Jotish Chandra Chaudhary Vs. The State
of Bihar  INSC 126 (26 April 1968)
26/04/1968 SIKRI, S.M.
CITATION: 1969 AIR 7 1969 SCR (1) 130
Indian Penal Code, 1860, ss. 199, 200-If
person can be prosecuted for false statement not shown to be touching on any
material point or corruptly.
After a partition in his joint family in
1952, the appellant, together with his three minor sons, took over and carried
on the family business. He Thereafter filed a suit in the business name against
a firm claiming damages for certain infringements of trade marks. The trial
Court rejected a contention of the defendants that the suit was not
maintainable because the appellant three minor sons had not been impleaded and
decreed the suit. In the course of an appeal before a Single Beach of the High
Court, the appellant filed an application for the addition of his three sons as
parties and also :filed an, affidavit, as required by the Court, giving the
respective dates of births of his three sons. As the appellant who had a large
family, did not remember the exact dates, he sought information from the school
authorities and on the basis of this information, he stated the date of birth
of one his sons as June 9, 1954 instead of December 12, 1951. While dismissing
the appeal, the Court directed the appellant to show cause why he should not be
prosecuted for committing an offence under sections 199 and 200 I.P.C. The
appellant's plea that he had wrongly mentioned the date of birth due to a bona
fide -mistake was rejected and a Division Bench, in appeal, refused to
interfere with the order directing the appellant's prosecution.
On appeal to this Court.
HELD : The -appeal must be allowed and the
complaint against the appellant quashed.
Before a person can be punished under s. 199,
it has to be proved, inter alia, that the false statement is 'touching any
point material to the ,object for which the declaration is made'. One of the
ingredients of an ,Offence under s.
200 I.P.C. is that the declaration should be
used or attempted to be used corruptly. Neither of these requirements were
shown to have been satisfied. Considering that the date of birth was obtained
from the school records, and that the appellant stood to gain ,no advantage by
giving a wrong date, the learned Single Judge should not have directed the
lodging of a complaint under s. 199 or s. 200 I.P.C. [133 A-D]
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION Criminal Appeal
No. 1 of 1968.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated November 1 0, 1967 of the Patna High Court in Criminal Appeal 'No.
4 of 1967.
Sarjoo Prasad and S. N. Prasad, for the
U. P. Singh, for the respondent.
131 The Judgment of the Court was delivered
by Sikri, J.-In this appeal by special leave Jotish Chandra Chaudhary,
hereinafter referred to as the appellant, challenges the order of a Division
Bench of the Patna High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 4 of 1967, refusing to interfere
with the order of the, learned Single Judge directing the prosecution of the
appellant under s. 199 and s. 200 of the Indian Penal Code or such other
sections as may be found to be applicable.
In order to appreciate the contentions of the
learned counsel for the appellant it is necessary to set out the relevant
facts. The appellant with his five sons constituted a Joint Hindu Family. In
1952 partition took place. At that time three sons were minors, while two were
majors. As a result of the partition the joint family business, which was then
being carried on under the name and style 'Ramnath Sarjug Prasads' was allotted
exclusively to the appellant and his three minor sons. The appellant filed a
suit (suit No. 5 of 1958) for damages against M/s Lakshmi Bombay Thread Factory
and others on the ground that the defendants had infringed certain trademarks
registered under the Trade Marks Act, 1940. This suit was decreed by the
District Judge,, Patna, on March 31, 1962. The defendants filed an appeal
against the said decree. This appeal was numbered First Appeal No. 227 of 1962.
In the suit one contention of the defendants was that the suit was not
maintainable because although the suit had been instituted by the appellant in
his capacity as proprietor of the firm Ramnath Sarjug Prasad, his three minor
sons, who were also proprietors of the firm according to the partition deed
dated November 2, 1952, had not been impleaded. The learned District Judge held
on this point that it was open to the plaintiff to sue on behalf of the entire
family comprising himself and his minor sons as karta of his family without
impleading the minors. In the course of the hearing of the appeal before the
learned Single Judge, the appellant filed a petition under O. I r. 10, C.P.C.,
on May 1, 1967, for addition of parties. On the same day the learned Single
Judge directed the appellant to file an affidavit by May 2, 1967, giving the
respective dates of birth of his three minor sons who were to be added as
parties to the said appeal. The appellant, who has a large family, did hot
remember the exact dates of birth of his sons and sought information from the
school authorities. The appellant received information from the PrinciPal. Ram
Mohan Roy Seminary, Patna, on May 2, 1967, that the date of birth of Subhas
alias Ashok Kumar Jayaswal was June 9, 1954. On the same date the appellant
swore and filed an affidavit stating therein the above date of birth of Subhas
alias Ashok Kumar Jayaswal. The learned Single Judge in the judgment disposing
of Appeal No. 227 of 1962 observed 132 .lm15 "In conclusion, I would like
to mention that the statement made by plaintiff-respondent Jotish Chandra
Chaudhary in the affidavit sworn and filed by him in this Court on 2-5-1967
about the date of birth of his youngest son Subhas being 9th June, 1954 appears
to be false to his knowledge, as shown by the fact that this plaintiff-respondent
himself was one of the executants in the Partition Deed (Ext.B) which is dated
2-11-1952 and he executed the same for himself as well as guardian of his three
minor sons including the aforesaid Subhas. He is therefore directed to show cause
by 21-7-1967 as to why he shall not be prosecuted for committing offences under
sections 199 and 200 of the Indian Penal Code or such other sections as may be
found to be applicable." The learned Single Judge, on cause being shown,
was unable to accept the plea of the appellant that the date of birth of Subhas
had been wrongly mentioned due to a bona fide mistake. We may mention that
Subhas was actually born on December 12, 1951, and not on June 9, 1954. The
learned Single Judge observed "This plea about bona fide mistake does not
appear to be all convincing or acceptable. As is well known that the entries in
the School Registers regarding the dates of birth are often wrong being based
upon wrong information given at the time of admission of the students and
Jotish Chandra Chaudhary being himself the father of the boy and being a party
to the aforesaid deed of partition, could not be unaware of the fact that the
date of birth as entered in the School Register was not correct. In this
connection, it may be mentioned that he is not an illiterate villager but a
business man living in Patna City and running a business since a long time.
On a consideration of all the above aspects,
I am quite unable to accept the plea about the date of birth having been
wrongly mentioned in the affidavit due to bona fide mistake and it is evident
that this date, was deliberately given as it was thought at that time that this
version could 'be supported by the certificate obtained from the school, and
the fact that could be detected by reference to the registered deed of
partition which has been executed in 1952, had been overlooked at that
time." With respect to the learned Judge, he has not considered whether
any advantage was likely to accrue to the appellant for giving the date of
birth of his son Subhas as June 9, 1954, 133 instead of December 12, 1951. As
far as the appeal pending before the learned Single Judge was concerned, it is
not disputed that this change did not make any difference to the decision of
the question of imp leading the minor son as a party or the decision on the
question whether the suit was maintainable or not. Before a person can be
punished under s. 199, I.P.C., it has to be proved, inter alia, that the false
statement is 'touching any point material to the object for which the
declaration is made'. There is no suggestion that the change of the birth date
touched any material point in F.A. No. 227 of 1962. One of the ingredients of an
offence under s. 200, I.P.C., is that the declaration should be used or
attempted to be used corruptly. It has not been explained to us how the
declaration was used 'corruptly. Considering that the date of birth was
obtained from the school records, and that the appellant stood to gain no
advantage by giving a wrong date, the learned Single Judge should not, in our
view, have directed the lodging of complaint under s.'199 or s. 200, I.P.C. It
is not clear what other section of Indian Penal Code the learned Single Judge
had in view.
In view of the above conclusion it is not
necessary to consider whether the judgment directing the filing of complaint
was in contravention of s. 479A(6), Cr. P.C.
In the result the appeal is allowed and the
orders of the Division Bench and the learned Single Judge set aside, and the
complaint, which is stated to have already been filed, quashed.
R.K.P.S. Appeal allowed.