With the sharp increase in number of cases filed has seen Indian citizens becoming aware of their rights. People are now less timid to come out and fight against injustice. However, on the other side of the coin, the proliferation of false and vexatious cases before the judiciary has been taken place for past few decades. It’s imperative to know the legal way out of this trap so that one does not spend a long period of time fighting in the court against a false accusation which consumes his time and energy.
Section 209 in The Indian Penal Code
Dishonestly making false claim in Court.—Whoever fraudulently or dishonestly, or with intent to injure or annoy any person, makes in a Court of Justice any claim which he knows to be false, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine.
The essential ingredients of an offence under Section 209 are:
- The accused made a claim;
- The claim was made in a Court of Justice;
- The claim was false, either wholly or in part;
- That the accused knew that the claim was false; and
- The claim was made fraudulently, dishonestly, or with intent to injure or to annoy any person.
A litigant makes a ‘claim’ before a Court of Justice for the purpose of Section 209 when he seeks certain relief or remedies from the Court and a ‘claim’ for relief necessarily impasses the ground for obtaining that relief.
The offence is complete the moment a false claim is filed in Court.
The section provides a remedy for making false and dishonest claims in the court. This provision has been seldom used. Despite that, there are some rulings in which the courts have initiated the criminal proceedings for false claims and dismissed their case.
In Badri vs Emperor, the court stated that it is immaterial whether the court in which the false claim was made had jurisdiction to try the suit or not.
Ramnandan Prasad Narayan Singh vs Public Prosecutor, The Patna High Court held that mere dismissal of the plaintiff’s case would not justify sanction under section 209 of Indian penal code. A mere proof that the accused failed to prove his claim in the civil suit or the court did not rely upon his evidence on account of discrepancies or improbabilities is not sufficient.
There are many prudent legal provisions to punish the offender who institute a false case, but in the presence of these legal provisions, the courts have witnessed an increase of false cases large number. Hence, there is a need to bring a special law to deal with the false cases as recommended by the Law Commission in its 192ndreport, to bring strong deterrence in society regarding this crime. Apart from this there is a need to spread awareness in people regarding their rights and remedies available in case of a false F.I.R.