Section 193 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

There are three explanations attached to the section according to the first of which a trial before a court-martial is a judicial proceeding. Explaining the expression ‘stage of a judicial proceeding’ used in the section the second explanation clarifies that an investigation directed by law preliminary to a proceeding, is a stage of judicial proceeding even though that investigation may not take place before a court of justice.

The third explanation also explains the same expression when it states that when a court of justice directs an investigation according to law, and it is conducted under its own authority, it is a stage of judicial proceeding, even though that investigation may not take place before a court of justice. The offence under the first para has been thought to be more serious than that described in the second para and so punished more severely.

The Supreme Court has held that a false declaration made on a solemn affirmation before a returning officer is punishable under the second part of the section and not under
the first part. The Supreme Court has also held that a defendant or even a plaintiff is not bound to go to the witness-box, but once either of them decides to do that and takes oath, he is bound to state the truth and he is not entitled to say that he could have chosen not to come on to the witness-box.

According to Section 195 (1) (b) (i) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under any of the following sections of the Indian Penal Code, namely, sections 193 to 196, 199, 200, 205 to 211 and 228 when such offence is alleged to have been committed in, or in relation to, any proceeding in any court, except on the complaint in writing of that court, or of some other court to which that court is subordinate. Consequently, it has been consistently held, both by the Supreme Court and the High Courts, that in the event of this condition having not been fulfilled, the trial is vitiated.

The Supreme Court has held that abetment of forgery by creating a false document with a view to use the same in a suit, but not using it ultimately, is not punishable under section 193 but under sections 467 and 114 of the Code. A false statement under oath supporting the prosecution case against an accused is an offence under sections 193 and 195, and not under section 211 of the Code.

The Calcutta High Court has ruled that where a magistrate has stated that contradictory statements were given by the accused but has failed to identify as to which of the statements were true and which were false, a conviction under section 193 could not stand.

In Shabir Hussain Bholu v. Stated it was observed by the Supreme Court that there was no option before a court either to proceed against a person under section 340, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (i.e., section 476 of the old Code of 1898) or under section 344 (i.e., section 479 of the old Code). It is not like choosing any one of these sections. At the time of final disposal of the matter the court should record specifically whether the person concerned had at any stage of the judicial proceeding given false evidence intentionally. In the absence of such a finding mere direction to start a miscellaneous case was bad in law.

An advocate who had earlier lost in both courts in a rent control matter, could not move a criminal court against the appellant under sections 193, 199 and 201 of the Code as that would amount to an abuse of process of law. The acceptance or rejection of evidence by a court by itself is not sufficient to conclude that the rejected evidence was false.

A statement recorded by a magistrate under section 164, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (same section in the old Code) in course of a police investigation is not evidence in he stage of judicial proceeding.

Merely saying that prosecution witness had given false evidence, and thus acquitting an accused by a magistrate does not mean start of the proceedings under section 193 of the Indian Penal Code against such witnesses read with sections 344 and 250 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 because the magistrate had not said that he was starting criminal proceedings against them. Therefore, proceedings under section 344 of the 1973 Code initiated by the successor magistrate were bad in law.

In R. Vaikat Raddy v. Stale, where an offence under section 193 of the Code was tied as a summons case and not as a warrant case, it was held that since benefits available under a warrant case were not available to the accused in the instant case, the whole trial was vitiated and deserved to be quashed.

In Pravin Chand v. Ibrahim Mohammad, the Bombay High Court held that if a false statement on the part of a person has led to a charge against him under section 193 of the Code, it does not mean that no charge for demotion under section 500 of the Code can be made against him on the basis of the same statement.

In Afzal v. State of Haryana, a police officer was accused of taking delivery of a draft of counter-affidavit from the standing counsel for being signed by his superior for filing in the Supreme Court, and asking a police official to forge signature of his superior on carbon copy of the counter-affidavit. On his refusal the accused contacted his superior and the latter directed the official to forge his signature. The official did accordingly. The accused sent the carbon copy with others for filing it in the Supreme Court.

The said affidavit contained false averments. The accused officer was present in the Supreme Court premises along with the officer whose signature was forged on the date of filing the affidavit. The Supreme Court held the accused guilty under section 193 and observed that he had abetted the official to forge the signature of his superior.

In Gulshan Rai Nagpal v. Principal, Government Law College, the petitioner made a statement on oath in a writ petition supported by an affidavit that timings of a Law College were changed by the principal arbitrarily. The fact was that the principal had power to change the timings and that the change was made by him after receiving representation of a majority of students to the said effect.

The Sikkim High Court held that the petitioner was thus liable to be prosecuted for deliberately making a false statement before a court in a judicial proceeding, more so when he was one of the students signing the representation.

In Narasimhaiah v. State of Karnataka, there was a death in police custody. Investigation for the offence of murder and for an offence under section 193 of the Indian Penal Code was going on. The Karnataka High Court held that the court cannot take cognizance in the absence of a complaint of the court.

In Ibrahim Sab Imam Sab Mulla v. State of Karnataka, there was an interim order staying the election to the post of President, Town Panchayat. The order was obtained on the basis of forged and fabricated documents by swearing to an affidavit that such documents are either true or certified copies. The Court held that strong and prima facie case is made out against the petitioner member of the Town Panchayat for having committed acts of forgery and perjury and thus, the petitioner is liable to be prosecuted.

The offence under section 193 of the Code is non-cognizable, bailable and non- compoundable, and is triable by court of session, metropolitan magistrate or magistrate of the first class.