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SEADOBIS v. LEXEBIS.C. R.,.Matara, 6,390.
Contempt of Court—Giving of false evidence—Civil Procedure Code, ss. 795,800.
Monorbiff,3.—Anunsuccessful plaintiff whose evidence is not
believed is not necessarily guilty of. perjury; but whether his evidenceis true or false, it was not intended that section 795 of the Civil Pro-cedure Code (dealing with the summary punishment of contempts ofCourt) should apply to such cases.
FTEB dismissing plaintiff’s case, the Commissioner (Mr. G.W. Woodhouse) recorded as follows: —
“ I find that the plaintiff in this case, A. B. S. Bon SeadorisAppuhamy, did to-day make a statement before me, which isrecited in the following minute: —
‘ Whereas you, the said Atale Bandaranaike Sapuachige DonSeadoris Appuhamy, have committed a contempt against theauthority of this Court in that you did on 13th March, 1901,wilfully make a false statement in the course of the' proceedingsheld in C. B., Matara, case 6,390, by stating ‘ that the defendantreceived Bs. 25 from me on the 16th October as an advance onthe condition that he would transfer to me .certain lands men-tioned in the plaint,’ which statement you knew to be false, andthereby committed a contempt of this Court, punishable uhdersection 800 of the Civil Procedure Code.’
" That statement is utterly false, and the plaintiff knew it wasfalse when he made it. I therefore find him guilty of wilfullymaking a false statement as contemplated by section. 12 (1) ofOrdinance No. 9 of 1895 in the course of these proceedings, andpunish him for a contempt of Court in terms of section 800 of theCivil Procedure Code. I sentence him to a fine of Bs. 25, andin default to one month’s rigorous imprisonment.”
Bawa, for appellant.—It has been decided that giving falseevidence is not a contempt of Court. The procedure providedunder section 795 applies to persons guilty of gross .insolence orto those who decline to answer reasonable questions, but not topersons giving false evidence (Ramanathan, 1872-76, p. 109). Inthat case, Cayley., C.J., laid down that false evidence is not acontempt of Court. Also 2 S. G. C. 8. Besides, there is no proofthat the evidence of plaintiff was false.
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In this case the Magistrate, at the conclusion of the case,punished the plaintiff for a contempt of Court under section800 of the Civil Procedure Code, on the ground that he hadbrought himself within section 795 of the Code by swearing inthe witness-box that the defendant had received from him Bs. 25as advance for the purchase of certain property. The paymentof the Bs. 25 was spoken to also by the police officer of Pitapolaand the vel-vidane of the same place. But the Magistrate,upon what grounds I cannot make out, expressed his opinionthat the police officer who gave evidence “is a disreputablecharacter, who has been dismissed,” and that the vel-vidane“ appears to be no better.”- If the statement is correct, the groundsfor it ought to have been expressed in clearer terms on the faceof the record whether the view taken by the Magistrate as to themerits of the case is correct or not.
I feel convinced that this is not a case in which the plaintiffshould have been proceeded against for a contempt of Court.There may be in evidence a certain standard of certainty whichjustifies a decision in a civil case, but that will not justify theassumption that the unsuccessful plaintiff, whose testimony isnot believed, has committed perjury.
I think, morever, that whether the plaintiff said what wastrue or not, the case was not one in which section 795 was meantto apply. The order of the Police Magistrate will be set aside.
SEADORIS v. LENERIS