Under the Evidence Act, a confession made to a police officer under no circumstance is admissible in evidence against the accused.
According to the Supreme Court, Section 25 of the Evidence Act was enacted to eliminate from consideration confessions made to an officer who, by virtue of his position could extort by force, torture of inducement a confession.
However, a part of the confession statement that can be read against the accused is the one permissible under Section 27 of the Act.
The Apex Court has clearly opined that the purpose of restriction imposed under Section 25 of the Act on admissibility of confessional statement made to a police officer is two-fold -- to protect the person accused of a crime for third-degree treatment and to ensure a proper and scientific investigation of the crime with a view to bring the real culprit to book.
Dealing with an appeal filed by the two accused (A1 and A2) challenging an order of the trial court that convicted them for the offence under Section 302 IPC and sentencing them to suffer life imprisonment, a division bench of Telangana High Court has allowed the appeal by setting aside the conviction and sentence on the ground that the order impugned was passed on the basis of confessional statements of the accused.
The prosecution has not produced an iota of evidence against them, the bench pointed out.
As for the case details, the police registered the FIR based on the complaint given by the brother of the deceased stating that some unknown persons had assaulted his brother and killed him in their farmhouse.
During the course of investigation, the police discovered four sticks, having blood, lying near the dead body.
Meanwhile, the police arrested some accused persons in another criminal case.
During case investigation, one of the accused made a confession statement of committing theft of one cell phone allegedly belonging to the said deceased.
The police filed a charge sheet for offences under Section 302 and 379 IPC against the appellants-accused.
In order to substantiate its case, the prosecution examined some witnesses and submitted documents and material objects before the trial court.
After appreciating the evidence, the appellants were convicted and sentenced as above. Aggrieved with the same, the accused filed the present appeal.
The counsel appearing for the appellants-accused contended that the entire case is based only on two pieces of evidence — the recovery of cell phone allegedly belonging to the deceased and upon the testimony of one of the prosecution witness.
The recovered cell phone was never subjected to a test identification parade. Identification of the cell phone, for the first time in the court, is too weak an evidence for convicting the appellants. Besides, the trial court judgment is based on the “confessional statements’ of A1 and A2.
As per law, the confessional statement made to the police is inadmissible evidence, the counsel argued. On the other hand, the State public prosecutor strongly supported the order of the trial court saying that there is linking evidence to connect the accused to the crime.
After hearing both sides, the division bench observed that the evidence has to be examined meticulously and critically and cannot be appreciated on the surface since the case deals with the question of life and death of accused persons.
It is the weight of the evidence which should convince the trial court that the accused is, indeed, guilty of the offence alleged against them.
In the present case, the order impugned clearly reveals that it is based on two pieces of evidence -- alleged recovery of cell phone allegedly taken by the accused from the deceased and the alleged confessional statement made by the accused to the police “confessing to the crime’.
Besides, the object recovered has to be subjected to the test identification parade. The prosecution has not placed any evidence against them.
Despite lack of evidence, the trial court has relied on the fact that the accused had made confessional statements before the police, the bench observed.
The bench allowed the appeal by setting aside the conviction and sentence against the appellants-accused, and said that the trial courts have to keep in mind the solitary principles pronounced by the Supreme Court and the High courts while dealing with an alleged confessional statement of an accused.