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Report No. 33

59. Failure to state the whole truth.-

Thus, the following observations occur in a judgment on a writ petition under Article 2261

"These facts were suppressed in the counter-affidavit filed by Sri Ram Yash Varma and the affidavit filed by him is thus a document with only half-truths. A witness perjures himself not only when he does not state the truth, but also when he states something which is not the whole truth.".

It is necessary for the present purpose to discuss in detail how for the existing law under section 191, Indian Penal Code, is accurately stated in the observations quoted above, which were not made with reference to any criminal trial.

1. Narottam Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (1963) 7 Factories & Labour Reports 30 (38) (All) (S.D. Singh J.).

60. Disclosure of every minute detail whether to be required.-But, if it is intended that the witness must at his peril disclose every minute detail whether a question was put to him or not, then we think that it would be placing too heavy a burden upon the witness. A witness cannot be burdened with the responsibility of voluntarily disclosing all the facts in the evidence. The duty of eliciting facts from a witness for the prosecution, lies on the counsel for the prosecution. If the investigation has been carried out properly, the police records should show what a particular witness knows and what he is expected to depose in the court. And if the examination-in-chief is done competently, it should not be very difficult to bring out the material facts.

61. We should also like to point out, that before a prosecution under section 191, Indian Penal Code, can succeed, the false "statement" alleged to have been made must be set out with precision in the charge. Merely saying that the accused "gave false evidence" is not enough. The prosecution cannot go on such a vague charge1.

1. Cf. Hira Singh Ojha v. Emp., (1905) 10 CWN 1099 (1100).

62. As Phear J., remarked in a case1; "Of all criminal charges which can be made, perhaps the charge of perjury is that which the ends of justice require to be the most carefully and accurately worded. The more general is the allegation of falsehood, the less is the risk in putting it forward, and the greater the difficulty of rebutting it. It is, therefore, the right of the person accused of perjury to have the statement which he is charged with having falsely made distinctly and separately pointed out to him, and I will venture to say that no Court can safely and satisfactorily arrive at a judicial conclusion relative to a charge of perjury, unless its investigation be directed singly to each alleged false statement, with the view to ascertaining first, whether it was made at all; secondly, whether, if made, it was true or untrue; and thirdly, whether, if untrue, its untruth was present to the mind of the person making it at the time he made it.".

1. Queen v. Koli Churn Lahoree, 1868 WR Cr 549 (Phear J.).

63. In this connection, we might also refer to the decision under section 202, Indian Penal Code to the effect that the "omission" under section 202 must be intentional1

1. Udai Chand Mookhopadhyaya, 18 WR Cr 31: 9 Beng LR Appendix 31, 33 (Kemp J.).

Section 44, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 Back

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