harsh punishment of seven years of imprisonment and fine is imposed if the culprit is trying to save an offender punishable with death. If the crime screened is one which a prescribed punishment of life imprisonment then the culprit will be sentenced for three years of imprisonment and a fine. However, in case a culprit shields an offence for which the prescribed punishment is less than ten years, then such culprit is sentenced with imprisonment of one-fourth of the longest term of imprisonment corresponding to the offence.
Also, guilt of person under section 201 cannot be contemplated on the basis of mere suspicion. Section 201 is independent in nature, which means a person can be punished for committing an offence under this Section although the main offence did not take place or conviction did not take place. For an offence under this section existence of knowledge is sufficient.
The Apex court in the case of Sukhram v. State of Maharashtra did not punish a father for providing his son with shelter as he had no knowledge about the fact that his son had murdered his wife.
Further, the contention as to who are the person falling under the ambit of ‘whoever’ mentioned in the Section, the Apex Court in case stated that, “Section 201 is not restricted to the case of a person who screens the actual offender, it can be applied even to a person guilty of the main offence, though as a matter of practice, a court will not convict a person both of the main offence and under Section 201.”
Intentional omission to give information of offences by person bound to inform (Section 202)
The provisions laid down in this provision are to facilitate the collection of evidence to assist the authorities to take necessary steps so that investigation can be finished timely. And any such act which causes failure to give information regarding the commission of an offence is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months or fine, or with both.
More so, in a prosecution under Section 302, whoever:
- Had knowledge or reasons to believe that an offence has been committed
- With an intent omitted to give evidence corresponding to such offence
- Had a legal obligation to give the evidence
Can be made guilty under this section. Further, ‘whoever’ connotes to a person other than the offender because had it been otherwise it would have lead to self-incrimination which is prohibited under Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution.
Giving false information respecting an offence committed. (Section 203)
A prosecution is required to prove that commission of an offence has taken place with the accused having complete knowledge of it or had reasons to believe in its commission and in furtherance of this if such accused has given false information with respect to such commission knowing it to false.
This section only requires that false information be produced with respect to an offence and there is no necessity to establish any more intent of screening or shielding the culprit.
Destruction of document or electronic record to prevent its production as evidence. (Section 204)
An act of secreting or destroying documents by blotting it out, defacing or erasing certain portions of the document or in entirety with an intent to prevent its production or use as evidence in any court or before any public servant.
Such destruction may be carried out before he was summoned to the court or post that. Secreting of a document is successful when its knowledge is prevented from others.
Section 205. False personation for purpose of act or proceeding in suit or prosecution AND Section 229. Personation of a juror or assessor.
These two sections make impersonating another person an offence when done as a consequence or in furtherance of a criminal or civil proceeding. Fraudulent or dishonest impersonation is not required to establish conviction under these two sections and an impersonation with the consent of the person impersonated will make the act an offence.
Section 229 provides punishment for the impersonation of a juror or an assessor.
Fraudulent removal or concealment of property to prevent its seizure as forfeited or in execution. (Section 206)
An act of delivering, removal or transfer of any property having the intent of defeating the purpose and outcome related to any proceedings of execution or forfeiture orders that may be passed in a judicial proceeding is punishable under this section.
Fraudulent as defined in Section 25 of IPC means an intention to cause injury and deceit to a person. In accordance with Section 195 of CrPC, a complaint must be forwarded by a court wherein such an offence is committed for cognizance to be taken.
Fraudulent claim to property to prevent its seizure as forfeited or in execution (Section 207)
When a person having no rightful claim of a property makes a statement claiming falsely correspondent to such property with an intention to prevent forfeiture or to satisfy a fine or in furtherance of an execution of a decree shall be made punishable under this Section with imprisonment with a description of a term which is subject to an extension of two years.
Section 208. Fraudulently suffering decree for sum not due AND Section 210. Fraudulently obtaining a decree for sum not due
The sections lay down provisions to make punishable the act(s) of a person suffering or obtaining a decree fraudulently for a sum which is not due with respect to him in order to cause injury or deceit must be punished.
Dishonestly making false claim in court. (Section 209)
Making a claim in before the courts of justice knowing to be false is made punishable under this Section. However, the prosecution must not merely establish that the offender had reasons to believe in the falsity of such claim but was well aware in order to constitute an offence contemplated by this section.
False charge of offence made with intent to injury (Section 211)
Falsely accusing or charging a person is made an offence under this section which is very akin to malicious prosecution. The provision laid by this section punishes institution or an act of causing an institution of a criminal proceeding owing to false charges against a person with the intent to cause injury to such person with complete knowledge that no lawful grounds are present to institute such charges or proceedings.
The sanctions of this section can be imposed on a police officer also if he brings upon a person any false criminal charge with an intention to cause injury to that person. Criminal prosecution may be commenced by:
- Complaint under Section 2(d), CrPC
- False charge of a cognizable offence to the police
- Police report to court
- Moving to court through a petition under provisions of CrPC
The false charge must be related to the original accusation which put or seeks to put the motion of criminal investigation into action. Such a false charge could be an offence under any local or special law, and need not an offence under IPC.
Harbouring offender (Section 212)
A presupposition is attached by this section regarding the commission of an offence by another person, whom the offender under this section seeks to shelter or conceal with an intention to save him from the punishment correspondent to the crime he has committed.
However, merely having the knowledge of the whereabouts of an accused does not amount to ‘harbouring’ unless the offender is sending the concerned accused with supplies. For an act to amount to an offence under this section, the person harbouring or concealing must have the knowledge or reasonable belief of the other person being an accused. An act of harbouring or concealment extended by the husband or wife of an offender has been exculpated.
Section 213. Taking gift, etc to screen an offender from punishment AND Section 214. Offering gift or restoration of property in consideration of screening offender
The act of concealment of an offence in return of gifts or gratification in consideration or offering of gifts or gratification in order to screen the offence is made an offence by section 213 and 214 respectively.
A presupposition is attached by this section regarding the commission of an offence by another person before concealment can be done and the same must be proved. Any past gift, favour or future aspects of such things will fall in the ambit of ‘consideration’.
The legislature’s intent to prevent any malpractice of concealment or screening of offences can be found in these two sections. Section 214 is not applicable to offences which are compoundable.
Taking gift to help to recover stolen property, etc. (Section 215)
Hereunder are certain ingredients which are required to be satisfied for the application of this section:
- The offence committed must deprive a person of any movable property
- Agreement of the accused to recover the property to the owner
- For such recovery to be done, gratification must be served to the accused
- Accused must have failed to use all the means and resources he was capable of while causing to apprehend the original offender
Harbouring offender who has escaped from custody or whose apprehension has been ordered. (Section 216)
If a person under the charge of an offence after having escaped from the lawful custody is harboured with the intention of such person harbouring or concealing preventing his arrest is punished under this Section.
The provision does not require the person being harboured or concealed be declared guilty or made convict under IPC and the mere imposition of charge would suffice to attract Section 216.
Unlike Section 212 which contemplates the harbouring of an offender after the commission of an offence, Section 216 deals with harbouring taking place after actual conviction or imposition of charge consequent to such commission and hence, it provides a greater punishment than Section 212. Further, Section 216A, IPC provides for enhanced punishment for harbouring of dacoits or robbers or simply person with an intention to commit dacoity or robbery.
Public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save persons from punishment or property from forfeiture (Section 217)
Any public servant acting in breach of duty, with an intention to screen or save persons from punishment or enabling an offender to a lesser punishment or aids in the prevention of forfeiture of the property be made punishable with simple or rigorous imprisonment of two years.
Public servant framing innocent record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture (Section 218)
If a public servant with an intention to save a person from the imposition of legal sanctions prepares or writes any records and with complete knowledge fabricates or falsifies such public document with an intention to cause injury and loss to the public or saves forfeiture of a property may be made liable under law using this section.
The provisions of this section will still be attracted even if the public servant was trying to save himself. The Section has provided punishment of simple or rigorous punishment for up to three years or fine or both.
Public servant in judicial proceeding corruptly making a report, etc, contrary to law. (Section 219)
Any action of public servant amounting to the making of any false report in a corrupt or malicious manner which results in the pendency of judicial proceedings is an offence punishable with simple or rigorous imprisonment of seven years or fine or both.
Commitment for trial or confinement by person having authority who knows that he is acting contrary to law. (Section 220)
When a public servant acting in contravention to law confines a person or commits a person to trial corruptly or maliciously is made punishable under this section with sanctions same as Section 219.
Section 221. Intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend AND Section 222. Intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend person under sentence or lawfully committed
Section 221 lays down the provision for cases wherein the public servant legally obligated for apprehension or arrest of a person, fails intentionally, or allows the escape of a person under arrest or an attempt to escape from confinement can be made punishable.
With imprisonment of description which may extend to seven years, three years and two years if the person so escaped was punishable with the death penalty, imprisonment for ten years and imprisonment for a term less than ten years respectively.
Additionally, Section 222 talks about the imposition of similar punishment in case the public servant having a legal obligation intentionally omit to apprehend or to keep confined a person under sentence of a court of justice for any offence.
Escape from confinement or custody negligently suffered by a public servant (Section 223)
The omission or failure elucidated in Section 222 if takes place due to negligence of the public servant then Section 223 will be attracted.
Omission to apprehend or sufferance of escape, on part of a public servant, in cases not otherwise, provided for. (Section 225A)
Any situation not covered by Section 222 and Section 223 or any other law wherein a public servant is liable in cases of failure and omission to apprehend or keep confined person can be taken under the scope of this Section.
Section 224. Resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension AND Section 225. Resistance or obstruction to lawful apprehension of another person AND Section 225B. Resistance or obstruction to lawful apprehension, or escape or rescue in cases not otherwise provided for.
All these sections deal with the resistance posed to law. If a person with an intent to resist or obstruct illegally his own arrest with respect to an offence with which he is charged or convicted under, or escapes or makes any such attempt from lawful custody, then an offence under Section 224 is committed.
However, Section 225 contemplates the sanctions to be imposed for the obstruction of any such arrest by a public servant or assists him in escaping or at least in any such attempt. Further, in case any situations are not enumerated under Section 224 – 225, such cases are to be taken care of under Section 225B.
Violation of condition of remission of punishment (Section 227)
Remission refers to the reduction of the sentence a convict is charged with because of his good behaviour subject to certain conditions. Appropriate remission by the Govt is provided under Section 43 of the CrPC.
Section 227 says that if a person having opportune with a conditional remission if violates any such conditions, then an offence under this section is committed and thereby such person be imposed with the original sentence he was earlier serving.
Intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in a judicial proceeding (Section 228)
An intentional abusive remark or disrespect to a judge or interruption of court proceedings is punishable. Hereunder enumerated are the essential ingredients to constitute an offence under this section:
- An intent to disrespect a judge/public servant or to interrupt a judicial proceeding
- The public servant so insulted in the process must be present at any stage of the judicial proceeding
An innocent insult or act of interrupt of trivial nature must not be taken into account to attract the provisions of this section. The fact that the court felt insulted is not a reason to deem the insult intentional. An act amounting to criminal contempt as defined under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 has a wider implication and is not restricted to intentional insults or interruption posed to the court.
Failure by person released on bail or bond to appear in Court (Section 229A)
By virtue of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005, the aforementioned section was inserted. It provides that if a person is released owing to bail or bond then it creates a legal obligation upon him to appear and surrender to custody, failure to which shall make such a person punishable of simple or rigorous punishment of one year, or fine or both.
However, the vices of this section can be avoided if the person shows sufficient reasonable grounds for not appearing.
 Halsbury’s Laws of England (3rd edn. vol 10, p 623)
 State of Rajasthan v Darshan Singh @ Darshan Lal AIR 1973(SC)
 Abdul Majid v Krishna Lal Nag ILR 20 724(Cal)
 U Mistir Wallang v KaEphraben  AIR 259 (Assam)
 Syed Alley EbaRizvi v State  AIR 107(All)
 Re Suo Motu Proceedings against R Karuppan, Advocate  5 SCC 289
  AIR 1831(SC)
 Babu Lal v State of Uttar Pradesh  AIR 725(SC)
  AIR 106(Cal)
 Suresh Chandra Sharma v State of Madhya Pradesh  AIR 3169(SC)
  AIR 2190(SC)
 Emperor v Rama Nana Hagavne  AIR 99 (Bom)
  AIR 523(SC)
 Prafulla Kumar v Emperor  AIR 40(Cal)
 Baban Singh v Jagdish Singh  AIR 68(SC)
  AIR 7(SC)
 Roshanlal v State of Punjab  AIR 1413(SC)
 Palvinder Kaur v State of Punjab 1952 SC 354
 Re Kuttayan alias Nambi Thevar AIR 9(Mad)
  7 SCC 502
 Kalawati v State of Himachal Pradesh  AIR 131(SC)
 Bhagguram v State of Madhya Pradesh  Cr LJ 1129 (MP)
 RP Kapoor v Pratap Singh Kairon  AIR 66(All)
 Santokh Singh v Izhar Hussain  AIR 2190(SC)
 Jagdish Chandra Maity v Emperor  AIR 550(Cal)
 Emperor v Biharilal Kalacharan  AIR 405 (Bom)
 State v Karan Singh Gujar  AIR 191(MP)
 Queen-Emperor v Amiruddin  ILR 3 (Cal) 412
 Sunil v State of Maharashtra  (6) Mh LJ 690
 Kamla Prasad Singh v Hari Nath Singh  AIR 199(SC)
 Prithvi Nath Pandey v. State of Uttar Pradesh  AIR Cr LJ 3623 (All)
 Daroga Singh v. BK Pandey  5 SCC 26
 Malhu Yadav v. State of Bihar  5 SCC 724