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Report No. 69

Section 27

I. Introductory

11.19. Section 27.-

Under section 27, 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.

11.20. Scheme of the section.-

Before we proceed to consider the problems that have arisen in regard to the section, we would like to discuss the scheme of the section. For this purpose, the discussion in a judgment1 of the Supreme Court, to which we have already referred2, is helpful. In that case-State of Uttar Pradesh v. Deoman Upadhaya, Air 1960 SC 1125: (1961) 1 SCR 14,Shah J. (as he then was,) after analysing the scheme of the Act, observed:

"Section 27 renders provable certain statements made by him while he was in the custody of a police officer. Section 27 is founded on the principle that even though the evidence relating to confessional or 'other statements' made by a person, whilst he is in the custody of a police officer, is tainted and therefore inadmissible, if the truth of the information given by him is assured by the discovery of a fact, it may be presumed to be untainted and is therefore declared provable in so far as it distinctly relates to the fact thereby discovered.

Even though section 27 is in the form of a proviso to sedition 263, the two sections do not necessarily deal with evidence of the same character. The ban imposed by section 26 is against the proof of confessional statements. Section 27 is concerned with the proof of information whether it amounts to a confession or not, which leads to discovery of facts. By section 27, even if a fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received, only that much of the information is admissible as distinctly relates to the fact discovered. By section 26 a confession made in the presence of a Magistrate is made provable in its entirety."

1. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Deoman Upadhyaya, AIR 1960 SC 1125: (1961) 1 SCR 14.

2. See general discussion, supra.

3 Legal Remembrancer v. Lalit Mohan Singh, ILR 49 Cal 167: AIR 1922 PC 342; Santokhi Beldar v. Emperor, ILR 12 Pat 241: AIR 1933 Pat 149 (S13)

11.21. Later, in the same judgment, Shah J. observed:

"Sections 25 and 26 were enacted not because the law presumed the statements to be untrue, but having regard to the tainted nature of the source of the evidence, prohibited them from being received in evidence."

And still later, Shah J. observed:

"When a person not in custody approaches a police officer investigating an offence and offers to give information leading to the discovery of a fact, having a bearing on the charge which may be made against him, he may appropriately be deemed to have surrendered himself to the police. Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not contemplate any formality before a person can be said to be taken in custody: submission to the custody by word or action by a person is sufficient.

A person directly giving to a police officer by word of mouth information which may be used as evidence against him, may be deemed to have submitted himself to the 'custody' of the police officer within the meaning of section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act1. Exceptional cases may certainly be imagined in which a person may give information without presenting himself before a police officer who is investigating an office. For instance, he may write a letter and give such information or may send a telephonic or other message to the police officer."

1. Emphasis supplied.

11.22. Problems stated in brief.-

These observations explain the broad scheme of the section. We may now mention, in brief, the problems arising on the section.

The section begins with the words-"Provided that". There were no such words in the corresponding section 150, as it stood, in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1861 (as originally enacted). But these words were introduced (in that Code) by the Amending Act of 1869. Since the 'proviso' is not attached to any other section, difficult problems of interpretation have arisen. The constitutional privilege against self-incrimination has also necessitated an examination of some aspects of the section. We shall deal with all these points at the proper place.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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