Pakala Narayana Swami vs Emperor


Introduction: This matter is related to Section 32 under the Indian Evidence Act and Section 162 of the code of Criminal procedures, 1898. There were mainly two points of consideration before the Privy Council.

  1. Relation of the dying declaration with the incident and, previous circumstances, and
  2. Importance of confession before police, made during the investigation.

Facts: The facts of the case all in brief as- On 23rd march, 1937 a box containing a dead body was found in the third class coach of a train standing at Puri station. The body was cut into 7 pieces and no owner of the box come in front. After a few days, the wife of the deceased recognised the body.

The person was of 40 years of age and had married 22 years ago. He used to work for the Diwan of Peethapur. The daughter of that Diwan had married to appellant Pakalanarayan. It is said that 19 years ago when the appellant had not married, close relationships were established between the daughter of Diwan and deceased. In 1919, the appellant was married and after marriage, he had started living at Behrampur. Later, in 1933 they returned back to Peethapur and started living with the Diwan.

During this, the wife of the appellant took from time to time loan, totalling 3000INR from the deceased, over which interest at the rate of 18% was fixed. In this relation, several letters written by the wife of the appellant were found. On 20 March 1937 deceased received a letter according to which he was called to Behrampur. Deceased told about the letter to his wife and said that he has been called to Behrampur for obtaining the amount of loan. On 21st March 1937 deceased left his house in the morning for Behrampur. He headed the train and his body was also found in the train on 23rd march.

On 4th April 1937, the investigating officer recorded the statement of the appellant and his neighbours. Then the appellant, his wife, wife’s brother and another was arrested. A case is instituted against them for the murder before the sub-divisional magistrate, Chattarpur. The prosecution produced two witnesses who used to work in a shop. They have stated that a servant (Dhobi) of appellant-accused had ordered them to make a box. The first box turned out to be a big owing to which appellant’s wife rejected it.

Therefore, a second small box was made which the servant brought on 22nd March. Both witnesses accepted that the box in which the deceased’s body was found, was the same box which was sold to the servant. The prosecution also produced a Tangeman as a witness who stated that the appellant-accused had gone to the railway station by his Tonga, carrying along with a box. Another witness had seen them on 23rd March 1937 at the railway station at the time of arrival of the train.

Appellant accused has also stated on 4th April 1937 that he has come home in the evening. He slept there at night and returned back by train in the evening on 22nd March. On 23rd March, he went to the station by tanga. He went to Chattarpur on that the day for some private work. During the search of the appellant accused’s house, clothes having blood spots were found. The court accepted all this evidence.

On the other hand, the accused defended himself by saying himself to be innocent. He said that neither he had nor his servant had brought the box. He did not go to the railway station with the box. Sub-divisional Magistrate relied upon the statements of the accused and acquitted him.

On 1st June 1937 Session Magistrate, Behrampur ordered for Magistrate trail against the appellant and his wife was conducted under Section 20A and 302 of J.P.C. Finally, Session Court found him guilty of murder and awarded capital punishment and acquitted the wife. Patna High Court confirmed the sentence. An appeal by special leave was filled in Privy Council.

Judgment- Appellant accused laid down following contention before Privy Council-

  1. Widow wife of deceased had stated that- “On 20th March, her husband had stated to her that he is going to Behrampur because the wife of accused had called him to obtain money.” Cannot be admitted in evidence. It cannot be considered to be dying declaration within the meaning of Section 32 under the Indian Evidence Act, because it is neither related to death nor it explains the circumstances causing death.
  2. Statements made by accused before arrest to the police cannot be admitted under section 162 of Crpc because the term ‘any person’ used in section 162 includes the accused.
  3. Statements made by appellant-accused to police during custody cannot be confession as per Section 25 of Evidence Act. Such confession is not admissible.

Whereas the petitioner opposed above contentions by saying that:

  1. The statement of wife of deceased in dying declaration within Section 32 under the Indian Evidence Act is inadmissible as evidence because she makes them in those circumstances in which he left for Behrampur and there he was murdered.
  2. Statements made by the accused does not come within the scope of section 162.
  3. Confession of appellant-accused is admissible because it was made prior to arrest.
  4. The fact of discovering clothes with a blood spot is admissible under section 27 of Evidence Act.

Privy Council considered all these arguments. Lord Atkin pronounced the judgment as

  1. The circumstances under Section 32 under the Indian Evidence Act require that it must specify the cause of death and be circumstances of the transaction. In this case, the deceased left by saying to his wife that- “he is going to Behrampur because the wife of accused has called him to receive money.” The circumstances of the transaction all such that it reflects the causes of death because he was murdered in Behrampur.
  2. The statement of accused before the police are admissible, before Section 162 of CrPc was the term ‘any person’ thought that person may later become an accused. When such statements were recorded, he was not arrested.
  3. Discovery of clothes with blood spots upon them is admissible under Section 27 of Evidence Act.
  4. The statement accused describing himself to be innocent, does not come within the self-exculpatory statement, because confession only includes admission of a crime.

On the basis of the above conclusion, Privy Conclusion held the appellant-accused to be guilty and rejected his appeal.

Principles of law- Privy Council laid down following principles.

  1. The circumstances to be proved under Section 32 under the Indian Evidence Act must be such that it must closely relate to the incident and which describe the cause of death.
  2. The term ‘any person’ under Section 162 CrPc includes such a person who becomes an accused afterwards.
  3. The statement made before police under Section 162 cannot be held to be a confession.

The section includes in this case:

Section 32 in The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Cases in which statement of relevant fact by person who is dead or cannot be found, etc. is relevant. Proclamations, composed or verbal, of applicable realities made by an individual who is dead, or who can’t be found, or who has gotten unequipped for giving proof, or whose participation can’t be acquired immediately or cost which, in light of the current situation of the case, appears to the Court absurd, are themselves significant realities in the accompanying cases:-

Proclamations, composed or verbal, of applicable realities made by an individual who is dead, or who can’t be found, or who has gotten unequipped for giving proof, or whose participation can’t be acquired immediately or cost which, in light of the current situation of the case, appears to the Court absurd, are themselves significant realities in the accompanying cases.

Section 162 in The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Production of documents: An observer gathered to create a report will, on the off chance that it is in his ownership or force, carry it to the Court, despite any complaint which there might be to its creation or to its tolerability. The legitimacy of any such protest will be chosen by the Court. The Court, in the event that it sees, fit, may review the report, except if it alludes to issues of State, or take other proof to empower it to decide on its suitability. Interpretation of archives.

If for such a reason it is important to make any record be deciphered, the Court may, on the off chance that it thinks fit, direct the interpreter to keep the substance mystery, except if the report is to be given in proof: and, if the mediator defies such course, he will be held to have submitted an offence under segment 166 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Section 166 in The Indian Penal Code

Public servant disobeying the law, with intent to cause injury to any person: Whoever, being a community worker, purposely disobeys any heading of the law concerning the manner by which he is to act as such local official, proposing to cause, or realizing that it will generally be likely that he will, by such insubordination, cause injury to any individual, will be rebuffed with straightforward detainment for a term which may reach out to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Representation A, being an official guided by law to take a property in execution, so as to fulfil an announcement articulated in support of Z by a Court of Justice, intentionally resists that heading of law, with the information that he is likely along these lines to make injury Z. A has submitted the offence characterized in this area.

Section 27 in The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

How much of information received from accused may be proved: Given that, when any reality is ousted to as found in the outcome of data got from an individual blamed for any offence, in the care of a cop, such a large amount of such data, regardless of whether it adds up to admission or not, as relates particularly to the reality consequently found, might be demonstrated.

Section 25 in The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Confession to police officer not to be proved: No admission made to a police officer, will be demonstrated as against an individual blamed for any offence.

Check out the video below for detailed explanation. Video by: Vidhik Shiksha



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