Law on Perjury

Law on Perjury

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Law on Perjury
Law on Perjury

What is perjury?

Section 193 of the Indian Penal Code defines the offense of perjury. Whoever intentionally gives false evidence in any stage of a judicial proceeding, or fabricates false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine; and whoever intentionally gives or fabricates false evidence in any other case, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

The criminal justice system is based strongly on evidence. The statements of witnesses are essential evidence for resolving the case. There have been instances where the witnesses have turned hostile or have given wrong statements destructing the course of justice. The witnesses can register their statements in a judicial proceeding. The first is “under oath,” and the second is “by affidavit.” Only after taking an oath is a witness in a court case required to speak truthfully. According to the Indian Penal Code, 1872, lying by a witness during a legal proceeding after swearing, to tell the truth, is a crime in and of itself. The IPC’s Section 193 addresses the penalties for providing or inventing false evidence.

However, it only takes effect after swearing an oath. In a recent case of the Bombay High Court in Tarun Keshrichand Shah vs. Kishore Engineering Company in Criminal Appeal No. 153 of 2019, while directing the trial court to initiate criminal prosecution for the offense of perjury, came down on a full-time practicing chartered accountant, who with complete knowledge and despite being aware of legal niceties appeared to have knowingly made a statement on oath that was false and with a dishonest intention.

The Procedure

Section 344: of the Criminal Process Code (CrPC): This section replaces the previous Section 479A, which did not have the desired impact to remove the evils of perjury, with an extra alternative procedure to punish perjury by the identical court before which it is committed.

The Court of Session and Magistrate of First Class have been given special authority to take cognizance of a perjury offense committed by a witness in a hearing before them rather than bringing a complaint before a Magistrate. Summary trials are used to try the criminal and sentence them to punishment. This authority must be used after the Court has evaluated the issue at the time of judgment delivery or last order. Before being tried and punished, the accused or offender would have a fair chance to prove their innocence. A three-month prison sentence, a fine of up to Rs. 500, or both may be given as the maximum penalty under this section.

This section’s procedure serves as an alternative to those under Sections 340 and 343 of the CrPC. Under this section, a brief procedure may be chosen, or a more serious and usual procedure may be used in accordance with CrPC Section 340. The Court’s discretion is involved in the same way. The clause’s goal is to provide a concise solution to the problem of perjury and its negative effects. If oral evidence is considered, perjury has reached frightening proportions. The Courts must handle this matter skillfully.

Section 340 CrPC: This section states that any court may inquire into offenses under clause (b) of subsection (1) of section 195 CrPC that appear to have been committed to or related to a proceeding currently before the court, or with respect to a document that has been presented before the court as evidence in that proceeding, upon receiving a request in that regard or otherwise.

Major case laws

1) Jessica Lall Murder Case

Ballistic expert P.S. Manocha was charged with perjury in the case. Before a trial court, he was required to express his judgement regarding the source of the gunshots fired at Jessica. However, a bench presided over by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur exonerated him of the accusations on the grounds that it was unfair to charge an expert witness with perjury and an offense under Section 193 of the IPC simply for shifting his position. Additionally, it was mentioned that in such scientific situations, a firm opinion cannot be established.

2) Salman Khan hit and run case

n the Salman Khan hit-and-run case, the prosecution disregarded the driver’s testimony. According to the prosecution, he allegedly lied under oath to the counsel of the defense attorney and was hence subject to perjury charges. Given that Salman Khan was allegedly at the wheel, his admission of guilt displayed questionable behavior.

3) Best Bakery Case

The incident happened in Gujarat’s Vadodara. At midnight, almost a thousand rioters invaded the bakery, which was also the late Habibullah Sheikh’s home, and killed the family and the employees. Zaheera testified in the case in question, but she later claimed that she had lied because of threats. As a result, she was accused of being a hostile witness and perjury charges were brought against her.


The process for perjury is complicated, and it is rarely utilized in India. During interviews, witnesses might also become combative. The primary reasons for perjury are threats and inducements. The witnesses are not sufficiently protected by the law. However, one of the Fundamental Principles of Criminal Law is the protection of witnesses. In cases where the truth is compromised, perjury not only affects the current case but also negatively impacts how justice is administered. In addition to leading to unjust convictions, it also denigrates the criminal justice system. People accused of perjury are not subjected to significant punishment by Indian courts. In India, compared to other nations, there is a lesser penalty or sanction for perjury.

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