Alauddin vs State Of Assam 2024 INSC 376 – Ss 161,162 CrPC – Ss 145,155 Evidence Act

Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 161,162– Any statement made by a person to a police officer in the course of investigation, which is reduced in writing, cannot be used for any purpose except as provided in Section 162. The first exception incorporated in sub-Section (2) is of the statements covered by clause (1) of Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (for short, ‘Evidence Act’). Thus, what is provided in subSection (1) of Section 162 does not apply to a dying declaration. The second exception to the general rule provided in sub-Section (1) of Section 162 is that the accused can use the statement to contradict the witness in the manner provided by Section 145 of the Evidence Act. Even the prosecution can use the statement to contradict a witness in the manner provided in Section 145 of the Evidence Act with the prior permission of the Court. The prosecution normally takes recourse to this provision when its witness does not support the prosecution case. There is one important condition for using the prior statement for contradiction. The condition is that the part of the statement used for contradiction must be duly proved. When the two statements cannot stand together, they become contradictory statements. When a witness makes a statement in his evidence before the Court which is inconsistent with what he has stated in his statement recorded by the Police, there is a contradiction. When a prosecution witness whose statement under Section 161 (1) or Section 164 of CrPC has been recorded states factual aspects before the Court which he has not stated in his prior statement recorded under Section 161 (1) or Section 164 of CrPC, it is said that there is an omission. There will be an omission if the witness has omitted to state a fact in his statement recorded by the Police, which he states before the Court in his evidence. The explanation to Section 162 CrPC indicates that an omission may amount to a contradiction when it is significant and relevant. Thus, every omission is not a contradiction. It becomes a contradiction provided it satisfies the test laid down in the explanation under Section 162. Therefore, when an omission becomes a contradiction, the procedure provided in the proviso to sub-Section (1) of Section 162 must be followed for contradicting witnesses in the crossexamination.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 145- The Section operates in two parts. The first part provides that a witness can be cross-examined as to his previous statements made in writing without such writing being shown to him. Thus, for example, a witness can be crossexamined by asking whether his prior statement exists -The second part is regarding contradicting a witness. While confronting the witness with his prior statement to prove contradictions, the witness must be shown his prior statement. If there is a contradiction between the statement made by the witness before the Court and what is recorded in the statement recorded by the police, the witness’s attention must be drawn to specific parts of his prior statement, which are to be used to contradict him. Section 145 provides that the relevant part can be put to the witness without the writing being proved. However, the previous statement used to contradict witnesses must be proved subsequently. Only if the contradictory part of his previous statement is proved the contradictions can be said to be proved- The witness is intended to be confronted with his prior statement reduced into writing, that particular part of the statement, even before it is proved, must be specifically shown to the witness. After that, the part of the prior statement used to contradict the witness has to be proved. As indicated earlier, it can be treated as proved if the witness admits to having made such a statement, or it can be proved in the crossexamination of the concerned police officer. The object of this requirement in Section 145 of the Evidence Act of confronting the witness by showing him the relevant part of his prior statement is to give the witness a chance to explain the contradiction. Therefore, this is a rule of fairness. (Para 8)

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 155– Every contradiction or omission is not a ground to discredit the witness or to disbelieve his/her testimony. A minor or trifle omission or contradiction brought on record is not sufficient to disbelieve the witness’s version. Only when there is a material contradiction or omission can the Court disbelieve the witness’s version either fully or partially. What is a material contradiction or omission depends upon the facts of each case. Whether an omission is a contradiction also depends on the facts of each individual case. (Para 9)

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