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Bar U/s 162(1) CrPC Applies To A Letter Given Or Sent To Police Officer By A Person After The Commencement Of Investigation: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

10 July 2020 5:07 AM GMT
Bar U/s 162(1) CrPC Applies To A Letter Given Or Sent To Police Officer By A Person After The Commencement Of Investigation: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]
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The Kerala High Court has observed that a letter given or sent to a police officer by a person after the commencement of investigation of an offence come within the interdict under Section 162(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Section 162(1) of the Code provides that, no statement made by any person to a police officer in the course of investigation, shall, if reduced into writing, be signed by the person making it. It further states that such a statement or any record thereof shall not be used for any purpose at any enquiry or trial in respect of any offence under investigation at the time when such statement was made except as provided therein.
Justice R. Narayana Pisharadi was considering an appeal against conviction under Abkari Act. In this case, the Trial Court, to convict the accused, had relied on a letter sent by the Excise Circle Inspector, Thiruvalla to the Excise Inspector who conducted the investigation of the case. So the issue considered by the Court was whether the bar or prohibition under Section 162(1) of the Code would apply to information collected from a person by a police officer during the course of the investigation through a letter or other written communication made to him by such person.
The Court referred to the judgment in Kali Ram v. State of Himachal Pradesh : AIR 1973 SC 2773, wherein it was held that the prohibition relating to the use of a statement made to a police officer during the course of an investigation cannot be set at naught by the police officer not himself recording the statement of a person but having it in the form of a communication addressed by the person concerned to the police officer. The decisions Vinod Chaturvedi v. State of Madhya Pradesh : AIR 1984 SC 911, Rajeevan v. Superintendent of Police : 2011 (1) KHC 738 were also referred to, in this regard.
Allowing the appeal, the Court observed:
In the instant case, the investigation of the case was conducted by Excise Inspector. After the amendment of Section 50 of the Act with effect from 03.06.1997, Abkari Officers under the Act can only file a final report in accordance with Section 173(2) of the Code and they have to be treated as police officers (See Joseph v. State of Kerala : 2009 (4) KHC 537). If that be so, a statement made by a person to an Excise Inspector during the course of investigation has to be excluded from evidence by virtue of Section 162 of the Code (See Raja Ram Jaiswal v. State of Bihar : AIR 1964 SC 828). In the above circumstances, Ext.P7 letter has to be excluded from evidence. Then, there is no evidence to find that the petitioner was the licensee of the toddy shop during the relevant period.
 Case no.: Crl.Rev.Pet.No.2792 OF 2009
Coram: Justice R. Narayana Pisharadi

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