Legal remedy for the victim of a false case
A. K. M. Nurul Amin: “Lex semper dabit remedium” is a well known legal maxim that means “the law always gives a remedy”. Where there a right, there is a remedy. The remedy of a victim of a false suit is still a gray area to the remedy seekers. A number of cases are initiated only to harass the accused person. Many people of the country endure the hazardous situation of the false suit and harassed year to year.
False case means filing a case upon false, frivolous, and vexatious allegation or upon some facts knowing that there is no just or lawful ground of instituting a case against the opposite party. The main reason of logging false complains is to take revenge. Out of anger and intention of taking revenge people are doing so. Though there is no standard statistics to measure how many cases are falsely field. But on June 23, 2013 former law minister Shafique Ahamed said 80% of dowry related cases are false. So this is the scenario of dowry let alone other cases.
In Bangladesh, there are multiple sections in the penal laws as well as in civil laws to punish persons filing false and frivolous or vexatious cases. False charge of offence made with intent to injure an innocent person is an independent offence under both Penal Code, 1860 and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.
Section. 211 of the Penal Code, 1860 declared that- 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, 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 multiplicity of the criminal proceeding has been reduced by the provisions of section. 250.
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 initiated a provision for the victim of a false suit to punish the person making the false accusation by remaining within the same proceeding. As per this section, if the court satisfied that, the accusation was false and either frivolous or vexatious the court may call upon the complainant or informant to pay compensation to the accused amount not exceeding one thousand taka. In default of payment, he may have to suffer simple imprisonment of 30 days. Additionally, the court may order that the person shall also suffer imprisonment up to 6 months and fine up to taka 3000.
The judgment of the court depends upon the evidence of the witness. A judgment can be dramatically changed for giving false evidence of the witness and it restrains justice. False evidence means any statement which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true. Giving false evidence is itself a punishable crime under section. 193 of the Penal Code, 1860. According to this section- Whoever intentionally gives false evidence in any stage of judicial proceeding, or fabricates false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
In civil cases the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 also provide the compensatory relief to the victim of the false suit. It is easy for the victim of a false suit to get compensatory costs in respect of false or vexatious claims. Section. 35A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 state that- In any suit or other proceeding, any party objects to the claim or defense on the ground that the claim or defense, or any part of it, is false or vexatious, the Court shall, after recording its reasons for holding such claim or defense to be false or vexatious, make an order for the payment to the objector, such cost by way of compensation which may extend up to twenty thousand taka.
Apart from the Penal Code, 1860, The Code Criminal Procedure, 1898 and The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 the state has enacted several special laws at different times to suppress crime. To prevent the misapplication of all these special laws, the legislators have made provision for the punishment of misapplication through the laws.
Most of false cases initiated from the Nari O Shishu Nirjaton Daman Ain, 2010. Punishment of false cases has incorporated in section. 17 of this Act. As stated in this section- If a person files a suit or complaint against a person with intent to harm another person knowing that there is no just or legal reason to file a complaint under this Act, the person making the suit or complaint shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than seven years and with additional fine.
Section. 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 2016, says- if a person files a suit or complaint against that person with the intention of harming another person knowing that there is no just or legal reason to file a complaint under this Act, then he will be imprisonment for not more than five years or fine not exceeding fifty thousand taka or both.
According to Section. 6 of the Child Marriage Prohibition Act, 2017, a person who makes a false complaint shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or fine not exceeding thirty thousand taka or both and for non-payment of fine shall be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding one month.
Section. 13 of the Pornography Control Act, 2012 states that- a person, official or authority who has filed a case or complaint under any section of this Act with intent to harm a person shall be deemed to have committed a crime, if he files a false or harassing case or complaint knowing that there is no just or legal reason to do so. For such offense he shall be punished with a maximum of two years rigorous imprisonment and fine up to one lakh taka.
Section. 32 of the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010 provides that- if a person applies knowingly and believe that there is no legal reason to apply under this Act for the purpose of harming another person, he is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or not more than fifty thousand taka or with both.
Section. 54 of the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009 says that- if a person, business or service provider files a false or harassing lawsuit with the intention of harassing or humiliating the public or causing harm to his business, the person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or not more than fifty thousand taka or with both.
Under section. 40 of the Acid Control Act, 2002, if a person sues another person for an offense under this Act and if the investigation or evidence proves that the allegation is false or harassing, then he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years and not less than two years with rigorous imprisonment and additional fine thereof.
According to section 63 of the Children’s Act, 2013- If a person discloses any information about a child in a court of law in the course of a case under this Act which is false, disturbing or trivial in nature, the court shall, subject to the necessary investigation, record the reasons in favor of the person against whom such information is provided may be directed to the concerned information provider for payment of compensation amount above 1000 taka and imprisonment for not more than six months for non-payment.
Although there are provisions in various laws for false cases, but its implementation is not seen in the court practice. The main reasons for this are the ignorance of the parties about the law and the delay in our judicial process. Building awareness regarding their rights in a false litigation should be spread for the end of justice.
A. K. M. Nurul Amin: Apprentice Advocate at Dhaka Judge Court; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org