Today we can’t imagine a society without law. It clearly reflects that, laws became part and parcel of our lives. Law provides certain rules and regulations through which social order can be maintained. It also lay down certain directives to resolve disputes and protects the rights of the individuals. But as society is developing rapidly and people are more knowledgeable, some evil-minded people using the law in an unethical way i.e., to take revenge on others by making false allegations.
Section 211 of IPC comes into the picture in such a case. This section deals with the offence of instituting false criminal proceedings against innocent people with the intention to injure and with the knowledge that there is no legal provision to initiate such criminal proceedings.
WHAT IS SECTION 211 OF IPC?
“False charge of offence made with intent to injure:
Whoever, with intent to cause injury to any person, institutes or causes to be instituted any criminal proceeding against that person, or falsely charges any person with having committed an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawful ground for such proceeding or charge against that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both;
and if such criminal proceeding is instituted on a false charge of an offence punishable with death, [imprisonment for life], or imprisonment for seven years or upwards, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
- The meaning of the term injury in this section is the same as explained under Section 44of the Indian Penal Code.
- A case can be considered as instituted in a court only when the court takes cognizance of that particular case.
- A case under Section 211 of IPC can be filed against the facto complainant but not against the investigation officer because it interferes with the freedom to perform an investigation.
- In order to initiate the proceedings under Section 211 of the IPC, the limitation period would begin to run from the date of the alleged false complaint, not from the dismissal or withdrawal of the claimed false complaint.
INGREDIENTS OF SECTION 211 OF IPC
- Accused must initiate a Criminal Proceeding
- There should not be any legal ground to institute the criminal proceeding
- Accused must know that there was no legal ground
- The accused should have an intention to cause injury to the person on whom the criminal proceeding was initiated
COMMON TYPES OF FALSE COMPLAINTS
- Misuse of Section 498A of IPC by the woman: There are several instances in which the woman are filing fake complaints against her husband and in-laws under section 498A of IPC.
- People who are not ready to face competition, making false complaints against others in order to lower their reputation in society.
- Females filing false rape complaints in order to blackmail and get material gain or to obtain sympathy from society.
- When there is a clash for property between the brothers, one of the brothers is making false complaints on the other, or one of the brother’s wives making false accusations against another brother.
- Filing false complaints in order to take revenge, harass, or blackmail.
- When the children had a love marriage without parents’ consent, the parents of the girl making false complaints of abduction and kidnapping against the boy.
NATURE OF PUNISHMENT
- When the criminal Proceeding instituted with the intent to injure: non-cognizable, non-compoundable, bailable, triable by Magistrate first class.
- When the criminal proceeding instituted is punishable with imprisonment 7 years: non-cognizable, non-compoundable, bailable, triable by Magistrate first class.
- When the criminal proceeding instituted is punishable with life imprisonment or death sentence: non-cognizable, non-compoundable, bailable, triable by the Sessions court.
STEPS TO BE TAKEN WHEN A FALSE CASE IS REGISTERED AGAINST YOU
- Attend the court trials and do your best to defend them
- In case of the offence instituted is Cognizable and non-bailable, to prevent arrest, apply for anticipatory bail to the sessions court or high court under Section 438 of CrPC
- File a writ petition before the high court under Article 226 for quashing the FIR citing adequate grounds.
- File a case under Section 211 of IPC. But this can be filed after quashing FIR or being discharged from the court
- The victim can also lodge a complaint about defamation under section 499 of IPC.
- Radhika v. Wilson Sundararaj
Facts: The petitioner is a DSP who was assigned to investigate the case of Respondent. Because of the report submitted by the petitioner, the respondent (accused in that case) faced court trials. In that case after the court trials, the respondent got acquitted by the court. The respondent filed a petition against the petitioner under Section 211 of IPC and the court ordered an inquiry against the petitioner based on this petition. Following that, the petitioner filed a petition before the Madras High Court and submitted that he had only conducted an investigation based on the FIR after the case transferred to CBCID, and the only cause that the respondent was acquitted does not constitute an offence under Section 211 of IPC.
Judgment: The court held that the investigating officer cannot be prosecuted with false allegation under Section 211 of the IPC, even though the accused got acquitted. Also held that petitioner does not have to undergo any inquiry and the summons issued by the lower court to the petitioner quashed.
Indian legal framework is so perfectly designed to provide justice to each and every individual. It provides us with several fundamental rights, legal rights, and constitutional rights. But some unscrupulous people use it to take revenge on innocent people or to harass someone or using it as a tool to blackmail in order to get profited. Filing false complaints can adversely affect the victim’s personal life. Being accused of an offence lowers the reputation of the individual in society. It leaves everlasting scars on the life of the victims. Section 211 of IPC provides them with justice. It is a gift our legal framework provided to those victims. Such an important provision should be known to all the people. Let’s play our role in creating awareness among the people about section 211 of IPC.
Author(s) Name: Kethana Tamminaina (Student, Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam)
 Indian Penal Code 1860, s 211
 Code of Crimminal Procedure 1973, s 438
 Constitution of India, art. 226
 Indian Penal Code 1860, s 499
 A. Radhika v Wilson Sundararaj (2021) 1 MWN (Crl) 381