-Report by Sanstuti Mishra
It has been observed by the Supreme Court in the case of MUNIKRISHNA @ KRISHNA ETC. vs. STATE BY ULSOOR PS that the videography containing confession made before the police is inadmissible as evidence
The appellants challenged the judgment and order dated 31st August 2010 passed by the High Court of Karnataka in a Criminal Appeal which continued the order of conviction and sentence passed by the Trial Court against the appellants which convicted the appellants under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC, which sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Appellants were arrested by the Police Inspector and Investigation Officer in a case of dacoity and murder which was registered at Police Station, Vijayanagar under Sections 354/397, IPC. A voluntary statement was then given by Accused No. 2 and lastly, all five accused confessed that they had committed the murder of S. Ramakrishna by cutting his neck with some strident weapon on the night of 11th October 2000. This happened at their residence and they fled after stealing around Rs.3000/-. They also volunteered to show the place where they had committed the crime on that night along with how they murdered the old aged person and then decamped with the cash and jewellery. A videography statement of the accused was recorded. The accused were convicted by the Trial Court under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC. The conviction was upheld by the High Court.
The court observed that this was a case of circumstantial evidence and it had to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The entire case of the prosecution was based on the accused’s confession/voluntary testimony to police, the recovery of the murder weapon allegedly seized and the stolen goods from a jewellery store. The Trial Court and the Appellate Court have committed a grave error while relying on the voluntary statements of the accused and their videography statements. Under Article 20(3)7 of the Constitution of India, an accused cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself. Further, a confessional statement given by an accused before a Police officer is inadmissible as evidence.
It was observed
“both the High Court as well as the Sessions Court have ignored the well-established principles of criminal jurisprudences and have relied upon facts and evidences which are clearly inadmissible in a court of law. The crime indeed was ghastly, to say the least. Yet, linking the crime to the present appellants is an exercise which was to be undertaken in the court of law under established principles of law. This has not been done.”
The orders of conviction were thus set aside.