Section 191 of Indian Penal Code
Giving false evidence.
” Whoever being legally bound by an oath or by an express provision of law to state the truth ……… 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 “
Explanation 2 to s. 191.
” A false statement as to the belief of the person attesting is within the meaning of this section, and a person may be guilty of giving false evidence by stating that he believes a thing which he does not believe, as well as by stating that he knows a thing which he does not know.
The opening words of s. 191 whoever being legally bound by an oath or by an express provision of law to state the truth do not support the submission that a man, who is not bound under the law to make an affidavit, can, if he does make one, deliberately refrain from stating truthfully the facts which are within his knowledge.
Meaning of ‘being legally bound by an oath or by an express provision of law to state the truth’
The meaning of these words is that whenever in a court of law a person binds himself on oath to state the truth he is bound to state the truth and he cannot be heard to say that he should not have gone into the witness-box or should not have made an affidavit and therefore the submission of the lawyer that any false statement which he had made after taking the oath is not covered by the words of s. 191, India Penal Code, is not supportable.
Whenever a man makes a statement in court on oath he is bound to state the truth and if he does not, he makes himself liable under the provisions of s. 193. It is no defence to say that he was not bound to enter the witness-box. A defendant or even a plaintiff is not bound to go into the witness-box but if either of them chooses to do so he cannot, after he has taken the oath to make a truthful statement, state anything which is false.
Indeed, the very sanctity of the oath re-quires that a person put on oath must state the truth. When there is no question of fact to be examined or determined no affidavit is needed. As soon as there emerges a fact into which the Court feels it should enquire the necessity for an affidavit arises.
Ranjit Singh vs The State Of Punjab, 1959 AIR 843, 1959 SCR Supl. (2) 727