‘Fact’ In Section 27 Of Evidence Act Not Limited To ‘Actual Physical Material Object’ And Includes ‘Mental Awareness Of The Accused As To Its Existence: SC [Read Judgment]

‘Fact’ In Section 27 Of Evidence Act Not Limited To ‘Actual Physical Material Object’ And Includes ‘Mental Awareness Of The Accused As To Its Existence: SC [Read Judgment]

The discovery of fact arises by reason of the fact that the information given by the accused exhibited the knowledge or the mental awareness of the informant as to its existence at a particular place.’

The Supreme Court has observed that the word “fact” as contemplated in Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act is not limited to “actual physical material object”, and it includes mental awareness or the knowledge of the accused as to its existence.

The Court was considering the appeal filed by Asar Mohamad and others. Asar and Asraf are sons of Akthar Mohammad. He had another wife named Zahida and a son named Ishlam. The case relates to the murder of Zahida and Ishlam. During the course of investigation, Asar had confessed to the police that he, along with his brother and father, committed murder of both Zahida and Ishlam and thereafter, dumped their dead bodies into the septic tank in the backyard of their house. All the accused were convicted by the trial court, which was later confirmed by the high court.

The bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice L Nageswara Rao confirmed the concurrent conviction on the accused (Asar) and after referring to judgment in Vasanta Sampat Dupare v. State of Maharashtra, said: “It is a settled legal position that the facts need not be self probatory and the word “fact” as contemplated in Section 27 of the Evidence Act is not limited to “actual physical material object”. The discovery of fact arises by reason of the fact that the information given by the accused exhibited the knowledge or the mental awareness of the informant as to its existence at a particular place. It includes a discovery of an object, the place from which it is produced and the knowledge of the accused as to its existence.”

“After perusing the entire evidence and taking the totality of the proved circumstances into account, we are in agreement with the conclusion reached by the trial court, which came to be affirmed by the High Court, regarding finding of guilt against appellant No.1 – Asar Mohammed, who had confessed to the police and also led the police party to the place where the dead bodies were dumped,” the court added.

The bench, however set aside the conviction recorded against the co-accused observing that confession of one accused by itself cannot be the basis to proceed against the other accused unless something more is produced to indicate their involvement in the commission of the crime. The bench acquitted them of murder charges as there were no substantive evidence to prove their involvement. Their conviction under Section 201 IPC is sustained.

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