Monday 2 October 2023

Supreme court lays down requirements of valid panchnama as per S 100 of CRPC

  In Yakub Abdul Razak Memon v. State of Maharashtra through CBI, Bombay MANU/SC/0268/2013 : (2013) 13 SCC 1, this Court noted that the primary intention behind the 'panchnama' is to guard against possible tricks and unfair dealings on the part of the officers entrusted with the execution of the search and also to ensure that anything incriminating which may be said to have been found in the premises searched was really found there and was not introduced or planted by the officers of the search party. It was further noted that the legislative intent was to control and check these malpractices of the officers, by making the presence of independent and respectable persons compulsory for search of a place and seizure of an article. It was pointed out that a panchnama can be used as corroborative evidence in the Court when the respectable person who is a witness thereto gives evidence in the Court of law Under Section 157 of the Evidence Act. This Court noted that Section 100(4) to Section 100(8) Code of Criminal Procedure stipulate the procedure with regard to search in the presence of two or more respectable and independent persons, preferably from the same locality, so as to build confidence and a feeling of safety and security amongst the public. The following mandatory conditions were culled out from Section 100 Code of Criminal Procedure for the purposes of a valid panchnama:

(a) All the necessary steps for personal search of officer (Inspecting officer) and panch witnesses should be taken to create confidence in the mind of court as nothing is implanted and true search has been made and things seized were found real.

(b) Search proceedings should be recorded by the I.O. or some other person under the supervision of the panch witnesses.

(c) All the proceedings of the search should be recorded very clearly stating the identity of the place to be searched, all the spaces which are searched and descriptions of all the articles seized, and also, if any sample has been drawn for analysis purpose that should also be stated clearly in the Panchanama.

(d) The I.O. can take the assistance of his subordinates for search of places. If any superior officers are present, they should also sign the Panchanama after the signature of the main I.O.

(e) Place, Name of the police station, Officer rank (I.O.), full particulars of panch witnesses and the time of commencing and ending must be mentioned in the Panchnama.

(f) The panchnama should be attested by the panch witnesses as well as by the concerned IO.

(g) Any overwriting, corrections, and errors in the Panchnama should be attested by the witnesses.

(h) If a search is conducted without warrant of court Under Section 165 of the Code, the I.O. must record reasons and a search memo should be issued.


Criminal Appeal Nos. 793-794 of 2022 and 795 of 2022

Decided On: 21.09.2023

 Rajesh and Ors. Vs. The State of Madhya Pradesh

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

B.R. Gavai, J.B. Pardiwala and P.V. Sanjay Kumar, JJ.

Author: P.V. Sanjay Kumar, J.

Citation: : MANU/SC/1040/2023.

Read full Judgment here: Click here.

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