Chapter XI of the Indian Penal Code deals with the offence of giving false evidence. Evidence is the proof given in court to convince the judge of the material facts in the case. Evidence is any statement required by court which needs to be produced. There are two main kinds of evidence, Oral & Documentary Evidence. As the entire case in court hedges on the evidence that is produced, there was a need to include the IPC the offence of false evidence in detail. There are various sections that deal with the fabricating of false evidence.
Giving & fabricating false evidence (section 191-200 and 204)
Sections 191,192 & 193 deal with giving or fabricating of false evidence. Section 191 defines what included false evidence; they are intentionally making a false statement & declaration by a person who is in a legal obligation to speak the truth. The offence of giving false evidence is known as perjury under the English law. However, perjury differs from false evidence in minor ways.
The essential ingredients of false evidence are:
1. Bound by oath
2. by an express provision of law
3. A declaration which a person is bound by law to make on any subject
4. Which statement or declaration is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true.
The making of false evidence amounts to fraud, thus to make a statement of false evidence under this section it must be established that the person was legally bound by oath or an express provision of law. Let us understand these sections with an Illustration, A, in support of a just claim which B has against Z for one thousand rupees, falsely swears on a trial that he heard Z admit the justice of B’s claim. A has given false evidence. The person who presents false evidence in court can be liable to imprisonment for a term of 7 years and fine. If the false evidence is given outside of Court the punishment is imprisonment up to 3 years and fine. Giving false evidence is a non-cognizable offence.
Section 194-195A deals with the aggravated form of this offence. Giving or fabricating false evidence with the intention or knowledge is liable to be published and when such an act amounts to threaten another with an injury to his person, reputation or property. In the case of Santokh Singh v. Izhar Hussain, the accused had given false evidence against Izhar by falsely identifying him in an identification parade. The Supreme Court held that the statement on oath falsely supporting the prosecution case amounts to an offence under section 193 & 195. Section 196-200 deals with offences punishable in the same way as giving or fabricating false evidence
Using False Evidence
Section 196 states whoever corruptly uses or attempts to use as true or genuine evidence which could be genuine, makes the use of false evidence, as if true or real, this offence is punishable. The wordings of this section give it a very wide scope. The term whoever includes even an accused person using false evidence for the purpose of his defence. A person conducting a case on behalf of a party can also be guilty for an offence under this section. The word ‘corruptly’ is not defined in the IPC but through cases, it was decided that it means fraudulently or dishonestly.
Section 197 makes the issuing or signing of false certificates an offence. The essential ingredients of the offence are
- The certificate issued of signed must be one which is required by law to be given or must be one which is admissible in evidence
- The certificate should be false in any material point
- The person issuing or signing it should know it to be false
This section states that the false certificate issues or signed should be admissible into evidence which is without proof of certificate, if a certificate has to be further proved by any witness, then the certificate is not admissible in evidence in law. The using of false certificate has been examined in section 198, The High Court of Rajasthan held the accused guilty under section 198 who use a false certificate issues by the head of an institution for obtaining appointment in government service even though the headmaster was not authorized to issue the certificate and the same was admissible as legal evidence of facts mentioned therein.
Sections 199 & 200 deals with false declaration and the use of false declaration. , the essentials of this section are:
- The document making the declaration should be one, which will be admissible in evidence as per law, as proof of the fact declared in the document.
- The declaration so made must be false
- The person making the declaration must be aware or having knowledge that the statement in the declaration is false.
- The false statement in the declaration must be in respect of a material point for which the declaration is made.
Section 200 deals with the use of a false declaration and this is punishable under the IPC, in the case of Jotish Chandra, the Supreme Court held that the declaration of age of the minor son in the trademarks suit was only given after due verification from the school authorities and hence, the accused could not be said to have done so corruptly.
In conclusion, false evidence is information that is given to bring out a non-favourable outcome for the truth in court. False evidence can be forger, fabricated and tainted, it the job of the party to prove where false evidence is being used. The intention to give false evidence is to procure the conviction and to make the innocent guilty. The punishments laid down in these provisions should be making stricter looking at the rampant practice of false evidence and witnesses.
“The views of the authors are personal“
Frequently Asked Questions
What is tampering with evidence?
Tampering with evidence, or evidence tampering, is an act in which a person alters, conceals, falsifies, or destroys evidence with the intent to interfere with an investigation (usually) by a law-enforcement, governmental, or regulatory authority.
Is perjury a crime in India?
The offence of perjury has been defined in Section 191 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as a false declaration made during a judicial proceeding or under any other legal obligation. Section 193 punishes the former for a maximum period of 7 years and the latter for 3 years.
What is an example of perjury?
For instance, a witness who lies about his whereabouts during the crime is committing perjury. If he lies about how long he has worked for his employer may not be perjury under the law, unless it is somehow material to the topic of the legal matter.
What happens when you lie to a judge?
Perjury is the criminal act of lying or making statements to misrepresent something while under oath. Lying under oath disrupts the judicial process and is taken very seriously. Being convicted of perjury can result in serious consequences, including probation and fines.
- The Indian Penal Code, K.D. Gaur, fourth Edition, Universal Law Publishing Co. p,195-210
- Cecil Turner.J. (2013), Kenny’s Outllines of Criminal Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Textbook of Criminal Law, Glanville Williams, fourth Edition, Sweet & Maxwell South Asian Edition
- Criminal Law, PSA Pillai’s, 11th Edition KI Vibhute, Lexis Nexis
- Santokh Singh v. Izhar Hussain AIR 1973 SC 2190
- Jotish Chandra AIR 1969 SC 7