Sita Ram Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh
 INSC 122 (25 April 1965)
Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872), s.
25-Confessional letter to Police Officer-Admissibility.
The appellant was convicted for under under
s. 302 Indian Penal Code. The prosecution relied on amongst other materials, a
letter. The letter contained a confession and was addressed to the
Sub-Inspector. The appellant wrote the letter with the intention that it should
be received by the Sub-Inspector, kept it near the dead body and left the house
after locking it. The lock was broken open and the letter was recovered by the
Sub-Inspector. In appeal to this Court the admissibility of this letter was
HELD: (Per Curium) There was sufficient
material on the record, apart from this letter, establishing the guilt of the
Per Sarkar, C.J. and Mudholkar, J:-The letter
was admissible in evidence.
No doubt, the letter contained a confession
and was addressed to a police officer. That could not make it a confession made
to the Police officer which is within the bar created by s. 25 of the Evidence
Act. The Police Officer was not nearby when the letter was written or knew that
it was being written. In such circumstances quite obviously the letter would not
have been a confession to the police officer if the words
"Sub-Inspector" had not been written.
Nor it can become one in similar
circumstances only because the words "Sub-Inspector" has been written
there. It would still have not been a confession made to a police officer for
the simple reason that it was not so made from any point of view. [267 H-268 B]
Per Bachawat J.,-The letter was inadmissible in evidence and was a confession
made to a police officer. [268 D-E] A confession to a police officer was within
the bar of s. 25, though it was not made in his presence. A confessional letter
written to a Police officer and sent to him by post, messenger or otherwise is
not outside the ban of s. 2,5 because the police officer was ignorant of the
letter at the moment when it was being written. [268 G].
R. V. Hurribole, (1876) I.L.R. 1 Cal. 207,
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeal No. 118 of 1964.
Appeal from the judgment and order dated
March 2, 1964 of the Allahabad High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 2531 of 1963
referred No. 160 of 1963.
K. L. Sharma and Harbans Singh for the
O. P Rana, for the respondent.
LS5SCI-19(a) 266 The Judgment Of SARKAR, C.J.
and MUDHOLKAR, J. was delivered by MUDHOLKAR, J. BACHAWAT, J. delivered a
Mudholkar, J. The Additional Sessions Judge,
Kumaon, after convicting the appellant Sita Ram of an offence under s.
302, Indian Penal Code for the murder of his
wife Sindura Rani, has sentenced him to death. The High Court of Allahabad
affirmed his conviction but reduced the sentence to one of imprisonment for
The fact that Sindura Rani met with a
homicidal death is not in dispute. What is, however, contended on behalf of the
appellant is that there is no evidence on the basis of which his conviction
could be based. Admittedly there are no eyewitnesses to the occurrence. The
prosecution case against him rests on the following material:
(1) motive; (2) opportunity; (3) subsequent
conduct; (4) false explanation and (5) confessional statements.
There is ample evidence on record to show
that the relations between the appellant and his wife were very much strained,
that the two were living apart and that this was because the appellant
suspected that his wife was a woman of loose character. This evidence consists
of the testimony of some near relatives and also of several letters written by
the appellant to his wife Sindura Rani, to his mother-in-law Inder Kaur (P.W.
2) and to his brother-in-law Tilak Raj (P.W. 1). The appellant had denied that
the letters were in his hand-writing but it has been found by both the courts
below that they were in fact written by him. The finding of each of the two
courts below that the relations between the appellant and his wife were
strained because the appellant not merely suspected the fidelity of his wife
but also charged her with unchastised being one of fact cannot be lightly
permitted to be questioned in an appeal by special leave. No ground has been
made out by learned counsel which would justify our looking into the evidence
Similarly, on the question of opportunity,
Sindura Rani who had gone to stay with her people had been asked by the
appellant to return home on the pretext that one of their children was ill and
accordingly she arrived at Kashipur where the appellant lived only 5 or 6 days
prior to the incident. Since her return she and the appellant were the only two
adult persons living in the house of the appellant.
The only other person living with them was
their daughter about two years old.
When the Sub-Inspector of Police arrived on
the morning of September 15, 1962 after receiving a report that the appellant's
house was locked from outside and the cry of a child from inside could be
heard, found the outer door of the house locked. After breaking it open he
found a lantern burning by the side of the dead body of Sindura Rani. From
these facts the courts below were justified in coming to the conclusion that
the appellant had an 267 opportunity to commit the murder of his wife Sindura
The appellant's defence that he had gone to
Punjab along with one Pritam Singh on September 13, 1962 and could return from
there on September 19, has not been accepted by the two courts below in the
absence of any material to substantiate it.
In addition to these there is the fact that
the appellant could not be found till September 19, on which date he
surrendered him. self before the court. It would be reasonable to infer from
this that he was absconding till this date. The explanation which the appellant
gave concerning his absence has been rightly rejected as false.
In the circumstances there was adequate
material before the courts below upon which his conviction could be based.
In addition to this circumstantial evidence
the prosecution placed reliance upon Ex. Ka 9. This is a letter dated September
14, 1962 addressed to the 'Sub-Inspector' and bears the signature of the
appellant in Urdu. It reads thus:
"I have myself committed the murder of
my wife Smt. Sindura Rani. Nobody else perpetrated this crime. I would appear
myself after 20 or 25 days and then will state everything. One day the law will
extend its hands and will get me arrested. I would surrender myself.
(Sd. in Urdu).Sita Ram Naroola, 14th
September, 1962." On the back of this letter is written the following:
"It is the first and the last offence of
my life. I have not done any illegal act nor I had the courage to do that, but
this woman compelled me to do so and I bad to break the law.
This letter was found on a table near the
dead body of Sindura Rani. It was noticed by the Sub-Inspector Jagbir Singh,
P.W. 16 and seized in the presence of three persons who attested the seize memo
and were later examined as witnesses in the case. The prosecution has
established satisfactorily that the letter is in the had writing of the
appellant and that the signature it bears is, also that of the appellant.
Learned counsel for the appellant has challenged, the admissibility of this
letter on the ground that it amounts to a confession to a police officer and
that, therefore, s. 25 of the Evidence Act renders it inadmissible in evidence.
We, do not think that the objection is well-founded. No doubt, the letter
contains a confession and is also addressed to a police, officer, The at cannot
make it a confession made to a police officer which is within the bay created
by s. 25 of the Evidence Act, The police officer was not nearby when the letter
was written or knew that it was being written. In such circumstance quite
obviouslythe letter would not,, 268 have been a confession to the police
officer if the words "SubInspector" had not been written. Nor do we
think it can become one in similar circumstances only because the words
"Sub-Inspector" had been written there. It would still have not been
a confession made to a police officer for the simple reason that it was not so
made from any point of view.
We agree with the High Court, therefore, that
the confession contained in Ex. Ka-9 is admissible and that it is an additional
circumstance which can be pressed in aid in support of the charge against the
appellant. However, as already stated, even without this confessional statement
there was sufficient material before the courts below on the basis of which the
appellant's conviction could be sustained.
The appeal is without any merit and is
Bachawat, J Section 25 of the Indian Evidence
"No confession made to a police officer
shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence." In my
opinion, the letter, Ex. Ka-9, is a confession made to a police officer, and is
not admissible in evidence against the appellant. The letter contained a
confession, and was addressed to the Sub-Inspector. The appellant wrote the
letter with the intention that it should be received by the Sub-Inspector, kept
it on a table near the dead body of his wife and left the, house after locking
it. The lock wag broken open and the letter was recovered by the Sub Inspector,
Kasipur, to whom the letter was written. The Sub-Inspector received the letter
as effectively 'as if it was sent to him by post or by a peon.
It is said that the appellant made no
confession to the subInspector, inasmuch as the officer was 'not present near
the appellant when he wrote the letter. I do not see why a confession cannot be
made to a police officer unless he is present in the immediate vicinity of the
accused. A confession can be made to a police officer by an oral message to him
over the telephone or the radio-as-also by a written message Communicated to
him through post, messenger or otherwise. The presence or absence 'of the
police officer-near the accused is not decisive on the question whether the
confession is hit by S. 25. A confession to a stranger though made in the
presence of a police officer is not hit by S. 25. On the other handful
confession to a police officer is within the ban of S. 25, though it was not
made in his presence. A confessional letter written to a police officer and
sent to him by post, messenger or otherwise is not outside the ban of s. 25.
because the police officer ignorant of the letter at the moment when it was
269 In R.V. Hurribole(1) Garth,C.J. Said that
s.25 is an enactment to which the Court should give 'the fullest effect. He
"I think it better in construing a
section such as the 25th, which was intended as a wholesome protection to the
accused, to construe it in its widest and most popular signification." In
its widest and most popular signification, the phrase " confession Made to
a police officer" includes a confession made to a police officer in a
letter written to him and subsequently received by him. We should not cut down
the wholesome protection of s. 25 by refined arguments.
I am,, therefore, of the opinion that the
Courts below were in error in admitting Ex. Ka-9 against the appellant.
I however, agree that, apart from Ex. Ka-9
there are sufficient materials on the record establishing the guilt of the
appellant. The appeal must, therefore, fail.
The appeal is dismissed.
(1)  I.L.R. I cal. 207 215-216.