Criminal complaint to Magistrate should be backed by affidavit swearing that the complainant believes allegations to be true

Prashanth Vs C V Kuriakose and Anr

Kerala HC

18/08/2020

Crl.MC.No.2560 OF 2015

About/from the judgment:

The Kerala High Court recently emphasised that the allegations made in a criminal complaint before a judicial Magistrate should be backed by an affidavit stating that the complainant believes the allegations to be be true to the best of his knowledge, so as to guard against false complaints.

"... the learned Magistrate should insist the applicant to file affidavit along with the complaint in appropriate cases, duly swearing that the imputations made in the complaint are factually true to the best of their knowledge, information and belief.", the High Court said, while referring to the Supreme Court's views in the matter.

"This insistence came into vogue in the wake of the bald and frivolous allegations made by certain complainants turning out to be false in some cases, at the later stage of the investigation", the High Court further noted.

While this was not to be a hard and fast rule, the affidavit was to back the complainant’s reasonable belief of the claims made in the complaint as far as is possible, the High Court added.

The Court emphasised on this aspect while quashing an investigation launched into the authenticity of an embryologist's qualifications. The complaint, in this case, was found to be unsupported by affidavit.

In his ruling, the Court relied upon a Supreme Court direction in Priyanka Srivastava and anr. v. State of UP & Ors. which had endorsed the use of affidavits to back up criminal complaints, while taking note of the rise of baseless complaints.

The Supreme Court had urged for the use of affidavits to support criminal complaints so that the complainant acts responsibly. In the same judgment, the Court had advised Magistrates to verify the truth and the veracity of allegations.

“The warrant for giving a direction that on the application under S.156(3) be supported by an affidavit so that the person making the application should be conscious and also endeavour to see that no false affidavit is made. It is because once an affidavit is found to be false, he will be liable for prosecution in accordance with law. This will deter him to casually invoke the authority of the Magistrate under S.156(3), the top Court had said.

In turn, the Kerala High Court also took note of the implications that an investigation may have on a person’s professional person’s reputation and career. The Court further pointed out that the embryologist, in this case, has already produced two certificates to defend his stated qualifications.

In this backdrop, the court proceeded to hold,

“it was rather not fair for the learned Magistrate to have entertained the complaint and directed investigation for the evident reason that the complaining party failed to submit a supporting affidavit affirming the allegations raised in Annexure-A complaint as being true and correct.”

Thereofore, the FIR was quashed.

Read the Judgment

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