EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF STATEMENTS MADE TO THE POLICE DURING INVESTIGATION

Section 162 (1) provides that no statement made by any person to a police officer in the course of an investigation shall, if reduced to writing, be signed by the person making it. It further says that no such statement or record or any part of such statement or record can be used for any purpose at any inquiry or trial in respect of any offence under investigation at the time when such statements are made.

Statement recorded by the police officer during investigation is neither given on oath nor is it tested by cross examination. Therefore, such statements cannot be considered to be substantive evidence. Supreme Court in Dipakbhai Jagdishchandra Patel v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 16 SCC 547 observed that the bar of Section 162 operates only from the beginning of investigation till the termination of the same. If a statement is made before the commencement of investigation then in such case the bar of Section 162 will not be attracted.

The word ‘statement’ mentioned in Section 161(3) and 162 connotes all the statements given by witness during investigation. It does not mean any single statement. Statement made under Section 161(3) and 162 are inadmissible in evidence and it is immaterial whether such statement amounts to confession or admission.

Explanation of Section 162 provides that omission to state a fact or circumstances in the statement referred to in Section 162(1) may amount to contradiction. Every omission is not contradiction. Only such omission is contradiction which is significant in regard to the context. Whether any omission amounts to contradiction is a question of fact. In Tehsildar Singh v. State of U.P., AIR 1959 SC 1012 Supreme Court held that significant omissions in statements before the police during the course of investigation are deemed to be part of the statement and may amount to contradiction.

Evidentiary value

Proviso to Section 162(1) lays down certain circumstance whereby the statements can be used for limited purpose. It provides that if the witness is called as prosecution witness and the statements have been reduced into writing and has been duly proved (proved to be made the by witness), it may be used by the accused and with the permission of the court, by the prosecution to contradict such witness in the manner provided by Section 145 of Evidence Act.

In order to attract the proviso following elements are necessary:-

(a)    Witness must have been called by the prosecution;

(b)    Witness must have made a statement to police officer;

(c)    Such statement must have been reduced into writing.

(d)    Such statement must have been proved.

Section 162 does not affect the provisions of Section 27 and Section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act. This section prohibits the use of the statements made to the police during the course of investigation for the purpose of corroboration. The idea behind this prohibition is based on the assumption that the police cannot be trusted for recording the statements correctly and the statements cannot be relied on by the prosecution as they may be self-serving in nature.

Supreme Court in Raghunandan v. State of U.P., (1974) 4 SCC 186 held that Section 162 is limited in its scope to the use of parties only. A court can ask any question whether in nature of corroboration or contradiction under Section 165 of Indian Evidence Act. Section 162 does not control Section 165 of Indian Evidence Act. Therefore, the court while examining the person as a court witness under Section 311 of the Code or asking any question to any witness under Section 165 of the Evidence Act, may make use of previous statements and restrictions put under Section 162 of the Code are not applicable.

Author & Former Judge

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