How much of information received from accused may be proved | What does ‘fact thereby discovered’ in Sec 27 of the Evidence Act mean? | Whether a statement made by an accused implicating himself and others can be used as an information furnished under section 27 of the Evidence Act?
Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act reads as–
How much of information received from accused may be proved.—Provided that, when any fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence, in the custody of a police officer, so much of such information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved.
Section 25 of the Evidence Act provides that no confession made to a Police Officer shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence. Section 26 provides that no confession made by any person while he is in the custody of a police officer, unless it be made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate, shall be proved as against such person. Section 27 is in the form of a proviso, it lays down how much of an information received from accused may be proved.
For application of section 27 of Evidence Act, admissible portion of confessional statement has to be found as to a fact which were the immediate cause of the discovery, only that would be part of legal evidence and not the rest. In a statement if something new is discovered or recovered from the accused which was not in the knowledge of the Police before disclosure statement of the accused is recorded, is admissible in the evidence.
Section 27 of Evidence Act refers when any “fact” is deposed. Fact has been defined in section 3 of the Act. Same is quoted below :
“Fact” means and includes— (1) any thing, state of things, or relation of things, capable of being by the senses;
(2) any mental condition of which any person is conscious. Illustrations:
(a) That there are certain objects arranged in a certain order in a certain place, is a fact.
(b) That a man heard or saw something, is a fact.
(c) That a man said certain words, is a fact.
(d) That a man holds a certain opinion, has a certain intention, acts in good faith, or fraudulently, or uses a particular word in a particular sense, or is or was at a specified time conscious of a particular sensation, is a fact.
(e) That a man has a certain reputation, is a fact. “Relevant”. —One fact is said to be relevant to another when the one is connected with the other in any of the ways referred to in the provisions of this Act relating to the relevancy of facts.”
Privy Council, in Pullukuri Kotaya vs. Emperor1, held that only that part of confessional statement would be taken into account which may lead to a discovery of a fact and that discovery should be of physical object and not only of a mental fact.
The ration of Kotaya case was explained by Justice Thomas in State of Maharashtra v. Damu2 and it was further clarified by Justice Sarkaria in Mohd. Inayatullah v. State of Maharashtra3.
State of Maharashtra v. Damu 4:
“The decision of the Privy Council in Pulukuri Kottaya v. Emperor is the most quoted authority for supporting the interpretation that the ‘fact discovered’ envisaged in the section embraces the place from which the object was produced, the knowledge of the accused as to it, but the information given must relate distinctly to that effect.”
Mohd. Inayatullah v. State of Maharashtra5
The court clarified that the expression “fact discovered” in Section 27 is not restricted to a physical or material fact which can be perceived by the senses, and that it does include a mental fact. This was again re-affirmed by the Supreme court in Udai Bhan Rai vs State Of U.P. And Others6– “Now it is fairly settled that the expression ‘fact discovered’ includes not only the physical object produced, but also the place from which it is produced and the knowledge of the accused”
Example: In State of Maharashtra v. Damu Gopinath Shinde & Ors.7, the accused made a statement that dead body of the child was carried up to a particular spot and a broken glass piece recovered from the spot was found to be part of the tail lamp of the motorcycle of co-accused alleged to be used for the said purpose. The statement leading to the discovery of a fact that accused had carried dead body by a particular motorcycle up to the said spot would be admissible in evidence.
The basic idea embedded in Section 27 of the Evidence Act is the doctrine of confirmation by subsequent events. The doctrine is founded on the principle that if any fact is discovered in a search made on the strength of any information obtained from a prisoner, such a discovery is a guarantee that the information supplied by the prisoner is true. The information might be confessional or non-inculpatory in nature, but if it results in discovery of a fact it becomes a reliable information. Hence the legislature permitted such information to be used as evidence by restricting the admissible portion to the minimum. It is now well settled that recovery of an object is not discovery of a fact as envisaged in the section. The decision of the Privy Council in Pulukuri Kottaya v. Emperor8 is the most quoted authority for supporting the interpretation that the “fact discovered” envisaged in the section embraces the place from which the object was produced, the knowledge of the accused as to it, but the information given must relate distinctly to that effect.
In Ismail v. Emperor9
it was held that where as a result of information given by the accused another co-accused was found by the police the statement by the accused made to the Police as to the whereabouts of the co-accused was held to be admissible under section 27 as evidence against the accused.
In Subedar & Ors. v. King-Emperor10 it was held that a statement made by the accused implicating himself and others cannot be called ‘first information report’. However, it was held that though it could not be treated as first information report but could be used as information furnished under section 27 of Evidence Act.
- AIR 1947 PC 67.
- AIR 2000 SC 1691.
- 1976 1 SCC 828.
- supra, at 2.
- supra, at 3.
- AIR 1994 SC 1603.
- supra, at 2.
- supra, at 1.
- AIR 1946 Sind 43.
- AIR 1924 All. 207.
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