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Chhotey Lal Vs. Charanjit Lal Anand, Addl. Munsif - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1960CriLJ441
AppellantChhotey Lal
RespondentCharanjit Lal Anand, Addl. Munsif
Excerpt:
- - that power of superintendence of the high court under article 227 of the constitution extends to administrative as well as judicial matters. 10. the petitioner's affidavit states that he has filed an appeal against the judgment of the learned munsif and has applied for expunging of the observations which he considers to be offensive......directing the petitioner to show cause why proceedings should not; be taken against him for giving false evidence. the petitioner appeared and filed an explanation. after reconsidering the matter the learned munsif was informed by the petitioner's counsel that he was already feeling repentant. after this statement, the learned munsif decided to take a lenient view of tile matter and discharged the notice. but he made the following observation in the last sentence of his order :sri chhoteylal (the petitioner) is warned to remain careful and to tell truth when he appears before courts of law in future.3. the petition, is not opposed by anyone and consequently there is no counter affidavit. i must therefore proceed on the assumption that the facts stated by the petitioner in his affidavit.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.S. Dhavan, J.

1. This is a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution praying in effect, for the quashing ol the entire proceedings before the learned Additional Munsif. Banda, who had issued a notice to the petitioner to show cause why he should not be prosecuted for perjury but, after hearing his explanation, discharged the notice after administering a warning to the petitioner to be careful in future and to tell the truth whenever he appears before courts of law.

2. The facts as stated in the affidavit supporting the petition are these. A suit was filed by a man called Baij Nath before the Additional Munsif, Banda the respondent for the recovery of a sum of Rs, 2000/-. The petitioner defended the suit, denied any liability and gave evidence in support of his case. The learned Munsif dismissed Baij Nath's suit by his judgment dated 23-1-1958. Three weeks later he issued a notice on 13-2-1958 directing the petitioner to show cause why proceedings should not; be taken against him for giving false evidence. The petitioner appeared and filed an explanation. After reconsidering the matter the learned Munsif was informed by the petitioner's counsel that he was already feeling repentant. After this statement, the learned Munsif decided to take a lenient view of tile matter and discharged the notice. But he made the following observation in the last sentence of his order :

Sri Chhoteylal (the petitioner) is warned to remain careful and to tell truth when he appears before courts of law in future.

3. The petition, is not opposed by anyone and consequently there is no counter affidavit. I must therefore proceed on the assumption that the facts stated by the petitioner in his affidavit are correct. Learned Counsel for the petitioner, Mr. R. R. Agra-wal, who argued the case with ability, contended that the entire proceedings before the learned Munsif were without jurisdiction inasmuch as they were initiated after the delivery of the final judgment in the suit. Learned Counsel relied on the language of Section 479A which now governs the initiation of the proceedings for the prosecution of a witness who committed perjury in his evidence before a court. Learned Counsel relied on the following words in this Section :.The court shall, at the time of the delivery of the judgment or final order disposing of such proceeding, record a finding to that effect stating its reasons therefor and may. if it so thinks fit, after giving the witness an opportunity of being heard, make a complaint thereof in writing signed by the presiding officer of the Court setting forth the evidence which, in the opinion of the Court, is false or fabricated and forward the same to a Magistrate of the first class having jurisdiction, and may, if the accused is present before the Court, take sufficient security for his appearance before such Magistrate and may bind over any person to appear and give evidence before such Magistrate.

4. Learned Counsel contended that, under this Section, the entire proceedings including the filing of the complaint against an offending witness must be completed before the delivery of the judgment or final order in the proceedings in which perjury is alleged to have been committed. I do not agree. The Section requires that the presiding officer should record a finding that the witness has intentionally given false evidence or fabricated false evidence and that in the interests of justice it is expedient that he should be prosecuted. The reason for this precaution is obvious. Section 479A deals with a particular type of offence namely, giving or fabricating false evidence in proceedings before the Civil, Revenue or Criminal courts.

It was considered desirable that the presiding officer should apply his mind to the question of punishing an offending witness while the evidence is fresh in his mind. He is therefore required to give a finding on the guilt of the witness in the judgment or final order itself. The procedure Under Section 479A is different from that prescribed Under Section 476 where it is not necessary to record a finding about the guilt of a false witness in the judgment or final order and the matter can be dealt with by subsequent proceedings. Section 479A supersedes Section 476 to a limited extent that is to say, to the extent to which it deals with a particular form of offence.

Prior to the enactment of this Section, it was felt that the procedure Under Section 476 was dilatory as regards witnesses who give false evidence before courts with the result that the prosecutions under perjury seldom succeeded. It was therefore considered necessary to devise a quicker procedure and S- 479A was enacted. This Section requires the presiding officer to apply his mind to the question of the guilt of an offending witness before he delivers judgment and to incorporate his finding in it.

5. If learned Counsel's contention that the proceedings subsequent to this finding must also be completed before the delivery of the judgment or final order is accepted, the result will be somewhat startling. The court will then be called upon to decide that a particular person has committed perjury before giving judgment in the main proceedings. I do not see how it is possible or even desirable for a court to assess the mendacity of a witness Under Section 479A before it has formed its final estimate of that person's evidence in the main proceedings.

The court will be required to withhold its judgment in the suit or proceedings until after the conclusion of the proceedings Under Section 479A. An interpretation which leads to such delay in the disposal of suits must be rejected. I, therefore, hold that, Under Section 479A, the Court is required only to record its finding in the judgment or final ordei1 in the proceedings that a person has given or fabricated false evidence and in the interests of justice it is expedient to prosecute him. Subsequent proceedings Under Section 479A can be taken after the delivery of the judgment or final order.

6. I have now to see whether this requirement of See. 479A was complied with by the learned Munsif before he initiated the proceedings Under Section 479A against the petitioner. In paragraph 6 of the petitioner's affidavit the concluding observation of the learned Additional Munsif in his judgment is quoted. It contains the following sentences :

The defendant has perjured himself to the extent of saying that he does not know whether the name of his daughter-in-law is Kamla or not 'In my opinion it is essential in the interest of justice that Sri Chhoteylal defendant be prosecuted for falsely stating on oath that his relations with the plaintiff were not intimate and that he does not know the name of his daughter-in-law.

7. Thus, according to the petitioner's own case, the learned Munsif recorded a finding that the petitioner had perjured himself and that it was in the interests of justice that he should be prosecuted for making a false statement on oath. The requirement of Section 479A was complied with and the proceedings are not without Jurisdiction.

8. It is not necessary for me to consider the question whether Article 227 of the Constitution cat? be invoked by the petitioner to quash an order of this nature, in view of my finding that the proceedings were within the jurisdiction. It is now the settled view of the Supreme Court and this Court; that power of superintendence of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution extends to administrative as well as judicial matters. On proper cause shown, this Court would interfere in a suitable case and quash any order and also give further directions, if necessary. But in the present case, I do not find any illegality or irregularity committed by the Additional Munsif which would warrant any interference by this Court under Article 227.

9. Learned Counsel for the petitioner stated that the remarks against the petitioner's veracity were uncalled for and are likely to damage his reputation and affect his livelihood. He relied on an observation of a Full Bench of the Lahore High Court in P.W.R. Hardless v. G. I. Hardless A.I.R. 1940 Lah 82 in which it was observed that a judge, when commenting on the conduct of parties and others, should be very careful to use more restrained language and that a passage which was not necessary to the conclusion of the Judge nor even necessary to his argument and was likely to militate seriously against a party's capacity to earn his living in his profession should be expugned from the judgment. I agree, with profound respect, with the principle underlying this observation that Judges should not abuse their Judicial privilege and immunity by making unnecessary remarks which take away a person's reputation.

But I do not see how this observation hits the order of the learned Munsif. He was initiating proceedings for perjury against the petitioner. He has confined himself to the minimum legal phraseology in describing the petitioner's offence. I realise that it is not very pleasant for a person to be involved in proceedings Under Section 479A but that was hardly the fault of the learned Munsif. It is true that he has used the words 'perjury' and 'false evidence' in relation to the petitioner but I do not know of any alternative expression which would describe these offences in more polite language. The petitioner's grievance against the learned Munsif is, therefore, no more than that he called a spade, a spade.

10. The petitioner's affidavit states that he has filed an appeal against the judgment of the learned Munsif and has applied for expunging of the observations which he considers to be offensive. If that be so, it will be for the appellate court to assess the entire evidence in the suit and decide whether the observations of the learned Munsif against the petitioner were justified or uncalled for. In any case. I do not see how the petitioner can be aggrieved by an order which dropped the proceedings Under Section 479A against him. He has been unnecessarily touchy and has come to this Court when the matter is still pending before the appellate court.

11. The petition is rejected. There shall bet no order as to costs.


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