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Karnataka HC: Statement of accused inadmissible without independent witnesses

Justice S Rachaiah said that the Apex Court had clarified that securing the presence of the panch witnesses before recording the voluntary statement of the accused and further recording the statement in the presence of the said panch witnesses are sine qua non to effect the recovery in terms of Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act.
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 01:01 IST
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 01:01 IST

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Bengaluru: The high court has said that in the recovery of stolen goods, the voluntary statement of the accused has to be recorded in the presence of independent witnesses. Otherwise, the same would be inadmissible as evidence.

Justice S Rachaiah said that the Apex Court had clarified that securing the presence of the panch witnesses before recording the voluntary statement of the accused and further recording the statement in the presence of the said panch witnesses are sine qua non to effect the recovery in terms of Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act.

The prosecution case was that in February 2012, a person called Suresh from Gadag had gained entry into a shop in Bajpe near Mangaluru and took away 21 mobiles, one laptop and other mobile phone spare parts worth Rs 1,50,000, including cash of Rs 53,000. He was convicted of trespass and theft, and the order was affirmed by the sessions court.

The petitioner argued that he had been falsely implicated in the case, and nothing had been recovered. It was further claimed that the items recovered have not been produced before the trial court and he cannot be accused of theft. The prosecution cited the voluntary statement of the accused and the statement of the witnesses.

Justice Rachaiah noted that none of the independent witnesses signed the voluntary statement of the accused which led to the recovery.

“Therefore, the said voluntary statement is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Subramanya vs State of Karnataka case and such voluntary statement — even though it leads to the recovery of the stolen articles — would be rendered as unacceptable and acting on such voluntary statement and recorded the conviction, certainly, it requires to be set aside,” the court said.

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Published 13 April 2024, 01:01 IST

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