Supreme Court: Making a contradictory statement in a trial is not an offence by itself

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In the case of Amarsang Nathaji vs. Hardik Harshadbhai Patel, the Supreme Court has held that the mere fact that a person made a contradictory statement in a judicial proceeding was not by itself always sufficient to justify prosecution under Sections 199 and 200 of the Indian Penal Code.
The bench comprising of  Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice RF Nariman  has made such observation in an appeal against an order passed by Gujarat High Court wherein the court had directed the Registrar (Judicial) to make complaint against a litigant in view of the findings recorded by the court for the offence under Sections 199 and 200 of the IPC. The high court had observed that the conduct of the complainant has affected the administration of justice, and therefore, it is in the interests of justice to file a complaint against the appellant under Section 340 of the Code.

The apex court stated that there are two pre-conditions for initiating proceedings under Section 340 CrPC:

(i)    materials produced before the court must make out a prima facie case for a complaint for the purpose of inquiry into an offence referred to in clause (b) (i) of sub-Section (1) of Section 195 of the CrPC, and
(ii)    For the interests of justice that an inquiry should be made into the offence.

The mere fact that a person has made a contradictory statement in a proceeding does not constitute an offence under Sections 199 and 200 of the Indian Penal Code. Also, it has to be shown that the defendant has intentionally given a false statement at any stage of the judicial proceedings or fabricated false evidence for the purpose of using the same at any stage of the judicial proceedings.

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