Section 199 declares that the making of false declaration, which is legally receivable in law as evidence of the fact so declared, an offence. The essential ingredients of the offence are as follows: (i) The document making the declaration should be one which will be admissible in evidence as per law, as proof of the fact declared in the documents; (ii) The declaration so made must be false; (iii) The person making the declaration must be aware or have knowledge that the statement made in the declaration is false; (iv) The false statement in the declaration must be in respect of a material point for which the declaration is made.
The word ‘declaration’ means any statement of fact made in the form simply of a declaration which for the purpose of proof of the fact declared, has by itself all the legal force of evidence given on oath or solemn affirmation substituted for an oath. In short, such a declaration is receivable in lien of personal testimony. An affidavit, in a case in which evidence may be given by an affidavit is a declaration within the meaning of Section 199 although it does not comply with provisions of Order XIX rule 3 of Civil Procedure Code. A person who subscribes to a declaration certifies that the facts therein declared are correct.
A verbal declaration may be made while a written declaration must be subscribed by the person making it. The ‘declaration’ contemplated under Section 199 is not necessarily statements, which a person is legally bound by an oath or an express provision of law as required under Section 191, IPC. A declaration may be oral or written. The statements or declarations made under Section 199 are voluntarily made by the person concerned.
However, the statements should be capable of being used as evidence and which the court is bound to receive as evidence. Affidavits made on oath administered by proper officer, declarations and certificates under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, are examples of declarations bound or authorised by law to be received as evidence. The declaration must be evidence and at least admissible by law. The declaration must be false on point material to its object. The declaration must have been made with knowledge of belief in its falsity. Complaint of a public servant is required for a prosecution under Section 199.
The offence under Section 199 is non- cognizable, but warrant should ordinarily issue in the first instance. It is bailable, but not compoundable and is triable by the Court by which offence of giving false evidence is triable.