Section 203 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

Legal Provisions of Section 203 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Giving an offence committed:

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This offence punishes giving false information respecting an offence committed. The section states that whoever, having knowledge that an offence has been committed, or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed, gives any information respecting that offence, which he knows to be false, or which he believes to be false, shall be punished with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to two years, or with fine, or with both.


There is an explanation attached to this section according to which the word ‘offence’ used is sections 201, 202 and 203 of the Code includes any act committed at any place out of India, which if committed in India, would be punishable under any of the twenty sections mentioned therein.

The prosecution has to prove that the accused under this section had knowledge or reason to believe (hat an offence had been committed, The section also requires that he gives any information respecting that offence with the knowledge or belief that it is false. The explanation expands the meaning of the word ‘offence’ used in sections 201, 202 and 203 of the Code.

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The section does not require that the person giving information should be bound by law to give the information. Volunteering to give false information obstructs course of public justice and, therefore, liability exists irrespective of the fact as to whether the giver of the information is legally bound to give information or not. The word ‘whoever’ means any person other than the main criminal.


The Allahabad High Court held that where a person, while being examined by the police, falsely stated while replying to questions put to him that some persons had committed theft and melted the stolen property, he could not be held guilty under this section because this section does not apply to cases of false statements made in course of giving evidence or while replying to questions put during investigation.

The offence under this section is non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by metropolitan magistrate or magistrate of the first or second class.


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