Report No. 152
2.9. Using force to compel statements leading to discovery.-
Apart from the question posed in the preceding paragraph, there is another point pertaining to the law of evidence, which, we believe, is of still greater practical importance. The root of this problem lies in a highly anomalous provision contained in the Evidence Act, namely, section 27. In the scheme of the Act, a confession made by a person in police custody is not admissible.
By way of a proviso, section 27 lays down that if a person in the custody of a police officer makes a statement leading to the discovery of a fact, the same is admissible, whether or not it amounts to a confession. Different grammatical problems and linguistic vagueness have been generated by the placing and inept language of the section. Our present concern is with more substantial matters.
The fact that a statement can be rendered admissible, if it is represented to the trial court as a "discovery statement" and presented at the trial in the form of a confession marked as a discovery statement, a fact will known to every police officer, acts as a lever to the police officer to use unfair means to procure such a statement. The police knows that this an easy method of circumventing the prohibitions based on practical wisdom, experience, of generations, and deep thinking.
It is an unpleasant thing to say, but it must be said, that section 27 of the Evidence Act has been productive of great mischief, in the sense that it generates an itch for extorting a confession which, in its turn, leads to resort to subtle, disguised action in regard to the section. For the present, let us say that the section does need drastic surgery, if the cause of honest law enforcement is to be promoted.