Extra-judicial confession in presence of Police officer not valid : Gauhati High Court


The Gauhati High Court comprising a division Bench of Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Manojit Bhuyan has held in Mintu Hasda and Anr. v. The State of Assam and Anr. that extra judicial confessions made before the police in its custody is not an admissible piece of evidence and acquitted the appellants who was convicted for murder by the Trial Court.

In the instant case, the victim was found dead in the river. The police arrested the appellants and on the basis of their confession made before the Police Officers in its custody, the police recovered ‘dao’ from the appellants’ house. The appellants argued that the chain of circumstances is not complete, and the extra-judicial confessions made is not admissible in evidence as it was made before the Police Officers. The trial Court had convicted the appellants because they were not able to explain the death of the victim and because their plea of ignorance under section 313 Cr.P.C. was taken against them. The High Court observed that merely because they can’t explain the circumstances of the death of the victim, they can’t be convicted of the offence as neither is the dead body recovered from their house nor were they last seen with the victim.

Regarding the recovery of ‘dao’ from the house of the appellants, the High Court observed that the recovery “does not automatically lead to the presumption that the seized dao was actually used for committing the offence. Admittedly, no blood was found on the dao. It was also not sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for chemical analysis. Moreover, dao is very common to every household in this part of the country. The explanation of the Investigating Officer Amar Jyoti Baruah that since the appellants had washed the dao he did not sent it for chemical analysis is of no consequence and does not help the prosecution. Besides, the dao was seized without any disclosure statement of the appellants. Therefore, this circumstance also does not connect the appellants with the homicidal death of Bhim Bahadur.”

Finally the Court observed that the appellants were arrested on mere suspicion as the victim had seen the appellants stealing bamboo. Moreover, the confession was made in the police station in the Chamber of the Officer-in-charge. It is well settled law that section 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act must be construed strictly. Therefore, by operation of Section 26 of the Evidence Act, the confessions made by the appellants while they were in the custody of the police cannot be proved against them and hence they are acquitted.

Click here to read the judgment.

About Alabhya Dhamija

AvatarAlabhya is an Advocate practicing at Delhi High Court and other courts in Delhi. Contact: alabhya@dhamija.com

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