The information given to the public servant must be with knowledge of its falsity or with belief that it is false, and the giver of the information must either have intention to cause the public servant, or knowledge that it is likely that he would cause the public servant, to do or omit what has been stated in clause (a) or clause (b) of the section. Absence of the required intention or knowledge would mean absence of liability of the information giver.
Similarly, absence of knowledge or belief of the falsity of the information would mean non-applicability of the section. The section is intended to ensure that public servants are not misled in the performance of their duties. The section does not require that the public servant must always do or omit to do something on the basis of the information.
The important thing is that the accused has the necessary intention or knowledge that the public servant would do or omit to do something likely Þ result into consequences as stated under the section. The section needs to be understood in the light of section 195 (1) (a) (i) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 according to which no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under sections 172 to 188, both inclusive, of the Indian Penal Code, except on the complaint in writing of the public servant concerned or of some other public servant to whom he is administratively subordinate.
Gives to any public servant any information
There has been a difference of views amongst courts with respect to the interpretation of the word ‘gives’ used in section 182 of the Code. While the Bombay and Patna High Courts have held that there is no difference between volunteering an information and information given in answer to question put by a public servant, and both these are covered within the word ‘gives’, the former Chief Court of Punjab held the view that the word ‘gives’ intends only such information as has been volunteered to the public servant and not that which has come by way of answer to a question.
The Patna High Court has held that where certain members of a political party passed resolutions criticising the administration and the public about their inaction and lack of sense of duty with respect to certain happenings, and copies of the resolutions were sent to different officers and people, section 182 of the Code did not apply.
The Gujarat High Court is of the opinion that the word ‘information’ under section 182 contemplates the first information on the basis of which the police gets set to take necessary action in a matter, and the follow up action at a later stage in the form of recording and collection of evidence etc. are not meant to be included within this word.
The Allahabad High Court refused to convict an accused under this section who had made a false report of a robbery having been committed in his house with a view to suppress certain documents by showing them as having been stolen in the course of that robbery.
It has been held by the Gujarat High Court that to initiate an action under section 182 of the Code, an application under section 476 (1), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 [corresponding with section 340 (1), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973] does not lie because under section 476 (1) of the Code of 1898 [i.e., section 340 (1) of the Code of 1973] sections 172 to 188 of the Indian Penal Code have been specifically excluded from any inquiry.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has ruled that where a sessions judge rightly acquitted an alleged assailant because though the person lodging the first information report had named him therein he refused to identify him in the court, the sessions judge was not competent to initiate later on proceedings under section 182 of the Code against the person lodging the first information report because the investigating machinery was set in motion by a message received by telephone and also because the first information report was made not to the sub-divisional magistrate but to the police.
The Rajasthan High Court is of the opinion that where someone gives a false information against another, alleging that he had committed certain offences, which was found to be false by the police the discharge of the person charged by the Court was naturally correct and the station house officer of the police station was competent to file a complaint under section 182 of the Code against him.
The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by any magistrate.