Punishment for false information with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person in India
(a) to do or omit anything which such public servant ought not to do or omit if the true state of facts respecting which such information is given were known by him, or
(b) to use the lawful power of such public servant to the injury or annoyance of any person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both. (Section 182).
(a) A informs a Magistrate that Z, a Police-Officer, subordinate to such Magistrate has been guilty of neglect of duty or misconduct, knowing such information to be false, and knowing it to be likely that the information will cause the Magistrate to dismiss Z. A has committed the offence defined in this section.
(b) A falsely informs a public servant that Z has contraband salt in a secret place, knowing such information to be false and knowing that it is likely that the consequence of the information will be a search of Z’s premises, attended with annoyance to Z. A has committed the offence defined in this section.
(c) A falsely informs a policeman that he has been assaulted and robbed in the neighbourhood of a particular village. He does not mention the name of any person as one of his assailants, but knows it to be likely that in consequence of this information the police will make enquiries and institute searches in the village to the annoyance of the villagers or some of them. A has committed an offence under this section.
The gist of the offence under this section is not what action may or may not be taken by the public servant to whom false information is given, but the intention or knowledge to be inferred from the conduct of the person supplying such information.
There should be a positive act of giving false information. The section does not make the withholding of information as distinct from giving false information, an offence. Communicating belief or suspicion is not giving information. Section 182 applies to information relating to cognizable offences and also to non-cognizable offences.
In a recent case State of Haryana v. Bhajanlal, the Supreme Court observed that if any false information is given by a person to a public servant to start a criminal proceeding, the intention of such proceeding is only to defame a reputed person. The person giving false information shall be liable to be prosecuted under Sections 182, 211 or Section 500 of I.P.C.
A lodged a report at the police station that his horse had strayed whereas he had sold it to B with the intention of causing the police to prosecute B. A has committed an offence under this section. A personates B at an examination and B thus obtains the certificate of having passed the examination and B submits this certificate to the Collector for a job in his office.
But for this certificate the Collector would not have appointed B to the job in question. B has committed an offence of giving false information to a public servant.
It is true that the offence under Section 182 is distinct from the one under Section 211 of the Code though the latter is more serious and may include the offence under Section 182. The Magistrate may take the cognizance of the offence under Section 182 on a complaint in writing of the Police Officer by virtue of the provisions contained in Section 195(l) (b) of Cr. P.C.
But it would virtually lead to the circumsvention of the provisions of Section 195(l) (b) if the proceedings under Section 182 can continue where the offence disclosed is covered by Section 211, I.P.C. and a complaint is pending which has been filed by the informant on the same facts and allegations as were contained in his F.I.R.
Similarly on a parity of reasoning with regard to an offence under Section 211, no cognizance can be taken by the Magistrate for the alleged offence under Section 193, Penal Code which is one of the sections mentioned in Section 195(1), Cr. P.C. The police cannot make a report under Section 182; I.P.C. after the matter has been dealt with by a competent court in view of Section 195(1), Cr. P.C.