Brief facts of the case- The appellant was tried for murder. The principal evidence against him consisted of a first information report containing a full confession of the crime. The appellant was convicted under s. 302 Indian Penal Code by the trial court and the High Court upheld the conviction, By special leave he appealed to the Supreme Court.
The first information of the offences was lodged by the appellant himself at police station Palkot on August 11, 1963 at 3-15 p.m in the form of confessional F.I.R. The appellant was charged for murdering his aunt, Ratni, her daughter Chamin, her son-in-law, Somra and Dilu, son of somra. He was convicted and sentenced to death by the Judicial Commis- sioner of Chotanagpur. The High Court of Patna accepted the death reference, confirmed the conviction and sentence and dismissed the appeal preferred by the appellant.
Legal Issue- whether the whole confessional statement in the F.I.R. was banned by sec. 25 of the Indian Evidence Act or only those portions of it were barred which related to the actual commission of the crime.
1.The Supreme Court held that if the first information report is given by the accused to a police officer and amounts to a confessional statement, proof of the confession is prohibited by s. 25. The confession includes not only the admission of the offence but all other admissions of incriminating facts related to the offence contained in the confessional statement. No part of the confessional statement is receivable in evidence except to the extent that the ban of s. 25 is lifted by s.27.
2. The Court held that the separability test is misleading, and the entire confessional statement is hit by s.25 and save and except as provided by s. 27 and save and except the formal part identifying the accused as the maker of the report, no part of it could be tendered in evidence.
3. For the purposes of the case, the Supreme Court shall assume that the appellant was constructively in police custody and therefore the information contained in the first information report leading to the discovery of the dead bodies and the tangi is admissible in evidence. The entire evidence against the appellant then consists of the fact that the appellant gave information as to the place where the dead bodies were lying and as to the place where he concealed the tangi, the discovery of the dead bodies and the tangi in consequence of the information, the discovery of a blood-stained chadar from the appellant’s house and the fact that he had gone to Dungi Jharan Hills on the morning of August 11, 1963. This evidence is not sufficient to convict the appellant of the offenses under s. 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
In the result, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal, the conviction and sentence passed by the Courts below are set aside.