Basi Reddy, J.
1. This is an appeal by the State Government against the acquittal of the respondent by the First Class Magistrate, Anantapur, of a charge under Section 193, Cr, P. C.
2. The order of acquittal is manifestly wrong and has to be set aside. The learned Magistrate has based his judgment of acquittal on two grounds both of which are untenable.
3. On his own showing, the respondent had given two contradictory statements on oath, one under Section 164, Cr. P. C., Exhibit P-3, and the other at the preliminary enquiry which is marked as Exhibit P-1. Indeed in the course of his deposition before the committing Court, the respondent had admitted that the statement he had made before the Sub Magistrate under Section 164, Cr. P. C. was false.
Thus on his own admission the respondent had made two statements on oath one of which was false. Therefore the District Magistrate of Gooty filed a complaint against the respondent under Section 476, Cr. P. C. for an offence under Section 193 IPC after recording a finding that it was expedient in the interests of justice that the respondent should be prosecuted for an offence under Section 193, I.P.C.
4. The learned First Class Magistrate of Anantapur who tried the case as G. C. No. 10 of 1956 acquitted the respondent on two grounds: (1) that 'the statement recorded under Section 164, Cr. P. C. is made only during investigation and not during a judicial proceeding' and (2) 'the case should stand only if it is proved that what the accused stated before the District Magistrate as per Exhibit P-1 is false. The prosecution has not let in any evidence in this direction and satisfied itself with placing the two contradictory statements Exhibits P-1 and P-3 before the Court.'
5. As regards the first ground, it has been settled law for a long time that an investigation under Chapter XIV of the Criminal Procedure Code is a stage of a judicial proceeding and a person who makes on oath statements which he knew to be false before a Magistrate conducting the investigation, gives false evidence and commits an offence under Section 193, I.P.C. This was laid down in Suppa Tevan v. Emperor, ILR 29 Mad 89 and this view has been consistently followed by the Madras High Court, and is binding on this Court.
Exhibit P-3, therefore, in this case is a statement given in a stage of judicial proceeding. The second ground which weighed with the learned trial Magistrate is equally unsound. His view that unless the prosecution can show that the statement made before the committal Court is false, a conviction under Section 193 cannot be had, is clearly erroneous. In the present case the charge against the respondent was that he had made two statements on oath, one of which must necessarily be false.
6. The learned Magistrate has relied on a decision of Somasundaram J. in Bayamma v. State, : AIR1953Mad745 in support of his view. But in that case the learned Judge was considering the question whether it was expedient in the interests of justice that a prosecution should be launched in the circumstances of that case against the persons concerned.
He was dealing with a revision filed against an order directing a complaint to be filed for an offence under Section 193, I.P.C. In dealing with the case, the learned Judge observed that as the District Magistrate who had directed the laying of a complaint had not given any categorical finding as to which of the two contradictory statements was false, it was not expedient in the interests of justice to direct the filing of a complaint.
That may be a relevant consideration in deciding whether a complaint should be laid or not. I am not expressing any opinion on that point. But once a complaint has been laid, and it has not been challenged in appeal and the trial ensues, it is not open to the accused to try to put the clock back and contend that the laying of the complaint itself was not expedient in the interests of justice.
Once the case comes up for trial, the question which of the two statements is false, is really not germane to the question whether the accused has intentionally given false evidence on oath. That the accused might have given the first statement under police pressure as alleged by him and that he had stated the truth in his later statement, have no relevancy in adjudicating the question whether or not an offence under Section 193, I. P. C. has been made out.
Such considerations may have a bearing on thequestion of sentence but not on the question ofguilt. Illustration (b) to Section 236, Cr. P. C. makes theposition crystal clear. It matters not which of thetwo statements is false.
7. In this view of the matter I am satisfied that the respondent had intentionally given false evidence in a judicial proceeding and the order of acquittal is wrong. I therefore allow this appeal, set aside the order of acquittal and convict the respondent of an offence under Section 193, I.P.C.
8. As regards sentence, the false statements were made more than two and a half years ago and the statements themselves were not material in deciding the case of murder in relation to which they are said to have been made. The statements merely tended to show whether the approver in that murder case had been tampered with at the instance of the respondent.
The murder case itself ended in acquittal forother reasons. Taking into consideration the aforesaid circumstances, I feel that the ends of justicewill be met by sentencing the respondent to imprisonment till the rising of the Court and to pay afine of Rs. 250/- and in default to suffer threemonths' R. I.