‘If Sec.25 states that no confession of an offence made to a police officer can be proved against an accused, Sec.26 further prohibits proof of such confession made before others also if at the time of making such statement accused is in police custody, and only exception to this Section is confession made before Magistrate.’
The Karnataka High Court has acquitted a murder-case-accused autorickshaw driver who was sentenced to death penalty by the trial court.
The autorickshaw driver was charged with the rape and murder of a middle-aged woman. The Sessions court had convicted him for murder mainly relying on the recovery of jewellery of the deceased from him and based on his confession statement connected him with the crime. He was acquitted of rape charges.
For awarding death penalty, the Sessions court said the accused committed murder of three women within a short span of time without any remorse and he is a danger to the entire women folk in the society. “He is an autorickshaw driver also. The fiduciary relationship exists between a driver and a passenger and if such a situation, especially when a woman travels in an autorickshaw, is exploited, it cannot be excused,” the court had observed.
On his appeal, a bench of Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar observed that in the absence of independent proof that the seized jewellery belonged to the deceased, the recovery made cannot be considered as a proof.
The bench observed that if Section 25 of the Evidence Act states that no confession of an offence made to a police officer can be proved against an accused, Section 26 further prohibits proof of such confession made before others also if at the time of making such statement accused is in police custody, and only exception to this Section is confession made before Magistrate.
While acquitting the accused, the bench further observed: “Though jewellery was recovered from the first accused, it is not proved that they belonged to her. A missing link still exists.”