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341-352 read with 193 IPC - ipc lecture series

Broadly, Section 195 Cr.P.C. deals with three distinct categories of offences which have been described in clauses (a), (b)(i) and (b)(ii) and they relate to (1) contempt of lawful authority of public servants, (2) offences against public justice, and (3) offences relating to documents given in evidence. Clause (a) deals with offences punishable under Sections 172 to 188 IPC which occur in Chapter X of the IPC and the heading of the Chapter is  'Of Contempts Of The Lawful Authority Of Public Servants'. These are offences which directly affect the functioning of or discharge of lawful duties of a public servant. Clause (b)(i) refers to offences in Chapter XI of IPC which is headed as  'Of False Evidence And Offences Against Public Justice'. The offences mentioned in this clause clearly relate to giving or fabricating false evidence or making a false declaration in any judicial proceeding or before a Court of justice or before a public servant who is bound or authorized by law to receive such declaration, and also to some other offences which have a direct co-relation with the proceedings in a Court of justice (Sections 205 and 211 IPC). This being the scheme of two provisions or clauses of Section 195, viz., that the offence should be such which has direct bearing or affects the functioning or discharge of lawful duties of a public servant or has a direct correlation with the proceedings in a court of justice, the expression "when such offence is alleged to have been committed in respect of a document produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in a Court" occurring in clause (b)(ii) should normally mean commission of such an offence after the document has actually been produced or given in evidence in the Court. The situation or contingency where an offence as enumerated in this clause has already been committed earlier and later on the document is produced or is given in evidence in Court, does not appear to be in tune with clauses (a)(i) and (b)(i) and consequently with the scheme of Section 195 Cr.P.C. This indicates that clause (b)(ii) contemplates a situation where the offences enumerated therein are committed with respect to a document subsequent to its production or giving in evidence in a proceeding in any Court.


Section 195(1) mandates a complaint in writing of the Court for taking cognizance of the offences enumerated in clauses (b) (i) and (b)(ii) thereof. Sections 340 and 341 Cr.P.C. which occur in Chapter XXVI give the procedure for filing of the complaint and other matters connected therewith. The heading of this Chapter is --'Provisions As To Offences Affecting The Administration Of Justice'. Though, as a general rule, the language employed in a heading cannot be used to give a different effect to clear words of the Section where there cannot be any doubt as to their ordinary meaning, but they are not to be treated as if they were marginal notes or were introduced into the Act merely for the purpose of classifying the enactments. They constitute an important part of the Act itself, and may be read not only as explaining the Sections which immediately follow them, as a preamble to a statute may be looked to explain its enactments, but as affording a better key to the constructions of the Sections which follow them than might be afforded by a mere preamble.. The fact that the procedure for filing a complaint by Court has been provided in Chapter XXVI dealing with offences affecting administration of justice, is a clear pointer of the legislative intent that the offence committed should be of such type which directly affects the administration of justice, viz., which is committed after the document is produced or given in evidence in Court. Any offence committed with respect to a document at a time prior to its production or giving in evidence in Court cannot, strictly speaking, be said to be an offence affecting the administration of justice. The underlying purpose of enacting Section 195(1)(b) and 340 seems to be to control the temptation on the part of the private parties to start criminal prosecution on frivolous vexations or unsufficient grounds inspired by a revengeful desire to harass or spite their opponents. These offences have been selected for the court's control because of their direct impact on the judicial process. It is the judicial process or the administration of public justice which is the direct and immediate object or the victim of these offences. As the purity of the proceedings of the court is directly sullied by the crime, the court is considered to be the only party entitled to consider the desirability of complaining against the guilty party. The private party who might ultimately suffer can persuade the Civil Court to file complaint. the offences about which the court alone is clothed with the right to complain may, therefore, be appropriately considered to be only those offences committed by a party to a proceeding in that court, the commission of which has a reasonably close nexus with the proceeding in that court so that it can without embarking upon a completely independent and fresh inquiry, satisfactorily consider by reference principally to its records the expediency of prosecuting the delinquent party. It, therefore, appears to be more appropriate to adopt the strict construction of confirming the prohibition contained in Section 195(1)(c) only to those cases in which the offences specified therein were committed by a party to the proceeding in character as such party. The Legislature could not have intended to extend the prohibition contained in Section 195(1)(c) to the offences mentioned therein, when committed by a party to a proceeding in that court prior to his becoming such party.

in Raghunath vs. State of U.P. 1973(1) SCC 564. Here, the accused had obtained sale deed of the property of a widow by setting up of an imposter and thereafter filed a mutation application before the Tehsildar The widow contested the mutation application on the ground that she had never executed the sale deed and thereafter filed a criminal complaint under Sections 465, 468 and 471 IPC in which the accused were convicted. In appeal, it was contended that the private complaint was barred by virtue of Section 195(1)(c) Cr.P.C. and the revenue court alone could have filed the complaint. The court repelled the aforesaid contention and the private complaint was held to be maintainable. Supreme Court in Budhu Ram V. State of Rajasthan [(1963) 3 SCR 376] considered the scope of Section 195 and held thus:


"It will be seen on a plain grammatical construction of this provision that a complaint by the court is required where the offence is of forging or of using as genuine any document which is know or believed to be a forged document when such document is produced or given in evidence in court. It is clear therefore that it is only when the forged document is produced in Court that a complaint by the Court is required. Where, however, what is produced before the court is not the forged document itself, s.195(1)(c) will not apply on its terms. The reason for this, as stated by the Judicial Committee, 'is the practical common sense of the matter, for the court before which a copy of a document is produced is not really in a position to express any opinion on the genuineness of the original'. Therefore, even if the Assistant Settlement Officer is assumed to be a court within the meaning of s.195(l)(c) no complaint was necessary because the forged document itself was not produced before the Assistant Settlement Officer in this case but only a copy thereof." Iqbal Singh Marwah & Anr vs Meenakshi Marwah & Anr on 11 March, 2005


The scope of the preliminary enquiry envisaged in Section 340(1) of the Code is to ascertain whether any offence affecting administration of justice has been committed in respect of a document produced in court or given in evidence in a proceeding in that Court. In other words, the offence should have been committed during the time when the document was in custodia legis.


12. It would be a strained thinking that any offence involving forgery of a document if committed far outside the precincts of the Court and long before its production in the Court, could also be treated as one affecting administration of justice merely because that document later reached the court records.


23. The sequitur of the above discussion is that the bar contained in Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of the Code is not applicable to a case where forgery of the document was committed before the document was produced in a court." Hence in the light of the decision of the Constitution Bench in Iqbal Singh Marwah and another v. Meenakshi Marwah and Another - 2005 (4) SCC 370 if the forgery is committed prior to the production of the document before court, no enquiry under Section 340 Cr.P.C may be necessary and, therefore, with regard to the said offence either the court can inform the police about the commission of those offences or can straightaway prefer a complaint before the competent Magistrate without an enquiry under Section 340 Cr.P.C. or can leave it to the aggrieved person to set the law in motion by either lodging a complaint before the police or before the Magistrate. Amarsang Nathaji As Himself And As ... vs Hardik Harshadbhai Patel And Ors on 23 November, 2016

The mere fact that a person has made a contradictory statement in a judicial proceeding is not by itself always sufficient to justify a prosecution under Sections 199 and 200 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) (hereinafter referred to as “the IPC”); but it must be shown that the defendant has intentionally given a false statement at any stage of the judicial proceedings or fabricated false evidence for the purpose of using the same at any stage of the judicial proceedings. Even after the above position has emerged also, still the court has to form an opinion that it is expedient in the interests of justice to initiate an inquiry into the offences of false evidence and offences against public justice and more specifically referred in Section 340(1) of the CrPC, having regard to the overall factual matrix as well as the probable consequences of such a prosecution. . The court must be satisfied that such an inquiry is required in the interests of justice and appropriate in the facts of the case.


In the process of formation of opinion by the court that it is expedient in the interests of justice that an inquiry should be made into, the requirement should only be to have a prima facie satisfaction of the offence which appears to have been committed. It is open to the court to hold a preliminary inquiry though it is not mandatory. In case, the court is otherwise in a position to form such an opinion, that it appears to the court that an offence as referred to under Section 340 of the CrPC has been committed, the court may dispense with the preliminary inquiry. Even after forming an opinion as to the offence which appears to have been committed also, it is not mandatory that a complaint should be filed as a matter of course.

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