How much of information received from the accused, while in custody, may be proved?
Ans: A confessional statement by an accused before a police officer cannot be proved against the accused according to Section-25 of the Evidence Act. A confessional statement by an accused before any person, while in police custody is also, inadmissible in evidence according to Section-26 of the Evidence Act. After the decision in PULUKURI KOTTAYA AND OTHERS, V/S. EMPEROR – reported in AIR 1947 PC 67, followed by Supreme Court in Prasadi’s case, it is well established now, that Provisions of Section-27 of the Evidence Act, are by way of exceptions to the Rule of inadmissibility of confessional statement of an accused in custody of a Police Officer, as provided in Section-25 and 26 of the Evidence Act. The provision of Section-27 reads as under:
“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.”
Before above provisions are attracted, following essential requirements should be satisfied, namely,
(i) that the person making the statement is accused of any offence,
(ii) that the accused must be in the custody of a police officer.
(iii) the information given by the accused must lead to the discovery of the fact which is the direct outcome of such information;
(iv) only such portion of the information given as is distinctly connected with the said recovery is admissible against the accused; and
(v) the discovery of the fact must relate to the commission of some offence.
Therefore, it can be easily accepted that, Section-27 of the Evidence Act, has two requisites, namely;
(i) the disclosure of statement; and
(ii) the discovery of fact in consequence of it. If the statement is there, but the recovery of the fact is not there, the statement cannot be read in evidence under Section-27 of the Evidence Act. Section-27 of the Evidence Act is based on the doctrine of ‘confirmation of subsequent fact.’ If the subsequent fact, which means the discovery of a fact, are not there, the information furnished by the accused loses its evidentiary value, because the information is not confirmed by the discovery of any fact.
The section lays down that where an accused is in the custody of a police officer and furnishes some information in consequence of which some fact is discovered, then so much if such information as relates distinctly to the fact so discovered can be proved, and it would not matter whether such information amounts to a confession or not. This section is based on the doctrine of confirmation by subsequent facts.
That doctrine is, that where, in consequence of a confession otherwise inadmissible, search is made and facts are discovered which confirm it in material points, then such discovery is a guarantee that the confession made was true. But only that portion of the information can be proved, which relates distinctly or strictly to the facts discovered. The section can have no application, if the fact is discovered otherwise than on account of the information given.