Mahila Vinod Kumari Vs.
State of M.P.  INSC 1094 (11 July 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NOS. OF
2008 (CRIMINAL MISC. PETITION NOS.8515-8516 OF 2008) Mahila Vinod Kumar i .....
State of Madhya Pradesh .....Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
learned counsel for the petitioner.
we are not inclined to entertain the special leave petitions, but we find that
there is a need for expressing views on action to be taken for maliciously
setting law into motion.
petitioner lodged a report against two persons at Pichhore Police Station to
the effect that on 28.1.1993 between 6.00 to 7.00 a.m. she was waylaid by them
who dragged her and committed rape on her, one after another.
She claimed to have
narrated the incident to her father and uncle and, thereafter lodged the report
at the police station.
On the basis of the
report, matter was investigated. The accused persons were arrested.
Charge-sheet was filed. The accused persons faced trial for alleged commission
of offence punishable under Section 376(2)(g) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
(in short `the IPC'). The accused persons abjured their guilt. During trial,
the petitioner stated that she had actually not been raped. As she resiled from
the statement made during investigation, she was permitted to be cross-examined
by the prosecution. She even denied to have lodged the first information report
(Exh.P-1) and to have given any statement to the police (Exh.P-2). In view of
the statement of the petitioner, the two accused persons were acquitted by
judgment dated 28.11.2001. The Trial Court found that the 2
tendered false evidence and had fabricated evidence against the accused persons
with the intention that such evidence shall be used in the proceedings, and,
therefore, directed cognizance in terms of Section 344 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (in short `the Code') to be taken against the petitioner. A show-cause
notice was issued and the case was registered against the petitioner who filed
reply to the effect that being an illiterate lady, she had committed the
mistake and may be excused. The Trial Court found that the petitioner admitted
her guilt that she had lodged false report of rape against the accused. She
was, accordingly, sentenced to undergo three months' simple imprisonment.
Aggrieved by the order, the petitioner filed an appeal before the Madhya
Pradesh High Court, which, by the impugned order, was dismissed.
before the High Court was that being an illiterate lady, she does not
understand law and the particulars of the offence were not explained to her
and, therefore, the appeal should be allowed. This was opposed by the State on
the 3 ground that the petitioner had admitted her guilt before the Trial Court
and, therefore, the conviction is well founded. The High Court perused the
records of the Trial Court and found that in the show-cause reply she had
admitted that she had told lies all through. The stand that the particulars of
the offence were not explained to her, was found to be equally untenable,
because in the show-cause notice issued, relevant details were given. In the
first information report, and the statement recorded by the police, she had
clearly stated that she was raped by the accused persons. But in Court she
denied to have stated so. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the
Court imposed 15 days' simple imprisonment which is harsh. But that is not the
end of the matter. The petitioner filed an application before the High Court
stating that a wrong statement was made before the High Court that she had
already suffered custody for 15 days, which weighed with the High Court to
reduce the sentence.
counsel for the petitioner stated that being a girl of tender age, she was
pressurized by her mother and uncle to 4 give a false report. This is at
variance with the statement made in court during trial to the effect that she
had not reported anything to the police. It is a settled position in law that
so far as sexual offences are concerned, sanctity is attached to the statement
of a victim. This Court, has, in several cases, held that the evidence of the
prosecutrix alone is sufficient for the purpose of conviction if it is found to
be reliable, cogent and credible. In the present case, on the basis of the
allegations made by the petitioner, two persons were arrested and had to face
trial and suffered the ignominy of being involved in a serious offence like
rape. Their acquittal, may, to a certain extent, have washed away the stigma,
but that is not enough. The purpose of enacting Section 344, Cr.P.C.
corresponding to Section 479-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898
(hereinafter referred to as `the Old Code') appears to be further arm the Court
with a weapon to deal with more flagrant cases and not to take away the weapon
already in its possession. The object of the legislature underlying enactment
of the provision is that the evil of perjury and fabrication of evidence has to
be eradicated and 5 can be better achieved now as it is open to the courts to
take recourse to Section 340(1) (corresponding to Section 476 of the Old Code)
in cases in which they are failed to take action under Section 344 Cr.P.C.
section introduces an additional alternative procedure to punish perjury by the
very Court before which it is committed in place of old Section 479 A which did
not have the desired effect to eradicate the evils of perjury. The salient
features of this new provision are:
1. Special powers have
been conferred on two specified Courts, namely Court of Session and Magistrate
of the First Class, to take cognizance of an offence of perjury committed by a
witness in a proceeding before it instead of filing a complaint before a
Magistrate and try and punish the offender by following the procedure of
summary trials. For summary trial, see Ch. 21. 6
2. This power is to be
exercised after having the matter considered by the Court only at the time of
delivery of the judgment or final order.
3. The offender shall be
given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause before he is punished.
4. The maximum sentence
that may be imposed is 3 months imprisonment or a fine up to Rs.500 or both.
5. The order of the
Court is appealable (vide S. 351).
6. The procedure in this
section is an alternative to one under Sections 340-343. The Court has been
given an option to proceed to punish summarily under this section or to resort
to ordinary procedure by way of complaint under Section 340 so that, as for
instance, where the Court is of opinion that perjury committed is likely to
raise complicated questions or deserves more severe punishment than that
permitted under this section or the case is otherwise of such a nature or for
some reasons considered to be such that the case should be disposed of under
the ordinary procedure which 7 would be more appropriate, the Court may chose
to do so [vide sub-section (3)].
7. Further proceedings
of any trial initiated under this section shall be stayed and thus, any sentence
imposed shall also not be executed until the disposal of an appeal or revision
against the judgment or order in the main proceedings in which the witness gave
perjured evidence or fabricated false evidence [vide sub-section (4)].
exercising the powers under the section the Court at the time of delivery of
judgment or final order must at the first instance express an opinion to the
effect that the witness before it has either intentionally given false evidence
or fabricated such evidence. The second condition is that the Court must come
to the conclusion that in the interests of justice the witness concerned should
be punished summarily by it for the offence which appears to have been
committed by the witness. And the third condition is that before commencing the
summary trial for punishment the witness 8 must be given reasonable opportunity
of showing cause why he should not be so punished. All these conditions arc
mandatory. [See Narayanswamy v. State of Maharashtra, (1971) 2 SCC 182].
object of the provision is to deal with the evil perjury in a summary way.
evil of perjury has assumed alarming propositions in cases depending on oral
evidence and in order to deal with the menace effectively it is desirable for
the courts to use the provision more effectively and frequently than it is
the case at hand, the court has rightly taken action and we find nothing infirm
in the order of the Trial Court and the High Court to warrant interference. The
special leave petitions are, accordingly dismissed.
................................J. (Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
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