Private Complaint Alleging Offence Under Section 193 IPC Not Maintainable: SC [Read Judgment]

Private Complaint Alleging Offence Under Section 193 IPC Not Maintainable: SC [Read Judgment]

"The category of offences which fall under Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Cr.P.C. refer to the offence of giving false evidence and offences against public justice which is distinctly different from those offences under Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of Cr.P.C, where a dispute could arise whether the offence of forging a document was committed outside the court or when it was in the custody of the court."

The Supreme Court has reiterated that a private complaint alleging an offence under Section 193 IPC [False Evidence in Judicial Proceedings] is not maintainable.

The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer upheld the Patna High Court order that had set aside a Magistrate's order taking cognizance of the offence under the said provision on the basis of a private complaint.

Narendra Kumar Srivastava had filed a private complaint against officials of Doordarshan and All India Radio alleging commission of offence under Section 193 read with Section 34 of the IPC alleging that because of the false and wrong statement made by the officials in their show-cause affidavit, the High Court dropped the contempt case which was filed against this. The Magistrate took cognizance of the complaint. Allowing the revision petition filed against this order, the High Court set aside the magistrate order.

The issue, in this case, was the Magistrate could have taken cognizance of an offence punishable under Section 193 of the IPC on the basis of a private complaint?

The bench referred to Section 193 IPC, Section 195 CrPC and observed the offences under Section 195(1)(b)(i) and Section 195(1)(b)(ii) are clearly distinct. The first category of offences refers to offences of false evidence and offences against public justice, whereas, the second category of offences relates to offences in respect of a document produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in any court, the court said. The court also noted that Section 195 of the Cr.P.C. contains no direction for the guidance of the court which desires to initiate prosecution in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed in or in relation to a proceeding in the latter court. The court then referred to Section 340 CrPC and said:

"Section 340 of Cr.P.C. makes it clear that a prosecution under this Section can be initiated only by the sanction of the court under whose proceedings an offence referred to in Section 195(1)(b) has allegedly been committed. The object of this Section is to ascertain whether any offence affecting administration of justice has been committed in relation to any document produced or given in evidence in court during the time when the document or evidence was in custodia legis and whether it is also expedient in the interest of justice to take such action. The court shall not only consider prima facie case but also see whether it is in or against public interest to allow a criminal proceeding to be instituted."

The bench also observed that though Section 340 of the Cr.P.C. is a generic section for offences committed under Section 195(1)(b), the same has different and exclusive application to clauses (i) and (ii) of Section 195(1)(b) of the Cr.P.C

Much reliance was placed on Sachida Nand Singh and Anr. v. State of Bihar to contend that it was not mandatory to obtain prior sanction for filing a private complaint under Section 193 of the IPC. The bench noted that the issue in Sachida Nand was whether the bar contained in Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of the Cr.P.C. is applicable to a case where forgery of the document was committed before the document was produced in a court. Holding that the said judgment has no application, in this case, the bench said:

"In Sachida Nand Singh (supra), this Court had dealt with Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of the Cr.P.C unlike the present case which is covered by the preceding clause of the Section. The category of offences which fall under Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Cr.P.C. refer to the offence of giving false evidence and offences against public justice which is distinctly different from those offences under Section 195(1)(b)(ii) of Cr.P.C, where a dispute could arise whether the offence of forging a document was committed outside the court or when it was in the custody of the court."

Upholding the High Court judgment, the bench said that the present case squarely falls within the category of cases falling under Section 195(1)(b)(i) of the Cr.P.C. as the offence is punishable under Section 193 of the IPC.

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