Perjury- In case of Perjury Court can Invoke Contempt Jurisdiction

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August 08, 2018

In this case, the Delhi High Court ruled on two important points. Firstly, in case of Perjury, the Court can invoke jurisdiction and Secondly, Local Commissioner’s report can form the basis of an action of contempt against the contemnor.

Case name: Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Mr. Omi and Anr.

Date of Judgment: August 07, 2018

Brief Facts of the case: The case involves the contentious issue pertaining to sale of counterfeit goods. In the case, the Petitioner i.e. Louis Vuitton Malletier had alleged infringement of trademark and dilution and tarnishment of its brand Louis Vuitton by the Defendants and accordingly sought permanent injunction against them.

Also Read Counterfeiting in India: Laws and Remedies

Subsequently, an ex-parte ad interim injunction was passed in favour of petitioner and a local commissioner was appointed to visit the premises of the defendant. The local commissioner in the Defendant’s premises found infringing goods. The defendant in his statement under oath denied selling branded goods. Consequently, the petitioner filed another application for appointment of a Local Commissioner and accordingly Local Commissioner was appointed to conduct an investigation at the premises of the defendant. The local commissioner found stock of more than five hundred counterfeit products of thirty four different brands at defendant’s premises. Consequently, the petitioner filed the present contempt petition, wherein the defendant’s counsel admitted that the defendant had lied before this Court under oath.

In case of Perjury, Court can Invoke Contempt Jurisdiction

In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the Court held that in case of Perjury, the Court can invoke contempt jurisdiction. The Court further remarked that in a case where a false affidavit had been sworn by a deponent, the Supreme Court had invoked its Criminal Contempt jurisdiction under Section 2(c) of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971  and punished the contemnor under Section 12 of the said Act[1].

Also read Important Judgments on Contempt Law in India in India

The High Court with reference to perjury remarked that “It would be a great public disaster if the fountain of justice is allowed to be poisoned by anyone giving false statements and/or fabricating false evidence in a court of law. The stream of justice has to be kept clear and pure and anyone soiling its purity must be dealt with sternly so that the message percolates loud and clear that no one can be permitted to undermine the dignity of the Court and interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings or the administration of justice.”

The High Court noted that in the present case the defendant had perjured himself by admittedly making false statements before court under oath, thus the Court is entitled in law to invoke its contempt jurisdiction.

Local Commissioner is the Eyes and Ears of the Court

One of the defence taken by the Contemnor in the case was that a Local Commissioner’s report is not mentioned in any reported judgment, as an instance of contempt in the face of the Court.

While brushing aside the aforesaid contention of the defendant, the Court observed that the Local Commissioner is effectively the eyes and ears of the Court.

The Court held that the reports of the Local Commissioner form a part of the Court record and what is recorded therein, especially as it has not been disputed, shall be deemed to have been recorded/seen by this Court and the said reports can form the basis of an action under Section 14 of the Act 1971 (contempt in the face of the Court).

The entire case can be accessed here.

[1] Dhananjay Sharma Vs. State of Hrayana & Ors., (1995) 3 SCC 757