Introduction to Section 182 and 211 of IPC
Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code reads, “False information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person.—Whoever gives to any public servant any information which he knows or believes to be false, intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, such public servant—
(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 211 of the Indian Penal Code, reads, “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 be instituted on a false charge of an offence punishable with death, 1[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.”
In basic terms, section 211 of the Code institutes fictitious or false criminal proceedings against someone, or falsely accuses someone of committing a crime. When someone is charged of committing an offense under this section, it must be understood that the person who made the unsubstantiated false claims should have known they were false whereas section 182 focuses on someone who provides any public servant with the false information which he/she know is not true with the motive of causing harm to someone.
Difference Between Section 182 and 211 of IPC
Firstly, false information to a public official is dealt with in Section 182. On the other hand, Section 211 deals with making a false allegation of offense knowing that there is no valid or any basis for it or initiating a criminal case against a person.
Secondly, in section 182, the individual provides false information to a public servant so that the public servant does or does not be doing something that would not have occurred if the public servant had the true information. In section 211, on the other hand, the criminal institutes/causes the institution or fraudulently accuses the victim of causing him/her injury. This harm can be in the form of property, image, or a financial penalty.
Thirdly, in section 182, all that is required to be proven is that-
- False information was given to a public worker.
- He was aware that it was false.
- He wished for the public servant to use his authority to the person’s discomfort.
Malice must be proved under section 211. Section 182 does not need this.
Punishment for Section 182 and 211
Section 21 and Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”) can also be used to punish a complainant who starts false charges. The courts can penalize a person who falsely commences court prosecutions, knowing that there is no legitimate ground, under Section 211 of the IPC, with a fine, imprisonment, or both. Similarly, supplying false information to a public official and utilizing a public servant’s legitimate power to cause hurt or nuisance to the accused are also punishable 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 under section 182. Only if the court receives a written complaint on account of that court or any other court to which it is subordinate must it take cognizance of these offenses.
The Supreme Court ruled in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal that criminal proceedings filed with bad intent, or with an ulterior purpose for unleashing vengeance on the accused, or with a stance to take revenge or harm the accused due to some personal animosity, must be dismissed and set it aside.
Can the person who has been convicted under section 211 also be convicted under section 182 on the same facts?
This question has been subjected to so many debates. In the case of Apaya Tatabo v. Emperor, the Bombay high court was of the view that there is a clear difference between both of the sections and held that, “If the information conveyed to the police. amounts to the false institution of criminal proceedings against a defined person or amount to the falsely charging of a defined person with an offence, then the person giving such information is guilty of an offence under Section 211. In such a case Section 182 is not the appropriate section under which to frame a charge. Section 182, when read with -S. 211, must be-understood as referring to cases where the information given to the public servant falls short of amounting to an institution of criminal proceedings against a defined person and falls short of amounting to the falsely charging of defined person with an offence.”
But, in the case of Emperor v. Saroda Prosad, the Calcutta High Court found that a conviction for a false allegation can be brought under Section 182 or Section 211, but that if the false charge is substantial and the more serious, then section 211 should be used. Moreover, in the case of Queen Empress v. Raghu Tiwari, the Allahabad High Court expressed in the following words, “Although it is difficult to see what case could arise under Section 211 to which Section 182 could not be applied yet Section 182 would apply to a case which might not fall under Section 211. The offence under Section 182 is complete when false information is given to a public servant by a person who believes it to be false, but who intends thereby to cause such public servant to institute criminal proceedings against a third person….In cases to which Section 211 especially applies and in which a criminal proceeding has been instituted, a Court should…..as a rule proceed to determine such criminal proceeding instituted in it and should give the person instituting such proceeding, a reasonable opportunity of supporting his case before proceeding against him for an offence under Section 211….. It appears to us that it has been left to the discretion of the Court to determine when and under what circumstances prosecutions should be proceeded with under Sections 182 and 211.”
The principles established in the case of The State v. Bala Prasad are as follows:
1. Section 182 applies to all offences under Section 211, but not vice versa;
2. If a case falls under both sections, 211 and 182, it is up to the courts to prosecute under one or the other.
Through all of the above-mentioned cases, we can conclude that it is up to the discretion of the court that under which section they want to convict the person.
- Section 182, The Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Section 211, The Indian Penal Code, 1860
- State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal, (1992) AIR 604
- Apaya Tatabo v. Emperor, (1913) 15 BOMLR 574
- Emperor v. Saroda Prosad, 32 Cal 180
- Queen Empress v. Raghu Tiwari,(1893) ILR 20 Cal 413
- The State v. Bala Prasad, (1952) Raj 142
The article has been written by Gurkirat Kaur, from Jindal Global Law School.