Lex punit mendaciam

Lex punit mendaciam

Literal Meaning

The law punishes falsehood.


A Legal Maxim is an established principle or proposition. The Latin term, apparently a variant on maxima, is not to be found in Roman law with any meaning exactly analogous to that of a legal maxim in the Medieval or modern sense of the word, but the treatises of many of the Roman jurists on Regular definitions, and Sententiae juris are, in some measure, collections of maxims. Most of the Latin maxims developed in the Medieval era in European countries that used Latin as their language for law and courts.


Basically, in this legal maxim there are 3 special components which are explained below:

  • The law: the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
  • Punishes: inflict a penalty or sanction on (someone) as retribution for an offence, especially a transgression of a legal or moral code.
  • Falsehood: A statement or assertion known to be untrue, and intended to deceive. A willful act or declaration contrary to the truth. 

(Putnam v. Osgood)[1]

It basically states that the law punishes the acts which are wrongful in nature. The law does not punish the innocent.


A has obtained the office of the police department by showing the false certificates of his caste and his qualification. Here A has committed the offence and he is punishable under Indian penal code. Here law will punish the falsehood. The thing which is wrong and not right in the eyes of law will be punished.

Cases Refered

Rangappa and Others Vs. The State of Karnataka.[2] 

The petition stand disposed of. Further, it is also observed that any person, by obtaining false caste certificate has obtained appointment either in the State or the Central Government, and if it is found that the person has made false gains based on the false certificate, then the said person has to be prosecuted for the above offence. It is necessary to refer to the legal maxim lex punit mendaciam, that means law punishes falsehood. 

Hs Bedi vs National Highway Authority [3]

To enable the Courts to ward off unjustified interference in their working, those who indulge in immoral acts like false claims have to be appropriately dealt with, without which it would not be possible for any Court to administer justice in the true sense and to the satisfaction of those who approach it in the hope that truth would ultimately prevail.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1]  51 N. H. 207

[2] Sep-182-2014 KARnartaka high court

[3] 22 January, 2016 high court of delhi

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