Friday, 26 December 2014

Landmark judgment of Supreme court of Tahsildar singh v state of Uttar pradesh

 It is not necessary to multiply cases. The two conflicting views may be briefly stated thus : (i) omissions, unless by necessary implication be deemed to be part of the statement, cannot be used to contradict the statement made in the witness-box; and (ii) they must be in regard to important features of the incident which are expected to be included in the statement made before the police. The first proposition not only carries out the intention of the legislature but is also in accord with the plain meaning of the words used in the section. The second proposition not only stretches the meaning of the word "statement" to a breaking point, but also introduces an uncertain element, namely, ascertainment of what a particular witness would have stated in the circumstances of a particular case and what the police officer should have recorded. When the section says that the statement is to be used to contradict the subsequent version in the witness-box, the proposition brings in, by construction, what he would have stated to the police within the meaning of the word "statement". Such a construction is not permissible.
50. From the foregoing discussion the following propositions emerge : (1) A statement in writing made by a witness before a police officer in the course of investigation can be used only to contradict his statement in the witness-box and for no other purpose; (2) statements not reduced to writing by the police officer can not be used for contradiction; (3) though a particular statement is not expressly recorded, a statement that can be deemed to be part of that expressly recorded can be used for contradiction, not because it is an omission strictly so-called but because it is deemed to form part of the recorded statement; (4) such a fiction is permissible by construction only in the following three cases : (i) when a recital is necessarily implied from the recital or recitals found in the statement; illustration : in the recorded statement before the police the witness states that he saw A stabbing B at a particular point of time, but in the witness-box he says that he saw A and C stabbing B at the same pint of time; in the statement before the police the word "only" can implied, i.e., the witness saw A only stabbing B; (ii) a negative aspect of a positive recital in a statement; illustration : in the recorded statement before the police the witness says that a dark man stabbed B, but in the witness-box he says that a fair man stabbed B; the earlier statement must be deemed to contain the recital not only that the culprit was a dark complexioned man but also that he was not of fair complexion; and (iii) when the statement before the police and that before the Court cannot stand together; illustration : the witness says in the recorded statement before the police that A after stabbing B ran away by a northern lane, but in the Court he says that immediately after stabbing he ran away towards the southern lane; as he could not have run away immediately after the stabbing, i.e., at the same point of time, towards the northern lane as well as towards the southern lane, if one statement is true, the other must necessarily be false.
51. The aforesaid examples are not intended to be exhaustive but only illustrative. The same instance may fall under one or more heads. It is for the trial Judge to decide in each case, after comparing the part or parts of the statement recorded by the police with that made in the witness-box, to give a ruling, having regard to the aforesaid principles, whether the recital intended to be used for contradiction satisfies the requirements of law.
Citation: AIR1959SC1012, 1959(2)AnWR201, (1959) 29 AWR 522, 1959CriLJ1231, (1959)IIMLJ201, [1959]Supp(2)SCR875
Decided On: 05.05.1959
Appellants:Tahsildar Singh and Anr.
Respondent:The State of Uttar Pradesh
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Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
A.K. SarkarB.P. SinhaJ.L. KapurK. Subba RaoM. Hidayatullah and T.K. Thommen, JJ.
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