Deal sternly with perjury, courts told

J. Venkatesan

Apex court rejects appeal against trial court ruling

New Delhi: Expressing concern over the increasing number of witnesses adducing false evidence to trap innocent victims, the Supreme Court has asked the trial courts and High Courts to deal sternly with such cases.

“The 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 presently done,” said a Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice P. Sathasivam.

Writing the judgment Justice Pasayat said, “The purpose of enacting Section 344, Cr.P.C. (Summary procedure for trial for giving false evidence) 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.. The object of the provision is to deal with the evil perjury in a summary way.”

In the instant case Mahila Vinod Kumar, appellant lodged a case against two persons at Pichhore Police Station in Madhya Pradesh that she was raped by them, one after another.

However, during trial she resiled from the statement made during investigation and said she was not raped and she made a false complaint.

The trial court found that she had tendered false evidence and acquitted the two accused and sentenced her to undergo three months’ simple imprisonment.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court confirmed the punishment and the present appeal is directed against that judgment.

The appellant contended 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.”

Rejecting her contention, the Bench said “It is a settled position in law that so far as sexual offences are concerned, sanctity is attached to the statement of a victim.”

“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.

“In 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 Bench said and dismissed the appeal.

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