Legal Maxim

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The Law Punishes Falsehood




In this legal maxim, there are three special components which are explained below:

  • The law: the system of rules which a particular country or the community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforces by the imposition of penalties.
  • Punishes: it inflicts a penalty or sanction on someone as retribution for an offense, especially a transgression of a legal or moral code.
  • Falsehood: a statement or assertion known to be untrue, and intended to deceive. A willful act or declaration is contrary to the truth.

So basically, it states that the law punishes the acts which are wrongful in nature. The law does not punish the innocent.


As the murder trial progressed, both the sides presented their arguments; after listening to them, Court declared the imprisonment for 10 years to the guilty party and remarked ‘lex punit mendaciam.’


In the case of Rangappa and Others vs. the State of Karnataka, it was held that the “petition stands disposed of. Further, it is also observed that any person, by obtaining false caste certificate has obtained appointment either in the State Government or the Central Government, and if it is found that the person has made false gains based on the false certificate, then the said person has to be prosecuted for the above offense. It is necessary to refer to the legal maxim lex punit mendaciam that means law punishes falsehood.”

Further, in the case of Hs Bedi vs. National Highway Authority, it was held that “to enable the Courts to ward off unjustified interference in their working, those who indulge in immortal acts like false claims have to be appropriately dealt with, without which it would not be possible for any Court to administer justice in the true sense and to the satisfaction of those who approach it in the hope that truth would ultimately prevail.”

This maxim has been written and submitted by Ms. Vishakha Bhardwaj during her course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Ms. Vishakha is a third-year law student at the Army Institute of Law, Mohali.

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