The Ingredients of the offence of Fabricating False Evidence (Indian Penal Code, 1860)
The essential ingredients of the section are:
1. Causing any circumstances to exist, or making (a) any false entry in a book or record, or (b) making a document containing a false statement.
2. Doing one of the above acts with the intention that it may appear in evidence in (a) a judicial proceeding or (b) proceeding taken by law before a public servant or an arbitrator.
3. Doing such act with the intention that it may cause any person, who, in such proceeding, is to form an opinion upon the evidence, to entertain an erroneous opinion. The formation of opinion should be touching any point material to the result of such proceeding.
(i) A puts towels into a box belonging to Z, with the intention that they may be found in that box, and that this circumstance may cause Z to be convicted of theft. A has fabricated false evidence, (ii) A makes a false entry in his shop book for the purpose of using it as corroborative evidence in a court of justice.
A has fabricated false evidence, (iii) A, with the intention of causing Z to be convicted of a criminal conspiracy, writes a letter in imitation of Z’s handwriting, purporting to be addressed to an accomplice in such criminal conspiracy, and puts the letter in a place which he knows that the officers of the police arc likely to search. A has fabricated false evidence.
(b) A is not guilty of fabricating false evidence. To constitute the offence it is necessary that the false entry should have been with the intention that it may appear in a judicial proceeding. The document was clearly inadmissible in evidence and hence no offence was committed.
(c) Giving and Fabricating False Evidence:
In the first place, although the intention forms the essence of the two offences of giving false evidence and fabricating false evidence, in the case of the former only the general intention is sufficient, but in the case of the latter particular intention is essential, viz., to cause a person in a proceeding to entertain an erroneous opinion by causing any circumstance to exist or making any false entry in a book or making any false statement.
In the next place, in the case of giving false evidence the offence is committed by a person who is legally bound by an oath to state the truth. This is not necessary in the case of fabricating false evidence.
In the third place, the false statement need not be on any material point, but in the case of fabricating false evidence in order to make out the offence, it must be on a material point.
In the fourth place the effect of the evidence on the person who is to form an opinion upon the evidence in a proceeding is immaterial in false evidence, but it is very essential in the case of fabricating false evidence.
And, lastly, there should be a proceeding being conducted in the case of false evidence, but such proceeding need not be in existence in the case of fabricating false evidence; there need only be a prospect of such proceeding where the evidence so fabricated in intended to be used.
State what offence, if any, has been committed in the following cases?
(a) A copyist made an incorrect copy of a document by adding a name which was not in the original.
(b) A bailiff falsely deposed before the Nazir to have affected the service of a summons upon a person knowing full well that he had not done so and the Nazir certified the service.
(c) A, knowing that B has murdered Z, assists P to hide the dead body with the intention of screening A from punishment.
(d) A husband commits a murder and conceals the dead body in the house and at his behest the wife refuses to give it away or refuses the outsider from entering the house during the absence of her husband.
Ans. (a) The copyist has committed an offence under Section 197 of the Indian Penal Code of issuing or signing a false certificate. The section reads: “Whoever issuing a false certificate, required by law to be given or signed, or relating to any fact of which such certificate is by law admissible in evidence, knowing or believing that such certificate is false in any material point, shall be punished in the same manner as if he gave false evidence.”
Here the copyist was required to make a copy of the document, which was admissible in evidence and the copyist did interpolate a name knowing that he was doing it falsely.
(b) The Nazir would be liable for an abetment of the offence under Section 197, though he may be totally innocent.
(c) A is liable to imprisonment of either description for seven years and also to fine under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code. That section lays down that whoever, knowing that an offence has been committed causes any evidence of the commission of that offence to disappear, with the intention of screening the offender from legal punishment, shall, if the offence committed is punishable with death, be liable for imprisonment for a term up to seven years “‘id fine and less if the offence committed is not so serious.
(d) It has been held that as a result of the legal unity of spouses, if a wife refuses to disclose information that will lead to detection of her husband’s crime, no inference should be deduced so as to ascribe to her criminal intention.
Under the circumstances in the given problem the wife has committed no offence under Section 201 of the Code unless she has removed the body from where the murder was committed and concealed it in the house.