Section 340 CrPc is a way to get a relief in the cases of perjury. Now if witness deposes falsely in court then only 340 comes into picture.
When is the right time to apply in court?
Is it at the time of filing the complaint wherein the complainant deposes falsely or at the time of evidence when complainant deposes falsely before oath.
Well the requirement of 340 CrPC is when there is an unimpreachable evidence on record and the complainant deposes falsely with respect to that evidence.
This is means that there has to be a true evidence and in comparison to that there must be falsely deposed statement.
The law under Section 340 on initiating proceedings has been laid down in several of our judgments. Thus in Chajoo Ram vs. Radhey Shyam, (1971) 1 SCC 774, this Court, in para 7, stated:
- No doubt giving of false evidence and filing false affidavits is an evil which must be effectively curbed with a strong hand but to start prosecution for perjury too readily and too frequently without due care and caution and on inconclusive and doubtful material defeats its very purpose. Prosecution should be ordered when it is considered expedient in the interests of justice to punish the delinquent and not merely because there is some inaccuracy in the statement which may be innocent or immaterial. There must be prima facie case of deliberate falsehood on a matter of substance and the court should be satisfied that there is reasonable foundation for the charge.
Chandrapal Singh and Others vs. Maharaj Singh and Another, (1982) 1 SCC 466, this Court, in para 14, stated:
That leaves for our consideration the alleged offence under Section 199. Section 199 provides punishment for making a false statement in a declaration which is by law receivable in evidence. We will assume that the affidavits filed in a proceeding for allotment of premises before the Rent Control Officer are receivable as evidence. It is complained that certain averments in these affidavits are false though no specific averment is singled out for this purpose in the complaint. When it is alleged that a false statement has been made in a declaration which is receivable as evidence in any Court of Justice or before any public servant or other person, the statement alleged to be false has to be set out and its alleged falsity with reference to the truth found in some document has to be referred to pointing out that the two situations cannot co-exist, both being attributable to the same person and, therefore, one to his knowledge must be false.
Rival contentions set out in affidavits accepted or rejected by courts with reference to onus probandi do not furnish foundation for a charge under Section 199, I.P.C. To illustrate the point, appellant 1 Chandrapal Singh alleged that he was in possession of one room forming part of premises No. 385/2. The learned Additional District Judge after scrutinising all rival affidavits did not accept this contention. It thereby does not become false. The only inference is that the statement made by Chandrapal Singh did not inspire confidence looking to other relevant evidence in the case. Acceptance or rejection of evidence by itself is not a sufficient yardstick to dub the one rejected as false.
R.S. Sujatha vs. State of Karnataka and Others, (2011) 5 SCC 689 (at paras 15 & 16). This Court, after setting down the law laid down in these two judgments concluded:
Thus, from the above, it is evident that the inquiry/contempt proceedings should be initiated by the court in exceptional circumstances where the court is of the opinion that perjury has been committed by a party deliberately to have some beneficial order from the court. There must be grounds of a nature higher than mere surmise or suspicion for initiating such proceedings. There must be distinct evidence of the commission of an offence by such a person as mere suspicion cannot bring home the charge of perjury. More so, the court has also to determine as on facts, whether it is expedient in the interest of justice to inquire into the offence which appears to have been committed.
What if wife did not disclose her income and give false statement regarding her income?
In Jagdish Prashad Vs. State the court emphasized on twin requirements of 340 Crpc at first the court has to form an opinion based on an enquiry so enquiry and forming opinion is the basic requirement in 340 Crpc.
So for inquiry this example and judgement hold good now what happened in the above judgement
On 12th February 2004, Respondent No.2 was examined in chief in the maintenance petition. She stated: “I was not working anywhere after my marriage, I was not working till today anywhere from the date when I was kicked out from my matrimonial home.” She was cross examined on 7th April 2004 and was asked whether she was doing any job during the pendency of the petition. She replied that “since after coming to my parental home, I am not doing any job. I have one bank account in Co- operative Bank. It is incorrect to suggest that after coming to my parental home, I have worked with Tirath Ram Shah Charitable Hospital, Rajpur Road, Delhi.” In response to another specific question whether she was holding a bank account at Punjab National Bank, Civil Lines she stated as under:
“It is wrong to suggest that I am holding an account which is 427791 in the above said bank i.e., PNB”
5. Consequent upon the above replies in cross examination, the Petitioner filed an application under Section 340 CrPC seeking the prosecution of the Petitioner for committing perjury punishable underSection 193 CrPC.
6. It appears that a reply was filed to the said petition by Respondent No.2. Even evidence appears to have been led by examining the officials from both the Punjab National Bank as well as the Tirath Ram Shah Charitable Hospital.
7. RW-2 D.S. Bandari, Senior Manager, Punjab National Bank, Civil Lines, Delhi was examined on 28th September 2004. He confirmed that an account had been open by Respondent No.2 with the bank with the addresses “C/o Tirathram Shah Hospital, 2 Battery Lane, Rajpur Road, Delhi -54.” He stated:
“On 20.07.01 Smt. Veena Bhatt opened her account in Punjab National Bank, Civil Lines, Delhi. The account was introduced by Sh.B.Arora, SF account No.11908 with the address C/o Tirathram Shah Hospital, 2 Battery Lain(sic Lane), Rajpur Road, Delhi-54 with a initial amount of Rs.500/-. She was allotted account No.427791. Statement of the account since opening of the account till today is exhibited as Ex.RW2/A, Ex.RW2/B, Ex.RW2/C, Ex.RW2/D. At the time of opening of account Smt. Veena Bhatt stated her occupation “service” which has been written in point A over Ex.RW2/D.
8. RW-3 Manoj Nair, AAO, Tirath Ram Shah Hospital in his examination in chief stated as under:-
“The authority letter given by Dr.A.K.Dubey, Director is Ex.RW3/A. That from 06.06.01 to 10.06.02 Mrs.Veena served in Tirath Ram Shah Hospital. She was working as a receptionist on fixed term contract basis. The gross salary of Mrs.Veena was Rs.3,572/- only. Her employment no. was 1225. I identify Mrs. Veena who is present in the court. There was break in service for one day. Smt. Veena Bhatt was working as a receptionist and not as a trainee as per the record. In my hospital no receptionist trainee are engaged. She has not applied for the renewal of her further contract after 10.06.02. I can submit a copy of the application form and record of salary if required. The original is before this hon’ble court. Application for employment form is Ex.RW3/B (four pages) and the copy of salary register for the month of June, 2001 to June, 2002 are collectively Ex.RW3/C (12 pages).”
9. The cross examination only elicited the following clarification by Respondent No.2:-
“It is correct that Smt. Veena had not worked in the hospital as a permanent hospital (sic) or on ad hoc basis or on temporary basis she had worked only on contract basis.
10. The learned MM in the order dated 9th September 2005 came to the following conclusion:-
“I have gone through the record of the present application as well as the petition underSection 125 Cr.P.C., which is pending in the present court. Smt. Veena may have had a genuine cause for having worked as proved against her in her case and also admitted by her in the present proceedings. Nevertheless her pressing requirements for income does not exonerate her from the offence of having given false testimony in the court.
I am, therefore, of the opinion that Smt. Veena has committed an offence under Section 193IPC and she ought to be prosecuted for the same.”
Therefore it is important to lead evidence in defence before moving application under 340 CrPC.
Adv. Nitish Banka