V. BALARAMAN Vs. VENKATADRI NAIDU AND OTHERS
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Venkatadri Naidu And Others
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Somasundaram, J. -
(1.) THE petitioner herein is the village headman of Modi Kuppam, a village South Arcot Dist. The first respondent is the president of the Modi Kuppam Panchayat. Respondents 2 and 3 are watchman in Panchayat service and they were staying in a but keeping on over the trees. This not was damaged by fire on the 24th March, 1969. On the information given by respondents 2 and 3, the first respondent sent to F -1 report to the commissioner, attributing at area on the petitioner and three others. The letter forwarded it to the police for investigation. P.W. 3, the Sub -Inspector, investigated the crime, and referred the report as false on 2nd May 1969. The petitioner then filed a complaint in court against the respondents for an offence under S. 211, I. P. C. He as P.W. 2 deposed that the complaint against him was false. P.W. I, the Commissioner, spoke to his forwarding Ex. P. I report to the Sub -Inspector P.W. 3. The letter gave evidence a about his investigation and to his referring the case as false. When questioned in court, the first respondent stated that he merely brought it to the notice of the Commissioner and that he never intended to take criminal action against the petitioner. The Sub -Magistrate who tried the case, discharged the respondents, holding that the petitioner had not proved that the charge was false. The Sessions judge at Vellore confirmed this decision in revision. The petitioner contends that this order is erroneous.
(2.) THE main point argued by the first respondent is that even if the association is false, there can be no conviction under S. 211 I. P. C. as all that was, done in this case was to send a report to the Commissioner of the Panchayat Union in the discharge of his duties and he had not sent it with intent to set the criminal law in motion. S. 211, I. P. C, runs as follows:
Whoever, with Intent to case injury to any person, institutes or cases to be instituted any criminal proceeding against that person, or falsely charges any person with having committed an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawful ground for such proceeding or charge against that person shall be punished as prescribed in the section.
The Criminal Procedure Code does not define what constitutes the making of a charge of an offence, or what amounts to the institution of criminal proceeding. But according to the Code, there are two methods in which a person aggrieved may seek to put the criminal law in motion. Firstly, he may make a charge or in the language of the Code give information to the police (S. 134, Crl. P. C). Secondly, he may lay a charge or as the Code calls, it a complaint before a magistrate (S.191). Whichever of these methods is adopted, the thing done by the accuser is the same, i. e., that which is called in the one case, giving information, in the ether, making a complaint. True a false charge must not be understood in any restricted or technical sense but is must be a false accusation made to any authority bound by law to investigate it or take any step in regard to it. Mayne in "Criminal Law of India" at page 589, II Edn, observes as below
"Surely information given to A, for the purpose of being passed on to B, and which is was his bounden duty so to pass on, must be considered as having been given and Intended to be given to B".
What all happened in this case is that on the information given by respondents 2 and 3, the first respondent had reported the matter to the Panchayat Commissioner who is neither a police officer nor a Magistrate. It was certainly open to him either to forward it or with hold it. He is not a person competent to investigate the crime under any provision of the Code. The facts are almost ad Idem with the facts of the case reported in Subban Semban v. Emperor,, 1944 M. W. N. Cri 67. In that case, a gangman employed in a railway company to watch the line sent a report (which was found to be false) to the station master that he notice a person removing two keys on the railway line. This report was given in the discharge, of his duties as a gangman. It was held that there can be no prosecution for as offence under S. 211 I. P. C. even though what was stated by him in his report was false.
(3.) THE courts below have correctly held that the respondents could not be convicted under S. 211, 1. P. C. The revision fails and the same is dismissed.;
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