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“In anxiety to wrap up case, NIA recorded inadmissible confessions:” Kerala High Court acquits prime accused in Kozhikode Twin Blasts

Corroboration of approver’s evidence

The Court opined that if there is no independent evidence of the crime, a recovery under Section 27 or a conduct under Section 8 of the Evidence Act cannot by itself or solely result in a conviction.

In the present case, the Court was examining the evidence proffered by the prosecution, of the disclosures and the discoveries or the conduct, only for the purpose of corroboration.

The Court opined that the Section 164 statement of the approver, especially in the teeth of its finding on the credibility of the approver, does not offer any corroboration.

“There is no propriety in finding corroboration to an approver’s testimony, from his own 164 statement,” the Court said.

Further, the Court found that all the disclosures recorded, contain a confession regarding the involvement in the bomb blast, which is inadmissible under Sections 25 and 26; whether it be for the purposes of Section 27 or Section 8.

When the portion of the disclosure that offends Section 25 and 26 are eschewed, then the disclosures lead to no discovery of fact having a connection with the crime and the conduct too has no bearing.

Even in the chief examination, the Court discovered that there was no attempt made by the prosecution to call upon the approver to identify each of the accused standing in the dock.

The Court referred to a judgement penned by Justice Anna Chandy in 1960 in Karunakaran v. State of Kerala which said that “it is a very difficult mental process to close your eyes to the details in the confessional statement and see only the bracketted portion and remain uninfluenced by the confession of the accused. This feat is possible of performance only by a few specially trained experts”

The above view was upheld by two Division Benches two decades apart, in Mohammed v. State of Kerala and Gabriel v. State of Kerala and the statement of law laid out stands even today, the Court said.

In the present case there are no lengthy statements but the disclosures record the confession linking the accused with the crime so unabashedly, that none could escape the innuendo…This is in flagrant violation of Sections 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act and tend to impress upon the Court the need to convict, even without proof beyond reasonable doubt,” the Court held.

Source: Barandbench

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