The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday imposed Rs. 2 lakhs as costs on a litigant who made false averments in an affidavit filed by him in the Court.
Taking a stern view of the incident, Justice Lok Pal Singh asserted that swearing to a false affidavit amounts to perjury, as an affidavit is evidence within the meaning of Section 191 (giving false evidence) of the Indian Penal Code. The Judge, however, restrained himself from proceeding against the litigant in the case under Section 193 IPC, which provides for imprisonment of perjurers.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by one Chandra Shekhar Kargeti under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), demanding quashing of the charges filed against him under Sections 3(1)(p) and 3(1)(q) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Kargeti had been accused of conniving with a few others and making false allegations against the complainant, Geeta Ram Nautiyal, Secretary of the Uttarakhand Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Commission. It was alleged that to this end, Kargeti was posting false Facebook comments about Nautiyal being a corrupt officer.
On the basis of the charge-sheet, the Special Judge (SC/ST Act), Dehradun had taken cognizance of the offences, and had issued summons against Kargeti.
These proceedings were now challenged before the High Court, contending that Nautiyal is a Brahmin and hence, does not belong to the Scheduled Tribe community. In his defence, Nautiyal had submitted a caste certificate issued by the Tehsildar, Chakrata, District Dehradun in 1998, recognizing him as a member of the Jaunsari Scheduled Tribe community.
Examining the documents submitted before it, the Court opined that Kargeti had, in fact, made false averments in order to obtain a favourable order from the Court, noting that he had not filed any evidence to support his assertions. It observed, “From a close scrutiny of the averment made by the applicant in paragraph no. 5 of criminal misc. application, it is abundantly clear that said averment has been made just to mislead and to commit fraud upon the Court and to obtain a favourable order in his favour, which amounts to perjury and fraud upon the Court.
Besides this, the averments are apparently false purported to be based on the record, but no record has been filed in this regard. Rather the record, i.e., the caste certificate of complainant-second respondent shows otherwise that he is a member of Jaunsari Scheduled Tribe Community of the State.”
With this conclusion, the Court ruled that he was not entitled to any relief. Besides, the fact that he was a practicing advocate added to the gravity of the incident, with the Court observes, “… this Court is of the opinion that a heavy cost should be imposed upon the applicant. The applicant is not a layman, rather he is an Advocate, he should be more vigilant and cautious while making a statement on oath in the form of affidavit before the Court, but he made a bald and false statement on oath before this Court.”
Scorning at the practice, the Court added, “Now-a-days many litigants are not afraid in making false statements on oath to mislead the Court and even to commit perjury with the Court. If such acts of litigants committing fraud upon the Court and making false statements on oath to mislead the Court just to obtain a favourable order is permitted to continue unabated it will certainly ruin the sanctity of the courts. Thus, such a litigant should be tackled with strong hands.”
It, therefore, imposed costs of Rs. 2,00,000 on him, asserting that the “sanctity of affidavits” needs to be preserved. He was directed to deposit the amount with the Registry within one month