Section 219 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

The section states that whoever, being a public servant, either corruptly or maliciously makes or pronounces any report, order, verdict, or decision in any stage of judicial proceeding about which he has knowledge that the same is contrary to law, shall be punished with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

The section which must be read in conjunction with section 77 of the Code requires that the making or pronouncement on the part of the public servant must be corruptly or maliciously done and it has to be in any stage of a judicial proceeding. The expressions ‘corruptly’ and ‘maliciously’ have not been defined in the Indian Penal Code.

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The word ‘corruptly’ which has also been used in sections 196, 198, 200 and 220 of the Code, however, means that the act has been done with the intention of gaining some unfair advantage which is inconsistent with the rights of others or one’s own official duty. The word ‘maliciously’ means an act done with ill will or spite without any just cause or excuse to the detriment of another.

The making or pronouncement may be in the form of any report, order, verdict or decision in any stage of a judicial proceeding. The prosecution must also establish that the accused under this section had knowledge that the report, etc. on his part was contrary to law.

A corrupt or malicious report submitted by the police before any order under the relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 was drawn up, not being a judicial proceeding, section 219 is not attracted.

Similarly, an arbitration proceeding under the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Act of any State, not being a judicial proceeding, will not entail liability under this section even if other requirements of the provision are fulfilled.

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