How the proceedings under 340 CrPC Takes Place?
How complaint is filed?
If the wife has committed perjury in court i.e. suppose she has stated in her examination in chief that she is not working at the time of the application and the husband brings in such record to show that she is actually working. Thus wife has committed perjury by deposing falsely before the court for instance.
Now the thing is what will you do?
Do not act hastely on examination in chief only.
You have to confront her the documents on which she is employed during the cross examination if she admits to the documents then only the case under section 193 will e made out then only a material will be generated. Otherwise you have to lead your defense evidence in which you have to prove the documents which she has denied i.e her employment related documents.
After which you can file an Application U?S. 340 Crpc
What is the stage of filing 340 CrPC application?
The appropriate stage of filing section 340 Crpc application is at the time of completion of PE if the wife has admitted to the documents you have confronted and material is generated.
The other stage is at the time of defence evidence that is after you have proved the document.
The judge will keep the application pending and can decide at the time of final arguments.
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.
Do wife get a chance to argue on 340 CrPC application?
As per the judgement of supreme court Pritesh Vs. State of Maharashtra
Be it noted that the court at the stage envisaged in Section 340 of the Code is not deciding the guilt or innocence of the party against whom proceedings are to be taken before the magistrate. At that stage the court only considers whether it is expedient in the interest of justice that an inquiry should be made into any offence affecting administration of justice. In M.S. Sheriff and anr. vs. State of Madras and ors. (AIR 1954 SC 397) a Constitution Bench of this Court cautioned that no expression on the guilt or innocence of the persons should be made by the court while passing an order under Section 340 of the Code. An exercise of the court at that stage is not for finding whether any offence was committed or who committed the same. The scope is confined to see whether the court could then decide on the materials available that the matter requires inquiry by a criminal court and that it is expedient in the interest of justice to have it inquired into.