Perumal Raja @ Perumal vs State 2024 INSC 13 – Ss 27 & 106 Evidence Act

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 25-27 – As soon as an accused or suspected person comes into the hands of a police officer, he is no longer at liberty and is under a check, and is, therefore, in “custody” within the meaning of Sections 25 to 27 of the Evidence Act. It is for this reason that the expression “custody” has been held, as earlier observed, to include surveillance, restriction or restraint by the police- Even if the accused was not formally arrested at the time of giving information, the accused is, for all practical purposes, in the custody of the police and the bar vide Sections 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act, and accordingly exception under Section 27 of the Evidence Act, apply – formal arrest is not a necessity for operation of Section 27 of the Evidence Act – Referred to State of U.P. v. Deoman Upadhyaya (1961) 1 SCR 14 . (Para 28-29)

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 27 – Section 27 does not lay down the principle that discovery of a fact is to be equated to the object produced or found. The discovery of the fact resulting in recovery of a physical object exhibits knowledge or mental awareness of the person accused of the offence as to the existence of the physical object at the particular place. Accordingly, discovery of a fact includes the object found, the place from which it was produced and the knowledge of the accused as to its existence. To this extent, therefore, factum of discovery combines both the physical object as well as the mental consciousness of the informant accused in relation thereto – the first condition imposed and necessary for bringing the section into operation is the discovery of a fact which should be a relevant fact in consequence of information received from a person accused of an offence. The second is that the discovery of such a fact must be deposed to. A fact already known to the police will fall foul and not meet this condition. The third is that at the time of receipt of the information, the accused must be in police custody. Lastly, it is only so much of information which relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered resulting in recovery of a physical object which is admissible. Rest of the information is to be excluded. The word ‘distinctly’ is used to limit and define the scope of the information and means ‘directly’, ‘indubitably’, ‘strictly’ or ‘unmistakably’. Only that part of the information which is clear, immediate and a proximate cause of discovery is admissible – Referred to Mohmed Inayatullah v. State of Maharashtra (1976) 1 SCC 828. (Para 23)

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 27 – Evidentiary value to be attached on evidence produced before the court in terms of Section 27 of the Evidence Act cannot be codified or put in a straightjacket formula. It depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case. A holistic and inferential appreciation of evidence is required to be adopted in a case of circumstantial evidence. (Para 30)

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 27 – Section 27 of the Evidence Act could not have been applied to the other co-accused for the simple reason that the provision pertains to information that distinctly relates to the discovery of a ‘fact’ that was previously unknown, as opposed to fact already disclosed or known. Once information is given by an accused, the same information cannot be used, even if voluntarily made by a co-accused who is in custody – Section 27 of the Evidence Act does apply to joint disclosures. (Para 43)

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 106- Section 106 comes into play when the prosecution is able to establish the facts by way of circumstantial evidence – A false explanation given can be used as a link when: (i) various links in the chain of evidence laid by the prosecution have been satisfactorily proved; (ii) circumstance points to the guilt of the accused with reasonable definiteness; and (iii) the circumstance is in proximity to the time and situation. If these conditions are fulfilled only then the court can use the false explanation or a false defence as an additional link to lend an assurance to the court and not otherwise. Thus, a distinction has to be drawn between incomplete chain of circumstances and a circumstance after a chain is complete and the defence or explanation given by the accused is found to be false, in which event the said falsehood is added to reinforce the conclusion of the court. (Para 34-38)

Precedent -The law laid down by this Court in a decision delivered by a Bench of larger strength is binding on any subsequent Bench of lesser or coequal strength. (Para 26)

3 thoughts on “Perumal Raja @ Perumal vs State 2024 INSC 13 – Ss 27 & 106 Evidence Act”

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