State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya 1960

    This article is written by Shaily Garg, a Fourth year B.Com. LLB (Hons.) Student of University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya
    The present case extensively deals with the constitutionality of Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 before the constitutional bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in 1960. 

    Intro

    Under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, there are two situations in which confessions to police are admitted in evidence. First, when the statement is made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate, and the second, when the statement leads to the discovery of a fact connected with the crime. The discovery satisfies the truth of the statement and makes it definitive and trustworthy even if it was extorted. This is so provided in Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

    To persuade the validity of recoveries, it has become a matter of practice that recuperations should be affected in the presence of witnesses. The fact discovered based on information supplied may qualify for relevancy if it is the immediate and proximate cause of the information. It is not necessary that the accused should be taken to point to the place of hiding, though this fact may be considered for evaluation of evidentiary value. The present case extensively deals with the constitutionality of Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 before the constitutional bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in 1960. 

    Facts of the Case: State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    Deoman, the accused, was married to one Dulari. Dulari’s parents had died in her infancy and she was raised by her cousin, Sukhdei. Sukhdei gifted a part of her inherited lands to Dulari, and the entire of the land was being cultivated by Deoman’s uncle, Mahabir. Deoman and Mahabir were negotiating the sale of some of the lands, but Sukhdei protested against that negotiation. Deoman hit her and threatened to smash her face. Early in the next morning, Sukhdei was lying dead on her bed with several wounds and a pool of blood below the cot. Deoman was missing after the happening of this incident.

    When he was apprehended after two days, he told the police that he attacked Sukhdei with a gandasa which he had earlier acquired from another and killed her on the spot and thereafter tossed the gandasa into the village tank, washed and then absconded. In the presence of the investigating officer and certain witnesses, he traversed into the tank and took the gandasa out of it. A serologist examined it and testified that it was stained with human blood. Thus, its connection with the murder was established.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    The statement of the accused to the police and consequential disclosure of the gandasa when seen in the background of his annoyance with Sukhdei, the borrowing of gandasa, some persons had seen him running towards the tank, taking bath in it and his disappearance left no doubt that he was guilty and the Sessions Judge accordingly convicted him.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    Issue of the Case

    Whether Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 was violative of the Constitution of India?

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    The decision of Allahabad High Court

    An appeal was made by the accused in the Allahabad High Court, among others on the ground that Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 was violative of the Constitution of India. The High Court declared Section 27 of the Act to be unconstitutional. It was held by the High Court that the statement of the accused must be excluded as evidence and without it, there being not much evidence, hence, acquitted the accused. 

    However, the state appealed to the Supreme Court, whereby a majority, the section was declared to be constitutional and the conviction of Deoman was restored.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    Observations and Decision of the Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court held that the part of the statement of the accused by which he said that he had killed Sukhdei was not relevant. This should be excluded as evidence, but the remainder was relevant and even then, there was sufficient proof of his guilt. The discussion in the Supreme Court centered around the constitutional validity of Section 27. It was pointed out by the court that the expression “accused of any offense” is descriptive of the person against whom the information is provable under Section 27. It does not predicate a formal accusation against him at the time of making the statement sought to be demonstrated, as a prerequisite of its applicability.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    The Court also rejected the suggestion that the provisions of Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and those of Section 27 of the Evidence Act were discriminatory and, therefore, violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, if a person not in police custody has given some information to the police in consequence of which something connected with a crime is discovered, the knowledge is not provable against him if he is subsequently prosecuted for the crime; but if he were in police custody at the time that he gave the information, it might become provable against him.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    Thus, the classification is between persons not in custody and people in custody. The Supreme Court held the classification to be reasonable. “The distinction between persons in custody and persons not in custody, within the context of admissibility of a statement made by them concerning the offense charged cannot be called arbitrary, artificial, or evasive. The legislature has made a genuine distinction between these two classes and has enacted distinct rules about the admissibility of statements confessional or otherwise made by them. The reason for the classification is to encourage people not in custody to offer information about crimes.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    Conclusion

    It can be concluded that confessional statements made in police custody lead to the discovery of fact or other evidence could not be excluded on the ground that the statement was obtained while the accused was under an illegal order of remand to police custody. ‘Discovery of fact’ means something more than the thing produced. The discovery of the fact arises because the information given by the accused exhibited his knowledge or mental consciousness. Only the information which distinctly, directly, indubitably, or unmistakably related to the discovery is provable. The rest of the knowledge has to be excluded.

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya

    State of Uttar Pradesh. v. Deoman Upadhaya