The Karnataka High Court, interpreting provisions of 195 A of the Indian Penal Code observed the said provision is not restricted that threatening only by the accused.
Justice HP Sandesh was considering an appeal against the Trial Court order which rejected a witness's application under 195A of the Criminal Procedure on the ground that the accused persons named in the application are nothing to do with the case on hand.
Gurunathagouda, a witness in a murder case, filed an application investigation against two police and an Ex-Minister for threatening the witnesses to give evidence in favour of the accused in the murder case. The court rejected the application on the ground that the persons named in the application have nothing to do with the case on hand and that the applicant nor witnesses who examined before the Court in pending have never whispered anything against any one of the accused about threat or etc.
In the appeal filed by him, the high court noted that the allegations are made against other than the accused persons that too mainly two police officers and also against the Ex-Minister. The court observed that a witness or any other person may file a complaint in relation to an offence under Section 195-A of IPC. The bench also observed that whoever threatens another with intent to cause that person to give false evidence shall be punished, whether they are accused or any other person.
"Further it has to be noted that the said application has to be filed by witness or any other person and need not necessarily be a witness, even any other person may file a complaint in relation to an offence under Section 195- A of IPC which is specifically mentioned with regard to threatening of any person giving false evidence, the word is used in Section 195A of IPC whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause that person to give false evidence shall be punished with imprisonment. When the word has been used under Section 195-A of IPC whoever threatens another and it is not restricted that threatening only by the accused persons, but the Court below while rejecting the application comes to the conclusion that the relief as sought by the petitioner is out of the jurisdiction of the Court, because the accused persons named in the application are nothing to do with the case on hand and when the fact of threat is caused to the witness in respect of particular case in SC No.50/2017, the trial Court ought to have considered the same and the Constitution enshrined that a fair trial is also a part of dispensation of justice"
The court also rejected the state's contention against maintainability of the appeal. The court said:
"The word used in Section 340, it is clear that when it appears to the Court that an offence has been committed in or in relation to a proceeding in that Court, the very application under Section 195-A of Cr.P.C. also comes within purview of Section 340 of Cr.P.C. since offences are against public justice and when it comes within the purview of Section 340, the appeal lies under Section 341 of Cr.P.C."
The court noted that specific allegation in the application is that the said threat has been made in connection with the case which is pending before the Court. The bench then set aside the order and asked the court below to consider it afresh.