Witnesses – Indian Evidence Law

Ramchandra Rambux v. Champabai

The Court is not confined only to the way in which the witnesses have deposed or to the demeanour of witnesses, but it is open to it to look into the surrounding circumstances as well as the probabilities, so that it may be able to form a correct idea of the trustworthiness of the witnesses. This issue cannot be determined by considering the evidence adduced in the Court separately from the surrounding circumstances which have also been brought out in the evidence, or which appear from the nature and contents of the document itself.

Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan

Appellant Rameshwar was charged with committing rape with Mst. Purni. Asssitant Session Judge convicted the Rameshwar and sentenced him rigorous imprisonment. Appeal made to Session Judge the evidence was sufficient for moral conviction but fell short of legal proof because, in the court’s opinion, the law requires corroboration of the story of the prosecution in such cases as a matter of precaution and the corroborative evidence, is so far as it sought to connect the appellant with the crime, was legally insufficient though morally enough. The judge acquitted the accused giving him benefit of doubt. The High Court the learned judge certified that she did not understand the sanctity of an oath and accordingly did not administer one to her but he did not certify that the child understood the duty of speaking the truth. Oath act does not deal with competency.

As a matter of prudence a conviction should not be ordinarily be based on the uncorroborated evidence of a child witness. The Court should look at the demeanor, unlikelihood of tutoring and so forth, may render corroboration unnecessary but that is a question of fact in every case. No thumb rule applies in cases of these sorts. The Supreme Court concluded that by considering the conduct of the girl and her mother form start to finish, no corroboration beyond the statement of the child to her mother was necessary. High Court was right in holding that was enough to make it safe to act on her testimony. Direct the appellant to surrender to his bail.

Laxmipat Choraria v. State of Maharashtra

Under s. 132 a witness shall not be excused from answering any question as to any matter relevant to the matter in issue in any criminal proceeding (among others) upon the ground that the answer to such question will incriminate or may tend directly or indirectly to expose him to a penalty or forfeiture of any kind. The safeguard to this compulsion is that no such answer, which the witness is compelled to give, exposes him to any arrest or prosecution or can it be proved against him in any criminal proceeding except a prosecution for giving false evidence by such answer.

R. D. Nayak v. State of Gujarat

The evidence of a child witness is not required to be rejected per se; but the Court as a rule of prudence considers such evidence with close scrutiny and only on being convinced about the quality thereof and reliability can record conviction, based thereon. It is also an accepted norm that, if after careful scrutiny of their evidence the Court comes to the conclusion that there is an impress of truth in it, there is no obstacle in the way of accepting the evidence of a child witness.

Varkey Joseph v. State of Kerala

Leading question to be one which indicates to the witnesses the real or supposed fact which the prosecutor (plaintiff) expects and desires to have confirmed by the answer. The Court shall permit leading questions as to matters which are introductory or undisputed, or which have, in its opinion, been already sufficiently proved.

Pannayar v. State of Tamil Nadu

Suspicion is not the substitute for proof. There is a long distance between ‘may be true‘ and ‘must be true’ and the prosecution has to travel all the way to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt.

B. B. Hirjibhai v. State of Gujarat

Discrepancies which do not go to the root of the matter and shake the basic version of the witnesses therefore cannot be annexed with undue importance. On principle, the evidence of a victim of sexual assault stands on par with evidence of an injured witness. Just as a witness who has sustained an injury (which is not shown or believed to be self-inflicted) is the best witness in the sense that he is least likely to exculpate the real offender, the evidence of a victim of a sex-offence is entitled to great weight, absence of corroboration notwithstanding.

J. K. Govani v. State of Maharashtra

Any Court may, at any stage of any inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code, summon any person as a witness, or examine any person in attendance, though not summoned as a witnesses, or recall and reexamine any person already examined; and the Court shall summon and examine or recall and re-examine any such person if his evidence appears to it essential to the just decision of the case (S.540, CrPC). The section is in two parts. The first part gives a discretionary power but the latter part is mandatory. The use of the word ‘many’ in the first part and of the word ‘shall’ the second firmly established this difference.

Under the first part, which is permissive, the court may act in any of three ways:

Summon any person as a witness,  Examine any person present in court although not summoned, and Recall or re-examine a witness already examined. The second part is obligatory and compels the Court to act in these three ways or any one of them if the just decision of the case demands where the court exercises the power under the second part, the inquiry cannot be whether the accused has brought anything suddenly or unexpectedly but whether court is right in thinking that the new evidence is needed by it for a just decision of the case. If the court has acted without the requirements of just decision, the action is open to criticism but if the court’s action is supportable as being in aid of a just decision the action cannot be regarded as exceeding the justification.

Ram Chander v. State of Haryana

The adversary system of trial being what it is, there is an unfortunate tendency for a judge presiding over a trial to assume the role of a referee or an umpire and to allow the trial to develop into a contest between the prosecution and the defence with the inevitable distortions flowing from combative and competitive element entering the trial procedure. The Court must actively participate in the trial to elicit the truth and to protect the weak and the innocent.

Raghunandan v. State of U.P.

In a criminal case, the fate of the proceeding cannot always be left entirely in the hands of the parties. The Court has also a duty to see that essential questions are not, so far as reasonably possible, left unanswered. The first proviso to Section 165 of the Indian Evidence Act, enacting that, despite the powers of the Court to put any question to a witness, the judgment must be based upon facts declared by the Act to be relevant, only serves to emphasize the width of the power of the Court to question a witness. The second proviso is this section preserves the privileges of witnesses to refuse to answer certain questions and prohibits only questions which would be considered improper under Section 148 and 149 of the Evidence Act.

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Privileged Communication – Indian Evidence Law

Ram Bharosey v. State of U.P.

The appellant has been convicted under s.302 IPC to which he has appealed. Bitter feeling existed between Manna and his son Ram Bharosey since long. The prosecution witness 1 thinks that Ram Bharosey certainly has his hands in his father’s murder. There is ample evidence that the relations between the appellant and his father were not cordial, that there were frequent quarrels between them resulting in partition, and that difference continues even thereafter. The evidence was accepted by the courts below as furnishing a motive for the crime. Reference to Ram’s conduct and to any communication made by him to his wife is not inadmissible under s.122. The testimony of PW 2 does not fall within inadmissibility of s.122, as it has reference to acts and conduct of the appellant and not to any communication made by him to his wife. Accordingly confirm with conviction under s.302 IPC.

State of Punjab v. Sodhi Sukhdev Singh

The question of privilege raised under s.123 it is not part of Court’s jurisdiction to decide whether the disclosure of the given document would lead to any injury to public interest, that is a matter for the Head of the Department to consider and decide. No doubt the litigant whose claim may not succeed as a result of the non-production of the relevant and material document may feel aggrieved by the result, and the Court, in reaching the said decision, may feel dissatisfied; but that will not affect the validity of the basic principle that public good and interest must override considerations of private good and private interest. Therefore, in opinion of the court the conclusion appears inescapable that the documents in question are protected under s.123, and if the Head of the Department does not give permission for their production, the Court cannot compel the appellant to produce them. 

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Expert Evidence – Indian Evidence Law

Sri Chand Batra v. State of U.P.

Whether an Excise Inspector could be considered an expert whose opinion about the nature of a liquid found is opinion evidence admissible under Section 45 of the Evidence Act ?  The Court holds that Excise Inspector who had deposed at the very outset of his evidence that he had put in 21 years of  service as Excise Inspector and tested lacs of samples of liquor and illicit liquor, could be treated as an expert within the meaning of Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act. Dismiss the appeal and affirm the conviction and sentence the appellant.

State of H.P. v. Jai Lal

In the year of 1983, a disease called ‘scab’ afflicted the apple orchards in different areas rendering the fruits unfit for human consumption. Feeling concerned about the heavy financial loss, keeping in view the danger to public health the scab affected apples were sold in markets, the state government took a policy decision to purchase the diseased fruits and destroy the same. In this operation about 3000 tons of scab affected apple were procured and destroyed at 195 centers set up for the purpose and @50 Rs. Per kilogram was paid to the concerned growers. Complaints of large scale misappropriation of government money were received. The government appointed Roop Singh Thakur then the Session Judge to examine the matter. The commission had concluded that some people had obtained false payments by showing inflated quantities of scabbed apple and had defrauded the government. Criminal charges were filed against the accused who denied the charges. The duty of an expert witness is to furnish the Judge with the necessary scientific criteria for testing the accuracy of the conclusions so as to enable the judge to form his independent judgment by the application of this criteria to the facts proved by the evidence of the case. The scientific opinion evidence, if intelligible, convincing and tested becomes a factor and often an important factor for consideration along with the other evidence of the case. The credibility of such a witness depends on the reasons stated in support of his conclusions and the data and materials furnished which form the basis of his conclusions.

High Court in not placing any reliance upon the evidence of an expert witness on the ground that his evidence was merely an opinion unsupported by any reasons. Further there is no evidence, direct or circumstantial, in support of the charge of conspiracy amongst the accused persons to cheat the State exchequer and with that object having entered inflated quantities of scabbed apple brought by the growers as already stated. the High Court was right in taking the view that the prosecution has failed to establish the charges against the accused persons and rightly acquitted them of the same.

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Oral Evidence – Indian Evidence Law

Bai Hira Devi v. Official Assignee of Bombay

Whether the appellants were entitled to lead oral evidence with a view to show the real nature of the impugned transaction. In deciding this question, it would be necessary to consider the true scope and effect of s.91 and s.92 of Evidence Act. As the Court observed the s.91 and s.92 really supplement each other. It is because s.91 by itself would not have excluded evidence of oral agreements which may tend to vary the terms of the document that s.92 has been enacted and if s.92 does not apply in the present case, there is no other section in evidence act which can be said to exclude evidence of the agreement set up by the appellants. The result is that s.92 is wholly inapplicable to the present proceedings and so the appellants are entitled to lead evidence in support of the plea raised by them. Accordingly set aside the decree passed by the High Court and send the appeal back to that Court for disposal on the merits in accordance with law.                

Gulzar Khan v. Smt. Vijay Lakshmi

The case is in respect to house No. 183 an agreement for sale for a consideration of Rs. 1,80,000 was executed with plaintiff on 15.11.1979 and part consideration was paid to the defendant vendor Rs. 50,000. The suit was contested by defendant alleging that possession of room was already handed over the plaintiff and this fact was duly mentioned in the agreement for sale. The trial court disbelieves the fact that possession was handed over to the plaintiff. The occasion came before High Court the expression terms in s.91 and s.92 must relate to statements, assertions or representations contained in the written contract which relate to the subject-matter of the contract and to something to be done or not to be done under the contract. The bar imposed by s.92 (1) applies only when a party seeks to rely upon the document embodying the terms of transaction and not when the case of a party is that the transaction recorded in the document was never intended to be acted upon at all between the parties and that document is a sham. For that purpose, oral evidence is admissible to show that the document executed was never intended to operate as an agreement.

In the present case, document itself has not been challenged but attempt was made to contradict a statement of fact, recorded in the document, and, that is how s.92 comes into play as held by Apex Court.

Bhawanbhai Premabhai v. Bai Vahali

The high court is of the opinion that the defendants were precluded by the provisions of s.92 of Evidence Act from giving oral evidence that the deed of sale was in reality intended by the executant to be a deed of gift. The defendants were allowed to lead evidence that the intention was to make a gift; it must be upon the footing that there was no intention to conclude contract, no contract, no sale, and no sale price. It there was a sale, price would be a term of contract evidence would be inadmissible to show that it was different from that mentioned in the deed.

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Estoppel – Indian Evidence Law

Deshpande v. Deshpande

The case is about a dispute between Gangabai and the plaintiff on the one hand and the defendant on the other hand in regard to the validity of the adoption of the plaintiff. The dispute was referred to an arbitrator, who stated the following: It is declared that the adoption of the plaintiff is not valid. It is declared that the right of adoption is lost to Gangabai from the very beginning. It is declared that the plaintiff is not and can never become entitled to the property belonging to the family of Devarao. The plaintiff’s claim is barred by estoppel as he received Rs. 8000  as a consideration for accepting the terms of compromise from the defendant and relinquished all rights which he then had or which he could ever have had in the future to the property belonging to the family of Devrao. The Court has concluded that the plaintiff was estopped from contending that Gangabai had the right to adopt him as a son to her deceased husband. The Apex Court held that therefore the suit filed by plaintiff is barred by estoppel, that he is not entitled to any relief which he has prayed for in his plaint, and the decree which has been passed by Trial Court and High Court have passed in his favor is liable to be set aside.

Shreedhar v. Munireddy

An estoppel is not a cause of action; it is a rule of evidence which precludes a person from denying the truth of some statement previously made by himself.  If a man either by words or by conduct has intimated that, he consents to an act which has been done and that he will not offer any opposition to it, although it could not have been lawfully done and that he will not offer any opposition to it. Although it could not have been lawfully done without his consent, and he thereby induces others to do that which they otherwise might have abstained from, he cannot question the legality of the act he had sanctioned to the prejudice of those who have so given faith to his words or to the fair inference to be drawn from his conduct. The factual conclusions arrived by the High Court, the appeal is bound to fail.

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Documentary Evidence – Indian Evidence Law

Marwari Kumhar v. B. G. Ganeshpuri

The appellant represents the Marwari Kumhar Community of Devas. The community held religious functions in the temple and were using the Dharmshala situated in the suit property. The respondent asserted that they had title over the suit property. The appellant had lost all their property papers. Therefore relied on a certified copy of the decree in the suit which was filed earlier. The trial court accepted plaintiff case and decreed the suit on 20th of September 1968. The trial court relied upon the judgment in the earlier proceedings and held that the titled in property vested in the community. The sub-clause (c) of s.65, where if original is lost or destroyed, then secondary evidence is admissible. The Supreme Court states that the respondents did not contend that the copy which had been produced was not the correct copy. In the absence of any proof as to the date, time and the manner in which possession as a Pujari got converted into open, hostile and adverse the claim for adverse possession could not be upheld. The first appellate Court and the impugned judgment requires to be set aside. The decree of trial court is restored.

State of Bihar v. Radha Krishna Singh

There is a tendency on the part of interested person to establish an alleged claim to procure false genealogy to suit their ends, the Court relying on such genealogy must be aware of false old genealogy to support their false claims. Admissibility of a document in one thing and attached to it the probative value of the  document is quite another. Document may be admissible and yet may not carry any conviction and weight or its probative value may be nil. The probative value of the document however ancient they may be if do not disclose sources of their information have not achieved sufficient notoriety.

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Evidentiary Presumptions – Indian Evidence Law

Kali Ram v. State of Himachal Pradesh

Kali Ram was tried in the Court of Sessions for an offence under s.302. The learned sessions convicted the accused under s.302 IPC. The guilt of the accused has to be adjudged  not by the fact that a vast number of people believe him to be guilty but whether his guilt has been established by the evidence brought on record. The fact that there has to be clear evidence of the guilt of the accused and that in the absence of that is not possible to record a finding of his guilt was stressed by the Court. Whether or not a presumption can be drawn under section 114 in a particular case depends ultimately upon the facts and circumstances of each case. Leaving aside the case of statutory presumptions, the onus is upon the prosecution to prove the different ingredients of the offence and unless it discharges that onus, the prosecution cannot succeed.

Supreme Court acquitted the accused.

S.N. Bose v. State of Bihar

The appellant demanded and received illegal gratification for treating a patient (PW.4) Both the Trial court and High Court accepted the prosecution evidence and convicted the appellant both under s.161 IPC as well as s.5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. But under Section 4(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Court is bound to draw the presumption mentioned therein. The presumption in question will hold good unless the accused proves the contrary. In other words, the burden of proving the contrary is squarely placed on the accused.

K. L. Rallaram v. Custodian, Evacuee Property

Plaintiff, who says that he had sold certain goods to the Defendant and that a promissory note was executed as consideration for the goods and that he is in possession of the relevant account books to show that he was in possession of the goods sold and that the sale was effected for a particular consideration, should produce the said account books, for he is in possession of the same and the Defendant certainly cannot be expected to produce his documents. The Court held that it could not be denied that prima facie a negotiable instrument, which had been endorsed, shall be taken to have been drawn for consideration. But if there is evidence to prove that there was no consideration for the endorsement then there can be no presumption to that effect. The evidence shows that the circumstances of the can negative the fact that the promissory note endorsed for consideration.

Hans Raj v. State of Haryana

The wife of the appellant, Jeeto Rani committed suicide on 24.8.1986 on account of the cruelty and harassment meted out to her by the appellant. Having gone through evidence presented the court is satisfied that prosecution has sought to improve its case at trial by introducing new facts and allegations which were never stated in the course of investigation. The question then arises as to whether in the facts and circumstances of the case the appellant can be convicted of the offence under s. 306 IPC with the aid of the presumption under s. 113A of Evidence Act. The trail court convicted him under s. 113A of Evidence act that he had abetted the suicide (s.306 IPC). The Supreme Court is not in agreement with the trial court holding and states having regard to the facts of this case and our finding that the prosecution is guilty of improving its case from stage to stage. We therefore set aside the conviction and acquit him of the charge of s.306 IPC, but we find the appellant guilty of the offence under s.498A IPC.

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Burden of Proof – Indian Evidence Law

Gavate v. State of Maharashtra (pp.126-133)

The matter relates to four groups of lands, which were sought to be acquired under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. When a person is bound to prove the existence of any fact, it is said that the burden of proof lies on that person. The petitioner has to either lead evidence or show that some evidence has come from side of the respondents to indicate that his challenge to a notification or order is made good. If he does not succeed in discharging that duty his petition will fail. The public purpose indicate that the  development is for industrial and residential purposes. The very statement of the public purposes for which the land was to be acquired indicated the absence of such urgency, on the apparent facts of the case, as to require the elimination of an enquiry under s.5A of the Land Acquisition Act. The Apex Court held that instead of prolonging litigation by appealing to this court, the state government had ordered expeditious enquiries under s.5A of Land Acquisition Act or act under s.17 (4) of the act, asking them to show cause why no enquiry under s.5A of the Act should have taken place at all. The Court held that there is no force in either the appeal by the owners of land or in those preferred by the State of Maharashtra. Dismiss the appeal.

Shambhu Nath Mehra v. State of Ajmer

Appellant S.N.Mehra, a camp clerk in the office of the Divisional Engineer Telegraphs has been convicted of offences under s.420 of IPC and s.5 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The general rule that in a criminal case the burden of proof is on the prosecution and s.106 is certainly not intended to relieve it of that duty. The s. 106 cannot be used to undermine the well-established rule of law that, save in a very exceptional class of case, the burden is on the prosecution and never shifts. The information was as much within their special knowledge as in that of the appellant, it is difficult to see how, with all relevant books and other materials in knowledge of the appellant after such a lapse of time however much it may once have been there. The appellant has been put upon this trial, the prosecution has had ample opportunity to prove its case and it can certainly not complain of want of time to search for and prepare its savour of harassment to allow the continuance of such a trial without the slightest indication that there is additional evidence available which could not have been discovered and produced with the exercise of diligence at the earlier stages. The Apex Court restored the order of the Session Court acquitting the appellant.

Amba Lal v. Union of India

The appellant though purchased the said smuggled good he argued that he is not concerned with importation of the goods contrary to the prohibition or restriction imposed by or under Chapter IV of the Sea Customs Act. The finding of the case is that appellant with the knowledge that the goods had been smuggled into India kept the goods and therefore he was liable to penalty under that section.

Collector of Customs, Madras v. D. Bhoormal

Some information was received that some packages containing smuggled goods had been left by a person in the premises of M/s. Sha Rupaji Rikhabdas and that these packages were about to dispatched to Bangalore for disposal. D. Bhoormull had asked one of the staff of Shri Rupaji Rikhabdas to keep the goods in their shop until his return. The reading of section 167 (8) of Sea Customs Act, goods found to be smuggled can, be confiscated without proceeding against any person and without ascertaining who is their real owner or who was actually concerned in their illicit import. But it cannot be disputed that in proceeding for imposing penalties under clause (8) of s.167 the burden of proving that the goods are smuggled goods, is on the Dept. The department would be deemed to have discharged its burden if it adduces only so much evidence, circumstantial or direct, as if sufficient to raise a presumption in its favor with regard to the existence of the facts sought to be proved. The circumstantial evidence suggests that the inference that the goods were illicitly imported into India, and was similar and reasonably pointed towards the conclusion drawn by the Collector. Collector had given the fullest opportunity to Bhoormull to establish the alleged acquisition of the goods in the normal course of business. The Supreme Court quashed the High Court’s judgment and revered the judgment by agreeing with the order of Collector Customs.

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Evidentiary value of a confession – Indian Evidence Law

State of U.P. v. Deoman Upadhyaya

Deoman was tried for the murder of Sukhdei. Analysis of s.24 to s.27, a person in custody, a confession made by him to a police officer or the making of which is procured by inducement or threat is not provable against him in any proceeding in which he is charged. Confession made by a person in the custody of a police officer is not provable unless it is made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate. Deoman absconded in the presence of a witnesses and that he had thrown the Gandasa in the village tank which established a strong chain of circumstances leading to the irresistible inference that Deoman killed Sukhdei. The High Court was of the view that mere fetching of the gandasa from its hiding place does not establish Deoman had put it in the tank. But the discovery from its place of hiding, the gandasa stained with human blood in the light of the admission by him that he had thrown it in the tank in which it was found therefore acquired significance. The offence appears to have been brutal, conceived and executed with deliberation and not in a moment of passion, the Supreme Court confirms the sentence of death.

Haricharan Kurmi v. State of Bihar

The two appellants Haricharan Kurmi and Jogia Hajam were charged for having committed an offence    punishable under s.396 of IPC. The High Court came to the conclusion that the blood stains on the clothes found with both the appellants and blood stains found in the house of the appellant Haricharan afforded sufficient corroborations to the confession of Ram Surat, and so it has confirmed the conviction of the appellant. The question about the part which a confession made by a co-accused person can play in a criminal trial, has to be determined in the light of the provisions of s.30 of the Act. In criminal trial as a matter of prudence criminal courts generally require some corroboration to the said confession particularly if it has been retracted. Reading the two provisions i.e. s.113 and s.114 Illustration (b), it allows that though an accomplice is a competent witness, prudence requires that his evidence should not be acted upon unless it is materially corroborated, and that is the effect of judicial decisions. The Supreme Court stated there can be no doubt that the evidence about the discovery of blood stains on which the prosecution relies is entirely sufficient to justify the prosecution charge against both the appellants. Therefore, satisfied that the High Court was not right in confirming the conviction of the two appellants under s. 396 of IPC. The order of conviction are set aside and the accused are ordered to be acquitted.

Aghnoo Nagesia v. State of Bihar

The appellant was charged under s.302 of IPC for murdering his aunt, aunt’s daughter, her son-in-law, Somra and Dilu, and son of Somra. The first information of the offences was lodged by the appellant himself at police station. There were no-eyewitness to the murders. The information report, which contains a full confession of guilt by the appellant. The other evidence on record is insufficient to convict the appellant. Question in appeal is whether the statement or any portion of it is admissible in evidence. For the purpose of this case, appellant was constructively in police custody and therefore the information contained in the FIR lead to the discovery of the dead bodies is admissible in evidence. This evidence in totality not sufficient to convict the appellants of the offences under s.302 of the IPC. The conviction is set aside.

Bheru Singh v. State of Rajasthan

The appellant has been convicted for an offence under s.302 IPC.  The appellant himself  was seized. The motive in the case appears to be the suspicion by the appellant of infidelity of his wife. The FIR discloses the motive for the murder and the manner in which the appellant committed the six murders. The High Court relied upon the confessional statement recorded under s.164 CrPC and found that the same was voluntary and had been made by the appellant without any threat or fear and that it contained a full confession of the crime and also disclosed the manner in which the crime had been committed. The evidence on record, the conclusion is irresistible that the prosecution has established beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellant had committed the murder of his wife and their five children.

State of Punjab v. Barkat Ram

The mere fact that similar powers in regard to detection of infractions of Customs laws have been conferred on Officers of the Customs Department as are conferred on Officers of the Police is not sufficient for holding them to be police officers within the meaning of Section 25 of the Evidence Act because the powers of search etc., conferred on the former are  of a limited character and have a limited object of safeguarding the revenues of the State.  It is also to be noticed that Sea Customs Act itself refers to Police Officers in contradistinction to the Customs Officer. S.180 empowers a police officer to seize articles liable to confiscation under the act, in suspicion that they had been stolen. S.184 provides that the officer adjudging such confiscation shall take and hold possession of the thing confiscated by requesting an officer of police to assist him in taking such possession. This leaves no room for doubt that a Customs Officer is not an officer of the Police.

Raja Ram Jaiswal v. State of Bihar

For the purpose of determining as to who can be regarded as a “police officer” for the purpose of Section 25 is not the totality of the powers which an officer enjoys but the kind of powers which the law enables him to exercise. The powers of investigation into offences which a police officer enjoy are not conferred upon a Customs Officer. It is the power of investigation, which establishes a direct relationship with the prohibition enacted in s.25. An excise officer acting under s.78 (3) would be in the same position as Officer in charge of a police station making an investigation; he would have the same opportunity of extorting a confession from a suspect. There is a reason why the confession made to an Excise Sub- Inspector must be excluded, that is, it is a statement made during the course of investigation to a person who exercises the powers of an officer in charge of a police station. Such statement is excluded from evidence by s.162 of the CrPC except for the purpose of contradiction. Therefore, both by s.25 of Evidence Act and s.162 CrPC the confession of the appellant is inadmissible in evidence. The conviction is set aside.

State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad

The facts call in aid of the provisions of clause (3) of article 20 of Constitution. The respondent was charged along with another person, under s.302 read with s. 34 of IPC also under s.19 (e) of Indian Arms Act. At the trial the identification of the respondent, as one of the two alleged culprits, was the most important question to be decided by the Court. The prosecution adduced in evidence a chit alleged to be in the handwriting of the respondent, the police had obtained from him, during the investigation, three specimen handwritings of his on three separate sheets of paper. These documents were inspected by the Handwriting expert whose evidence was to the effect that they are all writing by the same person. But it is disputed whether the accused had been compelled to give those writings within the meaning of clause (3) of article 20. The Court on weighing the facts and circumstances disclosed in the evidence that an accused person cannot be said to have been compelled to be a witness against himself simply because he made a statement while in police custody, without anything more.

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Dying Declarations – Indian Evidence Law

Kushal Rao v. State of Bombay

The appellant had caused Baboolal’s death intentionally and there were no extenuating circumstances. The court upheld the conviction and sentence of the appellant on the ground that the dying declarations were corroborated by the fact that the appellant had been absconding and keeping out of the way of the police, and had been arrested under very suspicious circumstances. The Court relied upon three dying declarations recorded at the hospital first by the attending doctor, second by the Sub-Inspector of police and the third by the magistrate first class between 9:25 and 11:35pm. If on examination, the Court is satisfied that the dying declaration was the true version of the occurrence, conviction can be based solely upon it. In order to pass the test of reliability, a dying declaration has to be subjected to a very close scrutiny, keeping in view the fact that the statement has been made in the absence of the accused who had no opportunity of testing the veracity of the statement by cross-examination. The only other question that remains to be considered is whether there are any extenuating circumstances in favor of the accused justifying the lesser of the two sentences prescribed by law. In the Court’s opinion, there are none.



Harbans Singh v. State of Punjab

The dying declaration alleged to have been made by the deceased Hazura Singh. The Court is satisfied from the evidence of the witnesses that there was sufficient light to enable Hazura Singh to recognize clearly the assailant who struck the blow which caused this injury. On the consideration of evidence the court was of the view that Harbans Singh committed murder by causing the death of Hazura Singh and also committed murder by causing the death of Munshi Singh. But the evidence leaves scope for thinking that Hazura Singh has made a mistake about Major Singh or has wrongly implicated him, therefore set aside the conviction of Major Singh.

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