The paper will talk about the increase in the rate of false complaints being registered by a person against an individual for personal reasons which leads to that individual suffering from mental agony. The paper will lay down the provisions that the person who is falsely accused has against the person who has false accused him.
In a country like India where there are rules, regulations and laws made for the benefit, protection of the country and its people, it is inevitable that the laws or rules will be misused by individuals for their own benefit. There is alarming rise in the number of false cases that are being filed be it false sexual harassment complaints, false dowry cases etc or rumours spread by a particular person to defame another. All these lead to events of suffering for the personal falsely accused not only in terms of loss of job, respect but also great amount of mental agony.
A false complaint is when a person deliberately lodges false FIR/complaint against someone in order to falsely implicate him in a false case, generally to because of enmity. False information is information that has been given deliberately with an intention to deceive.
In the case Anita Suresh v. Union of India in 2019 a woman called Anita accused her senior of making sexual advances towards her in 2011 and sought dismissal of retirement benefits granted to the man. A committee was formed to probe the allegations as the man had disproved to the allegations in the complaint and said that the allegations were just because of a grudge against him at work. The committee gave the benefit of doubt to the man after observing the communications between the both of them. After noting the record of the inquiry proceedings, the bench dismissed the woman’s plea, handing her a fine of Rs. 50000 fine stating the accusation to be false. The court also gave liberty to the woman's employer to initiate appropriate action against her for filing a frivolous complaint.
Take for example Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. Over the past years, there have been allegations that the law was being misused by women by making false complaints or exaggerated allegations for frivolous cases. That’s why the conviction rate under 498A is rapidly decreasing year after year.
There is no particular section for rumours in Indian law but rumours in the form of defamation is a crime under tort law. A rumour is a false statement communicated to someone else to damage another person’s reputation or good name. Defamation through writing is called libeland spoken defamation is called slander.
Remedies available in cases of False FIR’s/ Complaints:
Quashing of FIR:
Quashing of FIR is a provision mentioned under Section 482 ofCode of Criminal Procedure which says, "Saving of inherent powers of High Court Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice."
Supreme Court has dealt the matter of quashing of FIR at length in various cases and the landmark case which holds water till date.
The decisions of High Courts in this regard, ought to be guided by following twin objectives, as laid down in Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab (2014)
- Prevent abuse of the process of court.
- Secure the ends of justice.
In the case Prashant Bharti v. State of NCT of Delhi (2013)the court said:
In order to determine the veracity of a prayer for quashing the criminal proceedings raised by an accused under Section 482 of the CrPC, the following questions have to be analysed by the High Court that The decision as to whether a complaint or First Information Report should be quashed on the ground that the offender and victim have settled the dispute, revolves ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case and no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be formulated.
In the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal (1992), the Supreme Court had laid down following seven categories of cases in which the court can quash criminal proceedings:
- Where the allegations made in the FIR or the evidence collected in support of the same, even if taken at face value and accepted in their entirety, do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.
- Where the allegations in the FIR and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1)of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.
- Where the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer, unless a Magistrate has issued an order for the same, as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code.
- Where the allegations made in the FIR are absurd to the extent that no prudent man can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
Section 182 of the IPC:
As per Section 182 of Indian Penal Code, whoever gives to any public servant any information which he knows or believes to be false, 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.
What if the Complaint/FIR has caused mental agony to the falsely accused?
If the complaint has caused deep pain and agony (physical or mental) to an individual he/she can take the help of various Indian Laws. There are no sections in Indian law that talk about mental agony but there are provisions and cases which may help.
Even though Section 498A talks about matrimonial disputes, it acts as a shield when it comes to mental cruelty. In the caseThursday vs By Advs.Sri.K.Gopalakrishnathe court said thatfiling a false complaint against husband and his family members under section 498A will amount to matrimonial cruelty defined under section 13(1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act.
In the case, Ghaziabad Development Authority vs. Balbir Singh (2004) the Supreme Court called upon the Consumer Forum and Commissions established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to not only compensate the consumer as to the actual loss suffered by him but also to compensate him as to the mental agony, harassment, emotional suffering, physical discomfort, loss of business, loss of time by taking vehicle time and again to the workshop.
With the increasing number of false complaints in the country which leadsto the accused being defamed, terminated from their job, deserted by their family and society, and also suicides. The mental trauma that a person goes through because of false charges need to be taken in consideration by the courts and they need to pass stricter laws for punishing the person registering false complaints and causing deep mental pain to the person falsely accused.