We are of the considered view that initiation of proceedings in the present case was not consistent with the parameters laid down by this court, the bench said.
The Supreme Court has closed criminal proceedings initiated by Madhya Pradesh High Court against BJP MP Prof. Chintamani Malviya for perjury.
The notice in an election petition was served on the MP through process server. Months later after the date of appearance, the MP filed an application before the court stating that the process server had served notice and documents on one of the employees while he was in Delhi and that he came to know about the petition only recently.
The election petitioner, MP from Ujjain Lok Sabha Constituency, thereafter filed an application before the court alleging that the MP had committed perjury by stating falsely that the notice in the election petition was given to his employee whereas said notice was actually served upon him by the process server. The high court then directed the registry to register a criminal case and to conduct appropriate inquiry under Section 340 CrPC. In the meantime, election petition was also dismissed.
While ordering so, the high court observed: “More cautious and responsible approach was expected from the respondent being representative of people and professor himself. He is expected to understand the consequences of not appearing before the Court of law and especially before the High Court. Therefore, in this case, lenient and sympathetic view is not called for.”
On appeal by the MP before the apex court, it observed that the assessment made by the high court does not satisfy the parameters and requirements as laid down in Chajoo Ram v Radhey Shyam.
The bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice UU Lalit said: “The law is clear, “prosecution should be ordered when it is considered expedient in the interest of justice to punish the delinquent…. and there must be prima facie case of deliberate falsehood on the matter of substance and the Court should be satisfied that there is reasonable foundation for the charge.”
It also referred to recent decision in Amarsang Nathaji v Hardik Harshadbhai Patel, wherein it was held that mere fact that a person made a contradictory statement in a judicial proceeding was not by itself always sufficient to justify prosecution under Sections 199 and 200 of Indian Penal Code.