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Venkatrama Reddi Vs. Srinivasa Reddi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1936Mad350
AppellantVenkatrama Reddi
RespondentSrinivasa Reddi and anr.
Excerpt:
.....and his allegation that it was a forgery, it was not expedient in the interests of justice that the criminal prosecution for perjury should have been ordered and furthermore that, in view of the statement made by the petitioner that he thought that the suit promissory note was some other promissory note which he had not endorsed no court would convict him of perjury. i fail to see that his having kept out of the witness-box absolves him from liability for prosecution......and furthermore that, in view of the statement made by the petitioner that he thought that the suit promissory note was some other promissory note which he had not endorsed no court would convict him of perjury. some authorities have been referred to upon the question as to what view courts should take in dealing with applications such as this when they have before them an untrue statement appearing in a plaint or a written statement which has been verified on oath; and i do not wish to be understood as in any way expressing disagreement with the views put forward in those cases because i do not. those eases dealt with facts very different to those here. they certainly cannot go to the length of saying that a defendant or a litigant is not to be prosecuted under any circumstances for.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Beasley, C.J.

1. The facts arising in this Civil Revision Petition are as follows : A suit was filed by a plaintiff who has since died after the passing of the decree in the suit. The suit was against the present petitioner upon a promissory note alleged to have been executed by his father who died previous to the filing of the suit. The promissory note would have been barred by limitation but for the fact that there was an endorsement upon it showing a part payment alleged to be in the handwriting of the petitioner; and it was pleaded in the plaint that this endorsement saved limitation. In his defence the petitioner denied that he had endorsed the promissory note and said that the alleged signature was a forgery. Thereafter he did not contest the suit and an ex parte decree was passed against him after the evidence of the plaintiff had been taken that the endorsement was written and signed by the petitioner. Subsequent to the passing of the decree, the petitioner paid the decree amount to the plaintiff who then put in an application under Sections 195 and 476, Criminal P.C. requesting the Court to prefer a complaint against the petitioner for having committed an offence under Section 193, I.P.C. The petitioner put in a statement that when he denied in his written statement that the endorsement was his he thought that the promissory note sued upon was another promissory note.

2. The District Munsif to whom the application was made did not believe that statement and he accordingly ordered the prosecution of the petitioner for perjury. There was an appeal to the District Court and the District Judge took the same view as that taken by the District Munsif stating that the plausible story of the petitioner could not be accepted. Here it is urged that the lower Courts should have dismissed the petition; and it is. argued that, in view of the fact that the petitioner did not fight the case beyond the stage of filing a written statement and did not go into the witness box to support his denial of his endorsement and his allegation that it was a forgery, it was not expedient in the interests of justice that the criminal prosecution for perjury should have been ordered and furthermore that, in view of the statement made by the petitioner that he thought that the suit promissory note was some other promissory note which he had not endorsed no Court would convict him of perjury. Some authorities have been referred to upon the question as to what view Courts should take in dealing with applications such as this when they have before them an untrue statement appearing in a plaint or a written statement which has been verified on oath; and I do not wish to be understood as in any way expressing disagreement with the views put forward in those cases because I do not. Those eases dealt with facts very different to those here. They certainly cannot go to the length of saying that a defendant or a litigant is not to be prosecuted under any circumstances for putting in his pleadings on oath a statement which is untrue. That of course would be making absurd the law as to the offence of perjury.

3. Anybody who makes a false statement on oath knowing it to be false makes himself liable to be prosecuted for perjury. In my opinion, each case must be dealt with upon its own particular facts. In this case the petitioner's denial went to the very root of the matter. If what he stated was true then the suit was barred by limitation. It did not end there because there was the endorsement alleged to be in his handwriting and he not only said that he did not make the endorsement thereon but he alleged that it was a forgery. He, therefore swore in his written statement that the plaintiff had been guilty of forgery-a very serious allegation indeed. He did not have the courage to go into the witness box to support that statement. It may be because he knew that he could not face the cross-examination. Nevertheless there was his statement and a finding had to be recorded thereon by the trial Judge. It was a very serious statement to make and in my view, litigants should be made to realise that they cannot recklessly make statements such as those. It was not a statement made merely to force the plaintiff in the witness box or a statement putting the plaintiff to proof. It was a specific denial by the petitioner of his own handwriting and a definite statement that it had been forged by the plaintiff.

4. Had he gone into the witness-box he would have made himself liable to be prosecuted for perjury. I fail to see that his having kept out of the witness-box absolves him from liability for prosecution. After putting in the petition under Section 476, Criminal P.C. the plaintiff himself died and his sons who are here and are minors say that they do not desire to take any part here by way of argument either in support of the petition or in opposition to it. That was the position apparently before the District Judge also who came to the conclusion that the death of the plaintiff in the suit, the petition under Section 476, Criminal P.C. made no difference at all. With that view I entirely agree. The Court once having been moved, it was then a question for the Court to decide and not the parties themselves. I, therefore, agree with the lower Court's view that the death of the plaintiff makes no difference and secondly, I am quite unable to see that the learned District Judge did not properly exercise the discretion which is his in a matter such as this. I am far from saying that it is not expedient in the interests of justice that the prosecution should go on. It is a matter for the lower Court and I am unwilling to interfere with the order which is before me now. The Civil Revision Petition is dismissed with costs.


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