New Delhi: On Monday, January 14, the Supreme Court asserted that any confessional statement involuntary in nature made under the undue influence, pressure or coercion and compulsion of the investigation officer, does not hold any evidentiary value even if it supports the recovery of objects used is a crime.
The matter was heard before a bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar, who observed that in the present appeal, confessions by the accused were derived at after repeated pressure and interrogation by the investigating officer. Thus, denoting the interrogation and recovery to be of unusual character as the statement was involuntarily caused by inducement, coercion and other irregular means of extracting evidence.
The matter pertains to an appeal in the Ashish Jain vs. Makrand Singh case, wherein the Trial Court had sentenced the accused to death in the robbery and murder case. However, subsequently an appeal was initiated and the Madhya Pradesh High Court acquitted the accused.
Thereafter, the complainant moved the Supreme Court against the High Court judgement, which again, however, has been dismissed on grounds of deriving at material evidence through involuntary submissions.
The bench observed, Article 20(3) of the Constitution makes statements by the accused made under undue influence and compulsion, stands inadmissible in the eyes of law. In the normal course of the investigation, self-inclinatory statements leading to the recovery of material elements of a crime does hold evidentiary value. However, if such confession is due to the pressure and inducement of the investigation officer, the statement leading to evidence stands nullified.
During dismissal, the bench citing a reference of the Selvi vs. State of Karnataka observed that statements made under compulsion while in custody are contrary and in violation of the provision of the Constitution.
The bench upholding the decision of the High Court reiterated that recovery of material evidence pertaining to the matter in the appeal was on the basis of involuntary submissions which negates the implications and severely undermines the prosecution case.