Relevent Sections- 27 Indian Evidence Act, 302, 34 IPC, Article-20(3) of the Constitution.
Brief facts Of the Case- The ,respondent was charged, alongwith another person, under s. 302, read with s. 34 of the 1. P. C., as also under s. 19(e) of the Indian Arms Act (XI of 1878). The Trial Court found him guilty of those charges-and sentenced him to imprisonment for life under s. 302, read with s. 34 of the I.P.C. and to. a term of two years rigorous imprisonment for the. offence under the Arms Act.
Legal Issue- The impressions of the appellant’s palms and fingers taken from him after his arrest, which were compared with the impressions on the glass panes and phials, were not admissible evidence in view of the provisions of Art. 20(3) of the Constitution.
(3) Whether a direction given by a Court to an accused person present in Court to give his specimen writing and signature for the purpose of comparison under the provisions of s.73 of the Indian Evidence Act infringes the fundamental right enshrined in Art. 20 (3) of the Constitution.
Observation- Section 27 provides 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 the information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved. It cannot be disputed that by giving such information the accused furnishes evidence and therefore is a “witness” during the investigation. Unless however he is “‘compelled” to give the information he cannot be said to be “compelled” to be a witness; and so Art. 20(3) is not infringed. Compulsion is not however inherent in the receipt of information from an accused person in the custody of a police officer. There may be cases where an accused in custody is compelled to give the information later on sought to be proved under s.27. There will be other cases where the accused gives the information without any compulsion. Where the accused is compelled to give information it will be an infringement of Art. 20(3); but there is no such infringement where he gives the information without any compulsion. Therefore, compulsion not being inherent or implicit in the fact of the information having been received from a person in custody, the contention that s. 27 necessarily infringes Art.20(3) cannot be accepted. A question was raised in the course of the discussion as to when a person can be said to have been “‘compelled” within the meaning of Art.20(3).this question does not arise for consideration in view of our conclusion that in any case the accused does not become a “‘witness against himself by giving his Specimen signatures or impressions of his fingers or Palms.
Decision- Held, that there was no infringement of Art. 20(3) of the Constitution in compelling an accused person to give his specimen handwriting or signature, or impressions of his thumb, fingers, palm or foot to the investigating officer or under orders of a court for the purposes of comparison. Held, further, that the provisions of s. 27 of the Indian Evidence Act did not offend Art. 20(3) unless compulsion was used in obtaining