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Section 197 in The Indian Penal Code
Section 313 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Section 52 in The Indian Penal Code

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Rajasthan High Court
Mangtu Ram vs State Of Rajasthan on 21 April, 2003
Equivalent citations: 2003 CriLJ 4733, RLW 2004 (1) Raj 226, 2004 (1) WLC 256
Author: S K Garg
Bench: S K Garg

JUDGMENT

Sunil Kumar Garg, J.

1. This revision petition has been filed by the accused petitioner against the judgment dated 9.9.92 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Nohar in Criminal Appeal No. 31/90 by which the learned Additional Sessions Judge dismissed the appeal of the accused petitioner and upheld the judgment and order dtd. 13.11.90 passed by learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nohar in Criminal Case No. 99/88 whereby the learned Magistrate convicted the accused petitioner for offence under Section 197 I.P.C. and sentenced him to 1 year's R.I. and a fine of Rs. 500/- in default to further undergo 2 months' S.I.

2. The facts giving rise to this revision petition are as under:

i) That Mst, Chhoti widow of late Shri Khiraj (hereinafter referred to as the complainant) filed a complaint before the court of learned Judicial Magistrate, Nohar on 28.9.85 against the accused petitioner for offence under Section 197 I.P.C. inter alia stating that there was an agricultural land in village Bachhusar measuring 53 bighas and 3 .biswas in which the complainant had a share.

ii) That further case of the complainant is that the accused petitioner was Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Mandarpura in which village Bach-husar fell.

iii) It was further stated by the complainant in the complaint that Ms. Jyana was co-sharer in the above agricultural land and after her death in order to favour other co-sharers, namely Kundan Ram, Panna Lal, Hushyari Lal and Ram Prasad, the accused petitioner issued a certificate on 7.1.83 (Ex. P/I) in the capacity as Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Mandarpura in which it was stated that Mst. Jyana widow of Arjan Ram and present complainant had died and after their death, their legal heirs were Kundan Ram, Panna Lal, Hushyari Lal and Ram Prasad.

iv) Further case of the complainant is that on the basis of the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83, the concerned Patwari entered the death of the complainant in the Revenue Record and later on, the Patwari was informed that infact the complainant had not died and the entry was corrected accordingly and thus, in case this mistake would not have been rectified by the Patwari concerned, the whole property would have gone in the share of Kundan Ram, Panna Lal, Hushyari Lal and Ram Prasad. Hence, the accused petitioner be punished for offence under Section 197 I.P.C.

v) That on the basis of that complaint, a preliminary enquiry was conducted by the learned Judicial Magistrate and after preliminary examination, vide order dtd. 5.10.85, cognizance for offence under Section 197 I.P.C. was taken against the accused petitioner.

vi) That thereafter pre-charge evidence was recorded by the learned Magistrate and through order dtd. 31.7.87, a charge for offence under Section 197 I.P.C. was framed against the accused petitioner who pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

3. That at the trial, the prosecution examined 5 witnesses in support of its case. The accused petitioner in his statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. denied to have committed any offence, but admitted issuance of certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 and examined 3 witnesses in defence.

4. After conclusion of the trial the learned trial Magistrate through his judgment and order dated 13.11.90 convicted the accused petitioner for offence under Section 197 I.P.C. and sentenced him as stated above inter alia holding that the accused petitioner issued certificate (Ex. P/1) dtd. 7.1.83 falsely and defence of the accused petitioner that he was not really aware of the death of the complainant and he issued the certificate (Ex. P/1) dtd. 7.1.83 on the basis of earlier certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 issued by former Sarpanch Pala Ram of Gram Panchayat Mandarpura, was not accepted by him.

5. Against the judgment and order dated 13.11.90 passed by the learned Magistrate, the accused petitioner preferred an appeal before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Nohar and the learned Additional Sessions Judge vide judgment dtd. 9.9.92 dismissed the appeal filed by the accused petitioner.

6. Aggrieved from the judgment and order dtd. 13.11.90 passed by learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nohar and judgment dtd. 9.9.92 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Nohar, the present revision petition has been filed.

7. In this revision petition, the main contention of the learned counsel for the accused petitioner is that the certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 was issued by former Sarpanch Pala Ram on the application of D.W. 1 Kundan Ram and in that certificate, it was stated that complainant had died Kundan Ram, Panna Lal, Hushyari Lal and Ram Prasad were her legal heirs and thus, since there was earlier certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 issued issued by former Sarpanch Pala Ram of Gram Panchayat Mandar-pura, in these circumstances, if the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 was issued by the accused petitioner in which the complainant was shown as dead, it cannot be inferred that this certificate (Ex. P/l) was issued by the accused petitioner knowingly or purposely to defeat the claim of the complainant. Hence, the findings recorded by courts below are erroneous and should be set aside.

8. On the other hand, the learned P.P. submits that the findings of conviction recorded by the courts below do not suffer from any basic infirmity and illegality and hence the same deserve to be confirmed one.

9. I have heard both and gone through the record of the case.

10. That so far as issuance of certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 by the accused petitioner is concerned, there is no dispute on the point that the accused petitioner issued this certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 in which the complainant was shown as dead. So far as issuance of certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 by the former Sarpanch Pala Ram of Gram Panchayat Mandarpura is concerned, for that P.W. 1 Mst. Chhoti has admitted in her cross-examination that an application was submitted before former Sarpanch Pala Ram when he was sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Mandarpura for issuing certificate about the death of the complainant. In this respect, D.W. 1 Kundan Ram who is the son of Arjan Ram has been produced and D.W. 1 Kundan Ram in his statement has clearly stated that in the year 1980, he presented an application before the former Sarpanch Pala Ram for issuing a certificate about the death of the complainant in which he made a prayer that her mother (Jyana) and Mst. Chhoti (complainant) had died and on his application, the certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 was issued by the former Sarpanch Pala Ram. He has further stated that in the year 1983, he made another application before the accused petitioner for issuing another certificate about the death of Smt. Jyana and Smt. Chhoti (complainant) and on that basis of earlier certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80, the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 was issued. He has further admitted that before issuing certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 he showed the certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 to the accused petitioner and thereafter he issued the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83.

11. The question for consideration is whether in the facts and circumstances just mentioned above when the accused petitioner issued the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83, before that another certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 had already been issued by former sarpanch Pala Ram of Gram Panchayat Mandarpura in which the complainant was shown as dead, a case for conviction under Section 197 I.P.C. is made out against the accused petitioner or not.

12. Before convicting a person for offence under Section 197 I.P.C. the prosecution must prove the following facts:

i) that the document in question purports to be a certificate;

ii) that such certificate is required by law to be given or signed, or that it related to some fact of which such certificate is by law admissible in evidence.

iii) that such certificate is false;

iv) that it is false in a material point;

v) that the accused issued or signed the same;

vi) that he, when doing so, knew or believed, such certificate to be false.

13. In this case so far as ingredients of Section 197 I.P.C. from point No. 1 to 5 are concerned, there is no dispute on these points, but dispute pertains to point No. 6 as to whether at the time when the accused petitioner issued the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83, he knew it to be false or not.

14. As stated above, when the certificate (Ex. P/1) dtd. 7.1.83 was issued by the accused petitioner, the certificate (Ex.D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 was already there in which also complainant and Mst. Jyana were shown as dead, therefore, in these circumstances, if on the application of D.W. 1 Kundan Ram, another certificate (Ex. P/1) dtd. 7.1.83 was issued by the accused petitioner in which complainant and Mst. Jyana were shown as dead, it cannot be said that the accused petitioner was aware of the fact that the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 which he was going to issue would be false one.

15. Apart from this the word "Good faith" has been defined in Section 52 I.P.C. which reads as under;

"52. Good faith:-Nothing is said to be done or believed in "good faith" which is done or believed without due care and attention.

16. A thing shall be deemed to be done in "good faith" where it is in fact done honestly whether it is done negligently or not.

17. Thus, in the present case, it can easily be said that when the accused petitioner issued certificate (Ex. P/l) on the basis of certificate (Ex. D/1) dtd. 10.11.80, it can be said that the certificate (Ex. P/l) dtd. 7.1.83 was issued in "good faith". It cannot be inferred that he was knowingly issuing a false certificate.

18. The Court is also aware that while hearing a revision petition, the court of revision is not entitled to re-assess and re-appraise the evidence unless it finds that the judgment to be revised suffers from some illegality or perversity or when there is glaring defect in the procedure.

19. It may be stated here that where conclusions of the Courts below are grossly erroneous and great injuries has resulted therefrom, in such cases, Revisional Court may re-assess the evidence.

20. In the present case, since importance of certificate (Ex. D/l) dtd. 10.11.80 issued by former sarpanch Pala Ram of Gram Panchayat Mandarpura was not assessed by both the courts below, the findings of conviction of courts below cannot be sustained and they are to be interfered with by this Court as they suffer from basic infirmity.

21. For the reasons mentioned above, the findings of conviction recorded by both the courts below against the accused petitioner for offence under Section 197 I.P.C. cannot be sustained and the same are liable to be set aside and this revision petition deserves to be allowed and the accused petitioner is entitled to acquittal. Accordingly this revision petition filed by the accused petitioner Mangtu Ram is allowed and the Judgment dtd. 9.9.92 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Nohar and judgment and order dtd. 13.11.90 passed by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nohar are set aside and the accused petitioner is acquitted of the charge for the offence under Section 197 I.P.C.

Since the accused petitioner Mangtu Ram is on bail, he need not surrender. His bail bonds are hereby cancelled.