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Statement of Accused about the complicity of Co-Accused which led to his Arrest is admissible U/S 27 Evidence Act; SC [Read Judgment]

27 Oct 2015 4:31 PM GMT
Statement of Accused about the complicity of Co-Accused which led to his Arrest is admissible U/S 27 Evidence Act; SC [Read Judgment]
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A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court Today held that the statement of Accused about the complicity of a Co-accused which was unknown to the Police is admissible under Section 27 of Indian Evidence Act if it is confirmed by subsequent events. The Bench comprising of Chief Justice Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra was hearing an Appeal [Mehboob Ali & Anr. Vs.State of Rajasthan Crl.A. No. 808 of 2010] against concurrent finding of guilt under offences U/S 489C read with S.120B IPC.

According to the Prosecution one Puran Mal was arrested and from his possession forged currency notes were recovered. On the basis of information furnished by him  that  the  currency notes were handed over to him by accused Mehboob and Firoz, they,  in  turn, have unfolded the entire sequence leading to arrest  of  accused  Anju  Ali. Anju Ali was arrested on being identified by  Mehboob  Ali  and  Firoz  when they were taken from Jaipur to Delhi and the  recovery  of  forged  currency notes was made from Anju Ali. Anju Ali  identified  yet  another  co-accused Majhar from whose possession also fake currency  notes  were  recovered  and information supplied by Majhar ultimately led to arrest of Liyakat Ali  from whose possession also forged currency notes and semi-printed currency  notes were recovered along with instrument of printing fake currency notes.

In   the   appeal   preferred   by   Mehboob  Ali   and   Firoz,   it   was submitted that the confessional statement of the accused recorded under section 27 of Evidence  Act   was   not   admissible   as   there   is   no   recovery   of   the currency notes from their possession. Rejecting the contention, Justice Arun Mishra, speaking for the bench, held as follows;

“It is apparent that on the  basis  of  the  information  furnished  by accused Mehboob Ali and Firoz other accused,  Anju  Ali  was  arrested.  The fact that Anju Ali was dealing with forged currency notes was not to the knowledge of the Police. The statement of both accused has led to discovery of fact and arrest of co-accused not known to police.  They  identified him and ultimately statements have led to unearthing the racket of use  of  fake currency notes. Thus the information furnished by the aforesaid accused persons vide information memos is clearly admissible which has  led  to  the identification and arrest of accused Anju Ali and  as  already  stated  from possession of Anju Ali fake  currency  notes  had  been  recovered.  As per information furnished by accused Mehboob and Firoz vide memos P41  and  P42, the fact has been discovered by Police as  to  the  involvement  of  accused Anju Ali which was not to the knowledge of the Police. Police was not aware of accused Anju Ali as well as the fact that he was dealing with fake currency notes which were recovered from him.  Thus the statement of  the aforesaid accused Mehboob and Firoz is clearly saved by section  27  of  the Evidence Act. The embargo put by section 27 of the Evidence Act was clearly lifted in the instant case. The statement of the accused persons has led to the discovery of fact proving complicity of other accused  persons  and  the entire chain of circumstances  clearly  makes  out  that  accused  acted  in conspiracy as found by the trial court as well as the High Court”.

The Bench heavily relied on two Supreme Court Judgments in State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru  [Parliament Attack case] and State of Maharashtra v. Damu Gopinath Shinde & Ors. Concluding the Judgment Justice Mishra held as follows; 

“Considering the aforesaid dictums,  it  is  apparent  that  there  was discovery of a fact as per the statement of Mehmood Ali and Mohd. Firoz. Co-accused was nabbed on the  basis  of  identification  made  by  the  accused Mehboob and Firoz. He was dealing with  fake  currency  notes  came  to  the knowledge of police through them. Recovery  of  forged  currency  notes  was also made from Anju Ali. Thus the aforesaid accused had the knowledge  about co-accused Anju Ali who was nabbed at their instance and  on  the  basis  of their identification. These facts were not to the knowledge of  the  Police hence the statements of the accused persons leading  to  discovery  of  fact are clearly admissible as per the provisions contained in section 27 of  the Evidence Act which carves out an exception to the general  provisions  about inadmissibility  of  confession  made  under  police  custody  contained  in sections 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act”. 

This Judgment clearly deviates from the precedents interpreting Section 27 of Indian Evidence Act. Justice Mishra quoted selectively from the Parliament attack Case Judgment in which the Supreme Court ultimately rejected the evidence of S.27 Recovery. Justice Venkatarama Reddi rejecting the contentions of Special Prosecutor Gopal Subramaniam, held as follows; 

“Then, the prosecution relied on the disclosure statementExt.PW66/13 to establish that Gilani was well aware of the names of the deceased terrorists, the change of hideouts by Afzal and the material such as police uniforms which were procured for the purpose of conspiracy. It is contended that the relevant portions in the disclosure statement amount to informations leading to the discovery of facts within the meaning of Section 27 of the Evidence Act. According to the learned counsel for the State Mr. Gopal Subramnium, the statement of Mr. Gilani disclosing the names of five deceased terrorists who had come from Pakistan, Shaukat taking a room on rent for Mohammed in Christian Colony and the terrorists securing explosives, mobile phones and police uniforms are all admissible inasmuch as these facts led the investigating agencies to further investigations which confirmed the information furnished by Gilani. In this connection, we may recapitulate the contention of the learned counsel that Section 27 rests on the principle of confirmation by subsequent events and that the facts discovered need not necessarily relate to material objects. We have already discussed the legal position in regard to the scope and parameters of Section 27 and we have not accepted the contention of the learned counsel for the State”

It is a usual practice of Police to plant the weapon in some hidden places and stage-manage a recovery later to make it admissible under S.27 of Evidence Act. With this Judgment even that is not required.

Read the Judgment here.

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