Sunday, 9 April 2017

Whether joint disclosures by two accused are admissible in evidence?

 It was contended by the counsel for the accused No.3 that the
evidence regarding discovery of the dead body of Raman cannot be
used against accused No.3. Inasmuch as, when accused No.3 gave
his statement and recorded in the form of Memorandum under
Section 27 of the Evidence Act, the Police already knew about the
spot where the dead body was thrown as it was disclosed by
accused No.2. It was contended that the statement made by
accused No.2 can be used only against accused No.2. This
argument has been negatived by the Trial Court after analyzing the
decisions which were brought to its notice, as can be discerned
from para 46 to para 53 of the judgment. The Trial Court found that
in the present case the accused Nos.2 and 3 made disclosure (about
the spot where dead body of Raman was thrown by them) one after
another in quick succession and that their statement came to be
recorded separately. The only thing that had happened was a joint
discovery made at the instance of both the accused Nos.2 and 3, on
proceeding to the spot along with the police. Section 27 of the
Evidence Act is an exception to Section 25 of the Act. Section 25
mandates that no confession to a Police Officer while in police
custody shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence.
Section 27, however, provides that any fact deposed to and
discovered in consequence of information received from a person
accused of any offence, in the custody of a Police Officer, so much
of such information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as
relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved. The
fact where the dead body of deceased Raman was disposed, was
disclosed by both the accused Nos.2 and 3 to the Investigating
Officer in the presence of SK Idris (PW 2) one after another on 12th
May 2003 at 3.05 hrs and 3.25 hrs. respectively. The discovery was
made only after accused Nos.2 and 3 were taken together by the
police to the spot in the neighbouring State (Madhya Pradesh),
where the recovery Panchnama was recorded bearing Exh.76A. In
other words, the disclosure of the relevant fact by accused No.3 to
the Investigating Officer preceeded the discovery of dead body from
the disclosed spot at the instance of both the accused Nos. 2 and 3.
It was not a case of recording of statement of accused No.3 after
discovery nor a joint statement of accused Nos.2 and 3, but
disclosure made by them separately in quick succession to the
Investigating Officer, preceding the discovery of the fact so stated.
The fact disclosed by them, therefore, and the discovery made at
their instance, was admissible against both the accused in terms of
Section 27 of the Evidence Act.
20. In the case of State (NCT of Delhi) Vs. Navjot Sandhu,20 this
Court has held that a joint disclosure or simultaneous disclosures,
per se, are not inadmissible under Section 27. A person accused
need not necessarily be a single person, but it could be a plurality
of the accused. The Court held that a joint or simultaneous
disclosure is a myth, because two or more accused persons would
not have uttered informatory words in chorus. When two persons
in custody are interrogated separately and simultaneously and
both of them may furnish similar information leading to the
discovery of fact which was reduced into writing, such disclosure
by two or more persons in police custody do not go out of the
purview of Section 27 altogether. What is relevant is that
information given by one after the other without any break, almost
simultaneously, as in the present case and such information is
followed up by pointing out the material things by both of them
then there is no good reason to eschew such evidence from the
regime of Section 27. Whether that information is credible is a
matter of evaluation of evidence. The Courts below have accepted

the prosecution version in this behalf, being credible. Suffice it to
say that the disclosure made by Accused No. 3 about the relevant
fact, per se, is not inadmissible.

Kishore Bhadke 
State of Maharashtra 
Dated:Dated: January 3, 2017.

Citation: 2017 ALLMR(CRI)1316 SC
Read full judgment here: Click here

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