S.S. Dhavan, J.
1. Notice was issued to six police officials and to Ali Hasan to show cause why they should not be prosecuted for perjury and/or fabricating or using false evidence in a suit for malicious prosecution which was filed by one Narmada Shankar against certain police officials. In response to this notice six of them have appeared while the seventh has not yet been served. The police officials were all posted at Karakat police station, district Jaunpur when the incident occurred. The respondents who have appeared before me are Danpal Singh head constable, Bindeshwari, writer constable, Bhola, Ram Chandra Ahir and Nizamul Haq, constables and Ali Hasan, a witness for the police. The seventh respondent Khalil Ahmad, who was the station officer in charge of Kerakat police station at the time, remained unserved and his case cannot he decided by this order.
2. The facts very briefly are these. Narmada Shankar was a government official who was posted as postmaster of Kerakat in May, 1952. In his suit for malicious prosecution against Danpal Singh, Bindeshwari, Bhola Ahir and Ram Chandra Shir he alleged that a complaint of a very vague nature was filed against him by one Sahdev Singh who alleged that five persons (other than the plaintiff) had assaulted him and committed an offence under Sections 323 and 147, I.P.C. and stated vaguely that these five committed the assault at the instigation of the plaintiff whom he described as belonging to the group of the assaulters. This report was filed on 1.5.1952 but the police took no action at it. More than a month later, on 9th June, the Station Officer of Kerakat (the respondent Khalil Ahmad who has not appeared today) called him to the police station and asked him to furnish security for his presence if and when required. The plaintiff alleged in response to this demand he went to the police station accompanied by a Mukhtar who was to stand surety but on arrival he was maltreated by the police officials, the constable Bhola Ahir rudely dragged him in the office and used filthy language against him, the head constable Panpal Singh and the writer constable Bindhe-shwarj behaved arrogantly, refused to accept the surety, and directed the constables, Bhola and Ram Chandra Ahir to lock him up.
The plaintiff alleged that these constables put him in the lock-up, giving him two first blows in the process, but subsequently respectable persons of the locality arrived and he was released after furnishing sureties Narmada Shankar complained that his arrest was illegal and charged the defendants with conspiracy to disgrace and harass him and claimed a sum of Rs. 500 as damages for wrongful imprisonment loss of reputation and prestige, bodily injury and mental agony. All the defendants resisted the suit and denied all liabilities. They admitted the plaintiff's arrest and detention in the lock-up but gave their own version of the circumstances under which he was arrested. They alleged that the plaintiff was on bad terms with one Sehdeva Singh who filed a complaint that he had been assaulted by five persons at the instigation of the plaintiff who was standing at some distance when the assault took place. The defendants admitted that the complaint was not investigated for some time but Sehdev Singh approached the Superintendent of Police who directed an investigation. During the resulting investigation, the defendants alleged that several persons implicated the plaintiff. Thereupon 'the Station Officer had no option but to order the arrest of the plaintiff', but as the plaintiff was known to him the Station Officer did not arrest him straightaway but summoned him to the police station and asked him to furnish security which the plaintiff promised to do by the evening. But he did not furnish security on that day nor during the next two days in patio of a reminder sent by the station officer. Thereupon the station officer deputed a constable by the name of Nizamul Haq (one of the respondents before him) to arrest him.
Nizamul Haq arrested the plaintiff on the 9th evening near the bus stand in the town and brought him to the police station. Even then the plaintiff offered no surety but felt that his vanity was wounded and abused the constable who took him to the thana. At that time, according to the defendants, the station officer was away on duty, the second officer on leave, and the head constable had gone to town on private business, and only the writer constable and the three other constables were present. As no surety was offered and the constables had no power to release him on bail, the plaintiff had to be loeked-up, but later when the sureties turned up and the head constable returned to the thana the plaintiff was released forthwith. The defendants denied having assaulted or abused or maltreated the plaintiff in any way. They contended that the plaintiff's arrest was according to law and made in good faith.
3. Thus there was a conflict of versions with regard to the circumstances and a manner of arrest and the treatment of the plaintiff on arrival at the police station. The defendant produced in evidence the station officer (not a party in the suit) who deposed that he issued as order under Section 56, Cri.P.C. for the arrest of the plaintiff and handed it over to all the four constables including Nizamul Haq, charging them with the duty of executing it by arresting the plaintiff. He was not present at the time when the incident took place at the police station in the evening of 9th June. The respondent Nizamul Haq deposed that he arrested the plaintiff at the bus station and took him to the police station. The respondent Dan Pal Singh deposed that he was not present when the plaintiff was brought to the police station as he had gone to the city for the purpose of taking light refreshments 'khurd-uosh'-(the time was 4 P.M. on the 9th of June). The other two defendants admitted that they put the plaintiff in a lock up but denied that they assaulted him. During the trial of the suit the defendants produced what they claimed to be a certified copy of the order of arrest issued under Section 56, Cri.P.C. and subsequently the order in original itself.
4. Both the courts below preferred to believe the defendants version and dismissed the suit for malicious prosecution with costs and the plaintiff came to this Court in second appeal. The hearing of this appeal lasted several days. I came to the conclusion that the trial Court had committed several errors of law and procedure; that it relied on documents which ought not to have been admitted, that its findings were based on no evidence and that the appellate court's assessment of the evidence was also vitiated by several errors of law. I pointed out that the learned appellate Judge had rejected the plaintiff's charge that the defendants had manufactured documents with the remark, 'It will be a sad day for the country if the police starts making false evidence'-thereby revealing a closed mind and a bias in favour of the police, After examining all the evidence, documentary and oral, I came to the conclusion that the defendants' story of the issue of a warrant under Section 56, Cri.P.C. for the arrest of Narbada Shankar was untrue, that the evidence given by the police officials was false, that the so-called order of arrest fabricated and some of the alleged certified copies forged; and that Narbada Shankar was locked up illegally without a warrant when he went to the police station, probably because the head constable and the other police officials were annoyed with him on receiving a report of rumors that he was going about in his village boasting that he was not afraid of the police. I also held that Danpal Singh's statement in the witness box that that he was not present in the police station when the plaintiff arrived there was false and the certified copies of the entries showing Danpal Singh's departure from and return to the police station had been forged. I allowed the appeal and decreed the plaintiff's suit with costs. Simultaneously I issued notice to the respondents mentioned above to show cause why they should not be prosecuted for perjury, fabricating and using false evidence. In response to this notice all the respondents except the station officer Khali Ahmad have appeared and I have heard. their counsel at considerable length.
5. Kamta Nath Seth who argued this case with ability, stated very properly that it was not 'possible for him to justify the conduct of the respondents and difficult even to point out any extenuating circumstances. But' he contended that an order for their prosecution should not be made after a lapse of so many years because they will be handicapped in their defence. He pointed out that the general diary recording the events of June 1952 had been destroyed in accordance with the practice of the police department and therefore, it had become impossible for the respondents to prove that the certified copies which had been condemned as fabricated by this Court were genuine. Thus, Mr. Seth argued, evidence which may cast a doubt in the mind of the criminal court will not be available. Secondly Mr. Seth argued that the High Court should not pass an order for prosecution in a case where the respondents' story had been believed by both the courts below, merely on the ground that this Court had taken a different view of the evidence. Thirdly Mr. Seth contended that the court should not make an order for prosecution unless there is likelihood of a conviction and in this case there was little likelihood. Lastly, Mr. Seth argued that delay Itself is a good ground for not making an order for prosecution.
6. I shall take the last argument first. I do not think that the mere fact that a long interval of several years has elapsed between the commission of the crime and the issue of notice is of itself any ground against an order for prosecution. If this were so, prosecution for perjury and kindred offences will be defeated in every case where an appeal and a seeing appeal are filed against the decision of th6 trial Court. It will enable a dishonest litigant to win a suit by giving false or fabricated evidence and, when the crime is exposed in appeal, to plead lapse of time as an unanswerable argument against his prosecution. In my opinion, delay can be taken into consideration only if the person concerned can show that he will be prejudiced in his defence because of this delay. I have to consider whether there is likelihood of such prejudice if I make an order for prosecution.
7. I shall now consider the case of each respondent individually, taking Nizamul Haq's first and Danpal Singh's last.
8. The charge against Nizamul Haq is only of perjury. There is nothing to indicate that he had anything to do with the fabrication of documentary evidence. But he falsely deposed that on 3.6.1952 he was given an order for the arrest of the plaintiff whereas no such order was issued. But Mr. Seth contended that he should not be prosecuted as in cross-examination he readily admitted that he was given no written order. Learned Counsel argued that a witness is not guilty of perjury if after making a false statement in examination-in-chief he revokes it in cross-examination. I cannot accept this broad proposition of law. If a witness corrects himself in the same breath or at any rate before his lie is exposed the court may give him the benefit of doubt or at any rate nit consider it expedient to direct his prosecution. But if a witness comes to court prepared to make a false statement according to plan and does make it but is cornered in cross-examination and compelled to admit that his previous statement was false, he cannot claim that his admission neutralizes the perjury committed by him in his statement in chief, hi all such cases the real test is whether the witness voluntarily corrected himself due' to realization of his error or genuine feeling of remorse before his perjury was exposed., each case has to be examined on its own merits. Nizamul Haq's first statement was deliberate and his lie exposed in cross-examination, therefore, he cannot claim that his conduct does not amount to perjury.
But I am inclined to take a lenient view because he readily retracted his original false statement. His conduct is, therefore, distinguishable from that of a witness who is a hard boiled egg, if I may use a colloquial expression and who persists in his attempt to deceive the Court. There is an additional reason for indulgence. As a subordinate of the lowest-rank he must have found it difficult to resist the pressure of his superior officers to give false evidence for their sake, As a constable he had no option but to say what he was told by the station officer and the head constable. In these circumstances I am inclined to be lenient and let him off with a warning. Accordingly a stern warning shall issue from this Court that he should be careful in the future and admonishing him for having given false evidence this case, A copy of this warning along with mat of this order shall be sent to the State Government,
9. I am inclined to follow a similar course with regard to the respondents Bhola and Ram Chandra Ahir. They did not give evidence at all. The charge against them is that as co-defendants they were jointly responsible for the filing of the certified copies of the order under Section 58, Cr.P.C. and also the order in original. This may be the correct position in law. But it is likely that the conduct of the case was not in their hands and they had no choice in the matter. Accordingly a warning shall issue from this Court to mend their ways in the future and admonishing them for having associated themselves with fabrication of documents.
10. The respondent Ali Hasan was a witness for the police officials. He testified that he law the plaintiff being taken to the police station by Nizamul Haq and he followed the two to the station where he heard the plaintiff ask for bail and the Constable Bindeshwari say that he had no power to grant it. He also deposed at when the plaintiff was locked up, Head Constable Dan Pal Singh was not present. I disbelieved this witness and issued notice to aim to show cause why he should not be prosecuted for having falsely stated on oath that Nizamul Haq took the plaintiff to the police station and that Dan Pal Singh was not there, is have no doubt that this witness committed perjury but I feel that he must have found it difficult to resist the pressure of the police, I thing fee should be left off with a warning. Accordingly, the notice issued to him shall be discharged but a stern warning shall issue to him to be careful about his conduct in the future, and admonishing him for having given false testimony in Court. As he is a Government servant a clerk in the Cattle pond at Kerakat a copy of the warning along with this order shall be sent to his superior officer.
11. The next ease is that of Bindeshwari deposed that a warrant was issued by the Station Officer for the arrest of the plaintiff Narbada Shankar and he proved the alleged copy of this notice as a 'true copy'. He also proved the copies of the extracts from the general diary showing the alleged departure and return of Dan Pal Singh from and to the police station. I have no doubt that he committed perjury and assisted in the fabrication of documents, but I take a lenient view of his misconduct because I feel that he must have acted under pressure from Dan Pal Singh and the Station Officer. He may be let off with a warning. Accordingly a stern warning shall issue to him to avoid such conduct in the future if and admonishing him for having committed perky and abetted the fabrication of documents. A copy of this warning and this order shall be sent to the State Government.
12. The last case is that of Dan Pal Singh, Head Constable. He was one of the defendants in the suit. He deposed that he was not present in the police station when Narbada Shankar was brought to the police station. He also produced from his custody the alleged copies of the extracts from the general diary and the warrant for the arrest of Narbada Shankar alleged to have been issued by the Station Officer. I find no extenuating circumstance in his favour and the question before me is whether it is in the interests of justice that he should be prosecuted. There are two charges against him fabricating documents and giving false evidence. As regards the first charge there is some force in Mr. Seth's argument that the general diary having been destroyed, Dan Pal Singh may be prejudiced to his defence. Therefore, with the utmost reluctance I discharge the notice against him with regard to the offence under Section 196, I.P.C. but a warning and admonition shall be issued to him as in the case of Bindeshwari and others.
13. As regards the charge of giving false evidence I can find no reason for not directing his prosecution. There are eye witnesses who saw him at the police station. He has falsely deposed that he was not present at the station when the plaintiff Narbada Shankar went there and he manufactured an alibi with utter lack of scruple. There have been cases in the past of police officials fabricating evidence to secure the conviction of an accused, but it could be said that they had no personal interest. But in this case Dan Pal Singh and others committed perjury and other crimes to win a civil suit, and thus abused their official position for private ends. It is police officials like him who bring discredit on the entire police force.
14. Mr. Seth stated at the bar that Dan Pal Singh is due to retire from the force shortly and has a wife and a number of small children to look after. He appealed for mercy for him. I confess that learned Counsel's appeal has shaken me and the thought of Dan Pals Singh's wife and children upset me considerably. Humanitarian considerations cannot be ignored in the administration of justice and I have pondered over Mr. Seth's appeal for mercy for a long time. But I must ignore it because it is no different from the one which may be urged oh behalf of any person accused or convicted of a serious crime. Under our prevailing, principles of jurisprudence the Courts when convicting or directing the prosecution of any person cannot take into account the effect, of a conviction or prosecution on the dependents of the accused. I have come to the conclusion that a complaint should be filed against Dan Pal Singh.
15. I am of the opinion that it is expedient in the interests of justice that an inquiry should be made into the offence which the respondent Dan Pal Singh appears to have committed when he falsely deposed before the Munsif Shahganj at Jaunpur in Civil Suit No. 452 of 1952 that he was not present in the police station Kerakat when the plaintiff Narbada Shanker was taken there under arrest ('Narbada Shanker jab thane par aye the girifter ho kar main thane ki building men nahin tha.') Accordingly I direct that a complaint shall be made by the Registrar of this Court against Dan Pal Singh, who was posted as Head Constable at Kerakat Police Station at the time of giving evidence before the aforesaid Munsifs Court, that the aforesaid Dan Pal Singh falsely deposed, 'Narbada Shanker jab thane pay aye the giriftar ho kar main thane ki building men nahin tha-', and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 193 of the I.P.C. The Registrar shall forward the complaint to a Magistrate of the first class having jurisdiction. The record of the proceedings in Civil Suit No. 452 of 1952, Narbada Shanker v. Dan Pal Singh and Ors. shall be sent to the aforesaid Magistrate along with the alleged certified copies of extracts from the general diary which are in the custody of the Registrar under the orders of this Court. Material witnesses for the prosecution shall be inter alia, Narbada Shanker, P.W., in the Civil Suit and Ram Dam-Singh, P.W. 2 in the same suit.
16. Before leaving this case would like to mention a fact which surprised me. During the hearing of these proceedings I noticed that an official was present in Court and instructing K.N. Seth learned Counsel for the respondents. On a question from me he gave his name as Lakshmi Narain Mehrotra and stated that he was the Assistant Public Prosecutor, Jaunpur, and that he had been ordered by the Superintendent of Police Jauupur to attend Court for doing pairvi in this case. When I asked him what he meant by Pairvi, lie replied that 'he had been sent to Court for the purpose of getting the notice discharged'. He further stated that he was present in Court on duty. But during his arguments Mr. Seth told me that the Government had given no directions for the defence of the respondents or giving them any assistance, financial or otherwise, in the show cause proceedings. I do not understand on what authority the Superintendent of Police Jaunpur sent the Assistant Public Prosecutor at Government expense to do pairvi in this case. All the seven respondents have been found to have committed perjury and notice was issued to them to show cause why they should not be prosecuted. No appeal was Bled against the judgment of this Court and the findings against the respondents have become final. I do not think it was proper for the Superintendent of Police Jaunpur to give aid and comfort, at public expense, to police officials who have been found guilty of having committed perjury and other serious offences. Making every possible allowance for sprites des corps among police officials we call it bhai chara in this country. I do not think it should extend to suoh lengths, that the head of the District Police should fraternize with subordinate officials who have been proved to be perjurers, He should have remembered that the primary duty of the police is to uphold law and order- even against their own ranks if necessary. The Head of the District Police should not go out of the way to give moral support to subordinates who have misconducted themsslves and violated the law, and he must at all costs avoid giving the public an impression that police officials will support each other even against the law. A copy of this order may be sent to the State Government.