Nishikant Jha V/S State of Bihar


Introduction: In this matter, the question of admissibility of the statements made before the head of the village was under consideration. Also, the court has to determine whether a partial statement of the complete statement made by the accused could be admitted to convict him?

Facts: Appellant was a student of a school in Jhajha Village. He was charged for having robbed 34 INR from his friend and committed his murder on 12th Oct 1961. Deceased Jaiprakash Dubey was also a student of 10th of Jhajha School. His dead body was found in the toilet of the first-class coach of Baroni-Sealdah passenger train. His throat was cut. Clothes were full of blood-spots. Blood was split across. Toilet also had fingerprints. The post-mortem report showed that the death was caused due to excessive bleeding and head injury.

On 12th October in the evening, a person named Ram Kishore Pandey had seen the appellant-accused washing clothes with bloodspots near Petro River. He also had marks of injury on his left hand. When Ram Kishore asked him about the blood spots on the clothes, then he replied that when he was returning from Gangama, he was attacked, his money was snatched and his fingers were cut by glass.

Ram Kishore Pandey informed about it to the Shivsankar Pandey of that village. At the same time, Shivsankar had heard from his brother Vasudev that a murder has been committed in the Baroni passenger train and the offender has absconded. They suspected appellant-accused and he was produced before the village head after search. The investigating officer seized the clothes containing blood spots and other things, and send them for examination by experts. Chemical examination report described that clothes containing bloodspot, leather belt, Underwear, Pyjama, Shirt, Slippers, Knife and books had human blood upon them. The blood group was found to be the same as the appellant.

Finally, the appellant confessed his crime. The trial court and High court convicted him for murder on the basis of the statements made before village head and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. This sentence was challenged in the appeal before the Supreme Court.

Judgment: The main question before the Supreme Court was:

  1. Whether the statements made by accused before village head is admissible?
  2. Whether the part of the statement which acquits the accused can be left out and can be convicted on the remaining part of the statement?

It was said on the behalf of the appellant before the High Court that he has stated in his statements that-“He was present at the time of the murder” and also said that-“Murder was committed by any other person”. Court admitted the first statement and not the other.

There ever other circumstantial evidence before the High Court, like:

  1. Accused washing clothes stained with blood.
  2. He has seen to carry clothes and book stained with blood.
  3. He has seen with a 9 inches knife.
  4. The medical report suggested that wounds on the deceased body were caused by a knife.

The Supreme Court considered all there facts and arguments. Supreme Court held that the statement of confession by accused is not capable of admission because it is contradictory to statements by another witness. Appellant said two contradictory statement about the injury on his finger once he says that is was caused due to an attack while other time he said that it was caused during protecting himself from the attack by Mohan Lal Sharma. According to the medical report, his finger injury was not so grievous that the clothes got stained by so much blood. The knife also had human blood. All these facts rejected the statements which acquit him. Due to above all reasons, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and approved the sentence laid by the High Court.

Principles of Law: Supreme Court laid down the following principles:

  1. Statements made before village head are admissible as evidence if they are relevant to disputed facts.
  2. Court if think fits and is not inconsistent to evidence, can reject the statements which acquit the accused and can admit these statements which convict him.

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