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    Wednesday, 23 December 2015

    Perjury under Pakistan Penal Code

    Giving false evidence
    Whoever being legally bound by an oath or by an express provision of law to state the truth, or being bund by law to make a declaration upon any subject, makes any statement which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, is said to give false evidence. Section 191.

    A statement is within the meaning of this section whether it is made verbally or otherwise.

    Giving false evidence
    This section only defines what amounts to “giving of false evidence”. The definition has been enacted for the purposes of the provisions of the Penal Code, and it cannot be said that it contains any general principle of law of universal application as such. That a person should always tell the truth is a moral principle, but it cannot be said to be a legal principle as such. Whenever the legislature requires a person to tell the truth, it has so enacted in various enactments. It is only when it has been so enacted and a person fails to tell the truth that he comes within the mischief of the provisions of the Penal Code.

    Statement on oath
    In order that a person may be “legally bound by an oath” there must be a valid an legal oath administered by a person authorized by law to administer it. The person to whom the oath is administered must be a person competent is law to whom such oaths can be administered and the oath must have been taken before the statement in question was made.

    Tribunal not properly constituted.
    A person who makes a false statement on oath before a tribunal which is not properly constituted cannot be convicted of an offence of perjury.

    False verification
    It is a false statement made under verification that constitutes an offence punishable under S. 193, and  not a verification on oath or by solemn affirmation. Section 191 was framed in the way in which a stands only with the intention of bringing verifications of statement in pleadings by a person knowing them to be untrue within S. 193.

    Where a person makes a false declaration which he is bound to make in law, he would be guilty of perjury. Thus an officer of the court making a false declaration as to the manner in which the warrant of sale has been executed, is guilty of an offence under this section.

    False statement
    To constitute an offence under S. 192 it is not necessary that the false evidence should be concerning a question material to the decision of the case in which it is given; it is sufficient if the false evidence is intentionally given, that is to say, if the person making that statement makes it advisedly knowing it to be false, and with the intention of deceiving the court and of leading it to be false, and with the intention of deceiving the court and of leading it to suppose that which he states is true. But if the false evidence does not bear directly on a material issue I the case, being relative to incidental or trivial matters only, that would be a matter to be taken into consideration in fixing the sentence.

    Statement not read over to person
    Where the false statement made by a witness was not read over to him as required by S. 360, Cr.P.C, the defect was held to be curable and not fatal to the proceedings.

    Knowledge of falsehood necessary
    A man cannot be convicted of perjury unless he knows his statements were false, or believed them to be false or did not believe them to be true. A person does not commit an offence under S.193, by merely putting in a written statement or a plaint something which in a sense is not true or by omitting something from the written statement. Omission to mention the name of one of the decree-holders in an application for execution does not amount to an offence under S. 193.


    To support a convocation under S. 193, there must be absolute certainty about the falsity of the statement and the accuser’s lack of full faith in his own words. The burden is on the prosecution to prove that the statement made by the witness in his deposition in the court was false as defined in S. 191. The mere fact that the witness before earlier to the police during investigation, in the absence of anything to show that those earlier statements were true and must be true; will not in any way shift the burden of proof from the prosecution to the accused. It cannot be presumed that, in the statement made before the police the witness spoke the truth and it is not possible to hold on the basis of that assumption that, in the deposition of that witness before the session Court, he gave false evidence and thereby committed an offence under S. 193, PPC.
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    Item Reviewed: Perjury under Pakistan Penal Code Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Usman Ali
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