Karnataka High Court: Krishna S Dixit, J., allowed the petition and set aside the impugned order highlighting the importance of perjury applications to be considered at the earliest.
The facts of the case are such that the Petitioner and respondent are an estranged couple and both are medical practitioners apparently of some standing in the profession. The petitioner-husband has instituted suit seeking a decree for annulment of marriage which stands pending and respondent also filed an application u/s. 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, seeking Rs.1, 00,000/- as monthly maintenance and for a lump sum of Rs 75,000/- as litigation expenses; the same having been rejected. The petitioner then filed an application u/s. 151 of CPC, 1908 r/w Section 301 CrPC seeking Court to initiate proceedings for the offence of perjury contending that the respondent had falsely stated as to her unemployment & lack of income. The Court thereby rejected the application and hence agrreived by this, present writ petition was filed.
Counsel for the petitioner Mr. Praveen R submitted that the respondent-wife in her affidavit supporting the application for maintenance had falsely stated as to her unemployment & lack of income.
Counsel for the respondent Mr. C H Jadhav and Ms. Rashmi Jadhav submitted that that in a complaint filed by the respondent-wife in relation to petitioner allegedly producing come Tax Returns & other documents of the respondent, the police are still investigating the matter and therefore the question of perjury is premature; that whether in a case of alleging perjury, action needs to be taken or not, is a matter left to the discretion of the Court concerned before whom the substantive proceedings are pending and therefore, discretionary orders of the kind cannot be subjected to a deeper scrutiny in writ jurisdiction.
The Court relied on judgment Mahila Vinod Kumari v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2008) 8 SCC 34 wherein it was observed as under:
“… The evil of perjury has assumed alarming proportions 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…”
The Court observed that police investigation has nothing to do with perjury allegedly committed by the respondent; act of perjury is treated as a heinous offence in all civilized societies; consideration of complaints with regard to the same cannot be deferred or delayed; otherwise there is all possibility of the fountain of justice being polluted.
Lord Macaulay as the first Chairman of Law Commission of India in his report has stated:
“Giving of false evidence must always be a grave offence. But few points in penal legislation seems to us clearer than that the law ought to make a distinction between that kind of false evidence which produces great evils and that kind of false evidence which produces comparatively slight evils…. As the ordinary punishment for false evidence, we propose imprisonment for a term of not more than seven years, nor less than one year…”
The Court further observed that the Trial Judge ought to have considered petitioner’s subject application with due seriousness and at the earliest point of time, there being no justification for deferring its consideration since it touched purity of judicial proceedings. It was also observed that the view of the learned trial Judge that petitioner can move similar application subsequently offends sense of justice; applications of the kind need to be considered on merits at the earliest point of time so that a loud message goes to the unscrupulous section of the litigant public as to what would befall the perjuring parties.
The Court thus held “this writ petition succeeds; impugned order is set at naught; matter is remitted for consideration afresh; till such consideration takes place, the main matter shall be parked at a bay.”
[Praveen R v. Arpitha, Writ Petition No.19448 of 2015, decided on 31-08-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.