Kamal Kishore v. State

After reading this judgement you will learn that the Apex Court set aside the charges framed by Magistrate for they were based wholly on confessional statements of other co-accused.
CITATION1997 CriLJ 2106
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMJustice J.K. Mehra
DATE OF JUDGEMENT19.02.1997

Introduction

The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act make ample provisions for the accused as well as the victim. The judgment in criminal trials can be arrived at by way of evidence, reports, statements, etc. However, there also exist various provisions, which protect the accused and the victim from any statements they make, which contradict their other statements, made during various stages of the trial. This ensures, the proper process of law and justice being followed. In the present case also, charges against accused were formed based on mere disclosure/confessions before the Police.

Facts

The facts of the case are as follows: Mr. Mahesh Sahai lodged a First Information Report with the Police Station at Lodhi Colony on 07.07.1992 alleging that he had withdrawn Rs. 10,000/- from Punjab National Bank and had kept the same in his small, black handbag. Afterward, when he was proceeding towards Lodhi Road Complex, someone came from behind and snatched his handbag. This FIR was registered under Sections 356, 379, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 against unknown persons.

Five months after the incident, two persons named Subhash and Vijendra were arrested by the police. In the confessions/disclosure statements recorded by Police under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the two arrested persons disclosed the name of one Kamal Kishore, alleging that he was guarding them on road, while Subhash and Vijay snatched the bag and ran away from Mr. Mahesh; and, that he shared the booty with them. While Kamal Kishore was in custody, he also made a confessional statement confessing what was alleged by Subhash and Vijay. No recovery was made from Kamal Kishore after his arrest and confession.

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After investigation, the police filed a challan before the Magistrate. Based on the confessionals/disclosure statements of the three accused, the Court framed charges against Kamal Kishore under Sections 356, 379, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. It was against these charges that the revision petition was filed by Kamal Kishore before the Supreme Court. The learned judge of the Apex Court held that the order of Magistrate framing charges against Kamal Kishore could not be sustained.

Issues

The main issue in the case is: Whether or not, the confession by Subhash, Vijay, and Kamal, not leading to recovery from the petitioner, can entail the framing of charge against the Kamal Kishore, the petitioner.

Summary of court decisions and judgment

On receipt of the police challan, the Magistrate framed the charges against Kamal Kishore under the relevant section of the Indian Penal Code. These charges were appealed against by Kamal in a revision petition before the Supreme Court of India. The Court held that the learned Magistrate had erred in framing the charges against the petitioner. Accordingly, the order framing charges was set aside by the learned judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Analysis

As can be clearly seen from the bare facts of the case, the charges against Kamal Kishore under the Indian Penal Code were wholly made based on the confessional/disclosure statements of Subhash, Vijay, and Kamal. This event is hit by Sections 25, 26, and 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. From the reading of the three provisions, it becomes amply clear that a fact discovered on information supplied by the accused in his disclosure statement is only admissible in evidence if something new is discovered or recovered from the accused which was not within the knowledge of the police before recording the disclosure statement of the accused. In the present case, nothing new was discovered from Kamal’s possession neither way anything recovered.

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Thus, the learned Magistrate framed the charges against Kamal Kishore only on the basis of the disclosure statements which did not lead to discovery of any fact which was not known to the prosecution before recording the statement of the petitioner. No recovery at the instance of the petitioner was also made. Neither did any independent witness depose that the petitioner shared the booty or was involved in the incident in question except as alleged by the Subhash and Vijay. There was no corroborating evidence on record corroborating the allegations against the present petitioner.

Thus, the Apex Court was correct in setting aside the erroneous judgement of the Magistrate, for similar reasons as above.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court’s verdict in the case was appropriate. Provisions have been made in criminal law to protect the innocents who are accused of crimes. In our system, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. The prosecution cannot be given absolute powers and hence, certain provisions exist like Sections 25, 26, 27, 145, and 157 in the Indian Evidence Act and Sections 162 in the Code of Criminal Procedure.