Chennai: The Madras High Court has observed that there was a total embargo to use the incriminating aspects contained in a confessional statement of an accused against him and it cannot be used to record a finding of guilty against him.
Such usage would also militate against certain basic postulates of penal law and there was no prohibition in using such incriminating part in the confessional statement in favour of the accused, the court said recently.
It could be referred to to find out under what circumstances, the offence had been committed, a Division Bench, comprising, Justices KN Basha and P Devadass said while allowing an appeal against the sentencing of a person to life for committing murder and 10 years rigorous imprisonment for robbery.
The trial court had relied on the confessional statement to make a judgment.
Thangammal of Perambalur district was found hanging from a tree on April 15, 2008 and her jewellery were found missing.
One Balu alias Balamurugan was arrested four days later, who recorded his confessional statement and later the accused Thangammal’s ornaments were recovered from him.
In May last, the Additional Sessions Judge of Perambalur Mahila Court raised presumption and held that for deciding the nature of the offence committed, the confessional statement of the accused could be referred to and accepting the recovery evidence, it held that the two charges were proved.
Balu filed an appeal against the local court. His counsel contended that in the absence of any evidence to connect the accused to the murder merely based on a presumption under the Evidence Act, the accused could not be convicted.
The bench allowed his appeal and said that the principle that no confession made to a police officer is admissible was firmly ingrained in Section 25 of the Evidence Act. But there are certain exceptions to it. If it is made in the presence of a Magistrate, it could be relied on.
The bench also said that what the law prohibited was using the confession statement to a police officer against the accused, except to the extent provided, namely so much of information leading to the discovery of a fact and there was no bar to use the statement in favour of the accused.
Justice Devadass said, "But the trial court took it in other way. It had really misunderstood the scope of Section 27 of the Evidence Act. It is the result of the misunderstanding of the said decisions of this court. What the trial court did was it had referred to the incriminating aspects in the confession statement of the accused and relied on it to convict him. Thus, it had used it against the accused."