Report No. 185
This section is one of the most important but, at the same time, controversial sections in the Evidence Act. It has tremendous bearing upon criminal proceedings in the courts in the country. Sarkar's Evidence (15th Ed., 1999 p.534) brings about the complexity of section 27 and the need to take extreme care in interfering with this section. He says:
"No section has perhaps raised so much controversy and doubt as section 27 and several judges have recommended the redrafting of sections 24-27. That formidable task is not likely to be undertaken in the near future as it would require a Jurist of the eminence of Sir James Stephen."
This obviously is the magnitude of the task before us. section 27 reads as follows:
"section 27: How much of information received from accused maybe proved:- Provided 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 such information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved."
The section starts with the words 'provided' but on its face, it is not clear to which section, among sections 24 to 26, it is a proviso.
The 69th Report (see para 11.45 to 11.57) dealt with section 27 and considered whether it could be treated as a proviso only to section 26 (i.e. confession by accused while in custody of police) or could be treated as a proviso to section 25 (confession to police officer i.e. while not in custody) and also to section 24 (confession caused by inducement, threat or promise).
Several questions fall for consideration under section 27. We shall take them up one after the other.