The Bombay High Court recently directed that action be initiated against a husband for making allegations against his wife in his anticipatory bail application, despite such allegations having been found to be false during police investigation.
Justice A.S. Gadkari was hearing an application filed under Section 340 read with Section 195 (prosecution for contempt of lawful authority of public servants) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Application had been filed by the wife's father, Mr. Fareed Ahmed Qureshi, who was also the first informant in a case alleging that his daughter was being harassed for dowry.
In his application for anticipatory bail before the Sessions Judge, the husband had alleged that the wife was having an extra-marital affair. This was then negated by the Investigating Officer, who found the allegations incorrect during his probe. The husband, however, continued to make such allegations against the wife in his application for anticipatory bail as filed before the High Court.
During the hearing, Advocate Nilesh Ojha, appearing for the applicant, pointed out that there was a growing tendency among litigants to file false affidavits before the Court in order to obtain favorable orders. He contended, "The judicial system has a right and a duty to protect itself from such conduct by the litigants and to ensure that where such conduct has taken place, the matter is investigated and reaches its logical conclusion and depending on the finding which is returned in such proceedings, appropriate punishment is meted out.
Unless the judicial system protects itself from such wrongdoing by taking cognizance, directing prosecution, and punishing those found guilty, it will be failing in its duty to render justice to the citizens. Litigation caused by false claims and defences will come to be placed before the courts, load the dockets and delay delivery of justice to those who are genuinely in need of it."
He then relied on several precedents, including the Supreme Court's rejection of Asaram Bapu's bail application and the subsequent order for launching prosecution against him for filing a false affidavit before the Court.
Accepting such contentions, the Court relied on the decision in the case of CTR Manufacturing Industries Limited v. Sergi Transformer Explosion Prevention & Ors., noting that "in a proceeding under Section 340 of the Cr.P.C. only a prima facie opinion is required to be reached by this Court and challenge is required to be established during trial".
It then opined that a prima facie case had been made out against the husband and ordered, "In view thereof, the Registrar (Judicial-II) attached to this Court is, directed to draw and make appropriate complaint before the competent Court having jurisdiction for the offence mentioned in Section 195(1)(b) of the Cr.P.C. and to submit it before the Court of concerned Magistrate having jurisdiction."