Delhi High Court, on Friday, called upon the Courts to invoke Section 209 of the Indian Penal Code in appropriate cases against the litigants who indulge in false claims. Justice J.R. Midha of Delhi High Court said that the litigants indulge in false claims because of the confidence that no action will be taken.
The Court made these observations in its 99 page judgment in Regular First Appeal. The appellant in this case, made a false claim before the Court and issued a show cause notice to the appellant to show cause why a complaint be not made against him under Section 340 CrPC for making a false claim under Section 209 of the Indian Penal Code. The Appellant later tendered unconditional apology which was accepted by the Court subject to deposit of costs of Rs. 50,000. The Court then heard the counsels on the scope of Section 209 of IPC and passed an elaborate judgment on the same
Need for invoking Section 209 IPC
Procedure to complain ‘offence’ under Section 209 IPC Explained
Lawyers should not make claims in court which he knows is false
The court observed “a lawyer having actual knowledge about the falsity of a client’s claim (or after he subsequently acquires that knowledge), is not supposed to proceed to make that claim in Court and thereby, allow the client to gain something that he is not legally entitled to, or causes the adversary to lose something which he is legally entitled to. A lawyer should decline to accept instructions and/or doubt his client’s instructions if they plainly appear to be without foundation (eg, lacking in logical and/or legal coherence). However, a lawyer is not obliged to verify his client’s instructions with other sources unless there is compelling evidence to indicate that it is dubious. The fact that the opposing parties (or parties allied to them) dispute the veracity of his client’s instructions is not a reason for a lawyer to disbelieve or refuse to act on those instructions, and a lawyer should not be faulted if there are no reasonable means of objectively assessing the veracity of those instructions”
Litigants must come to court with clean hands
The Court made following observation on litigants “The Courts of law are meant for imparting justice between the parties. One who comes to the Court, must come with clean hands. More often than not, process of the Court is being abused. Property grabbers, tax-evaders, bank-loan-dodgers and other unscrupulous persons from all walks of life find the Court-process a convenient lever to retain the illegal gains indefinitely. A person, whose case is based on falsehood, has no right to approach the Court. He can be summarily thrown out at any stage of the litigation.”
Judge not a mere umpire, but explorer of truth
The court observed that a Judge is not a mere umpire at a wit-combat between the lawyers for the parties whose only duty is to enforce the rules of the game and declare at the end of the combat who has won and who has lost. He is expected, and indeed it is his duty, to explore all avenues open to him in order to discover the truth and to that end, question witnesses on points which the lawyers for the parties have either overlooked or left obscure or wilfully avoided. A Judge, who at the trial merely sits and records evidence without caring so to conduct the examination of the witnesses that every point is brought out, is not fulfilling his duty, the Court observed.
Read the Judgment here.