Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Comments:

Scope:

There are two exceptions laid down in the Evidence Act so far the admissibility of confession made by an accused is concerned. First, exception relates to when confession is made by the accused in immediate presence of a magistrate (Section 26) and the other has been mentioned in Section 27 i.e. when the confession leads to discoveries of facts. The section permits the proof of all kinds of information whether contained in a confession or not, and therefore goes beyond the provisions of Sections 25 and 26.

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Principle:

Section 27 lays down that during the period of investigation or during police custody any information is given by the accused of an offence to the police officer that leads to discover any fact, may be proved whether such information amounts to confession or not, and obtained under inducement, threat or promise. Section 27 is by way of a proviso to Sections 25 and 26 and a statement even by way of confession made in police custody which distinctly relates to the fact discovered is admissible in evidence against the accused.

Under sections 24, 25 and 26 a confession which is inadmissible would be admissible under section 27 subject to discoveries of facts on the basis of information given by the accused. Section 27 is by way of proviso to Sections 25 to 26 and a statement even by way of confession made in police custody which is distinctly relates to the facto discovered in admissible in evidence agreement the accused.

Example:

‘A’ was arrested by the police officer on a charge of murder. ‘A’ confessed to the police officer that he had committed murder with a dagger what he had hidden in the neighbouring field. On the basis of such information the police officer recovered the dagger from the field. The statement regarding hiding of dagger to the police officer is relevant.

Under the section, excepting the confession relating to recoveries of facts no such guarantee or assurance attaches to the rest of the statement which may be indirectly or remotely related to the fact discovered. It arises by reason of fact that information given by the accused exhibited knowledge or mental awareness of information as to its existence at particular place. Fact discovered, therefore, has to be a combination of both the elements, that is, physical object and mental condition.

Essential requirements of the section:

The following conditions are necessary for the application of the Section 27.

1. The fact must have been discovered in consequence of information received from the accused.

2. The person giving information must be accused of an offence.

3. He must be in custody of a police officer.

4. That portion only of the information which relates distinctly to the fact discovered can be proved.”

5. The discovery of fact must relate to the commission of crime in question.

6. Before the statements proved somebody must depose that some article was discovered in consequence of the information received from the accused.

Constitutional validity of Section 27:

In State of U.P. v Deoman the validity of Section 27 of the Evidence Act was challenged on the ground that it was offending Article 14 of the Constitution of India. In appeal the High Court declared Section 27 to be unconstitutional as it created unjustifiable discrimination between “persons in custody” and “persons out of custody.” Further appeal was made by the State of U.P. against the judgment of the High Court in the Supreme Court. It was held by the Supreme Court that the distinction between “persons in custody” and “persons out of custody” had little practical significance. By majority decision the Section 27 was declared to be constitutional and the conviction awarded by the Session judge was restored.

“The legal position therefore remains as inconsistent as ever in spite of the decision of the Supreme Court viz., that while information given by a person in police custody leading to discovery of a fact may be proved, such information, coming from a person not in custody is not probable though both satisfy the same test of relevancy provided in Section 27, e.g. the discovery of a fact.”— SARKAR.

Object of Section 27:

Basic object of the section is to provide evidence for admission and such evidence relates to some sort of discovery of fact. It would appear that under Section 27 as it stands in order to render evidence holding to discovery of on fact admissible, the information must come from any accused in custody of the police. It is well settled that recovery of object is not discovery of fact envisaged in the section. Recovery so made prusuant to discovery statement can be relied upon to complete chain of events relating to crime.

However, where there is direct evidence by the eye-witness non-recovery of the offending car said to have been used by the accused will be no ground to disbelieve otherwise the credit worthy evidence of the prosecution witnesses.

Where the recovery of panchnama of the sticks, the alleged crime article, had no mention that the sticks had any marks of blood, the evidence of recovery of the sticks cannot constitute incriminating evidence against the accused. Evidence of recovery cannot be relied upon for conviction “sofar as recovery of the sword as concerned, the same was not sent for any examination by the Forensic Science Laboratory and the report if any was not exhibited and even no question in that regard was put to the accused while he was examined under section 313 of the Code.”(Cr. P.C.). Non discovery of weapon sickle does not go to discreet the witness.

Discovery statement of the accused and recovery of revolver in pursuant thereto is an important circumstance against the accused which can be taken into consideration. Unless the disclosure statement is proved, the consequential recovery at the instance of the accused is not covered within the framework of Section 27 of the Evidence Act. Where in a plan an unknown woman was raped and her dead body was buried, disclosure statement of accused persons pointing out the place of rape was not admissible.

Validity of information whereby “discovered” may be proved:

Discovery of facts, however important, does not render admissible that the accused informed in connection with discovery. ‘So much of the information’ which distinctly relate to the facts thereby discovered is admissible. The section seems to be leased on the view that if a fact is actually discovered in consequence of information given, some guarantee is afforded. Thereby that the information was true and accordingly can be safely allowed to be given in evidence. However, since discovery of fact as a result of information from the accused is not admissible under its relevancy is established by other evidence “showing the connection between the fact discovered and the offence charged with the accused”. Articles discovered by another house owner on the information provided by the accused were held to be discovered at the instance of the accused.

Therefore, the extent of information admitted should be consistent with understandability. What was admissible in evidence is only that part which would come within the purview of Section 27 of the Evidence Act and not the rest. Mere statement that the accused led the police and the witnesses to the place where he had concealed the articles is not indicative of the information given.

The basic idea embedded in Section 27 of the Evidence Act is the doctrine of confirmation by subsequent event. In criminal conspiracy and murder case the investigation was able to locate STD booth from where the accused talked with others. This was discovered at instance of known accused persons. It was held that the evidence of witness clearly proved recoveries and discovers.