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Hakam Mahomed Jainwala Vs. the State of Maharashtra - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Application No. 397 of 1969
Judge
Reported in(1972)74BOMLR117
AppellantHakam Mahomed Jainwala
RespondentThe State of Maharashtra
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
criminal procedure code (act v of 1898), sections 162, 161, 154 - corroboration by first information report--recording of first information report commenced before investigating officer left police station for inquiry and not completed before his return--whether such first information report hit by section 162, criminal procedure code--evidence act, 1872 (act i of 1872), section 145.;the giving of the first information and recording the same under section 154 of the criminal procedure code, 1898, is a continuous process. the nature of that process cannot be altered by reason of the fact that the investigation might have commenced at an intermediate period, before the recording of the first information was completed unless there is definite evidence to show that what was stated or recorded.....kania, j.1. the appellant in criminal appeal no. 397 of 1969 was original accused no. 1 and will be referred to hereinafter as accused no. 1. the appellant in criminal appeal no. 481 of 1969 was original accused no. 2 and will be referred to hereinafter.as accused no. 2. accused nos. 1 and 2 were put up for trial along with two other accused before the learned additional sessions judge, bombay. all the accused were charged with the offence under section 302 read with section 34, indian penal code, and in the alternative accused no. 1 was charged with the offence under section 802, indian penal code, and accused no. 2 and the other accused were charged with the offence under section 302 read with section 109, indian penal code. the learned additional sessions judge convicted accused no. 1.....
Judgment:

Kania, J.

1. The appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 397 of 1969 was original accused No. 1 and will be referred to hereinafter as accused No. 1. The appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 481 of 1969 was original accused No. 2 and will be referred to hereinafter.as accused No. 2. Accused Nos. 1 and 2 were put up for trial along with two other accused before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Bombay. All the accused were charged with the offence under Section 302 read with Section 34, Indian Penal Code, and in the alternative accused No. 1 was charged with the offence under Section 802, Indian Penal Code, and accused No. 2 and the other accused were charged with the offence under Section 302 read with Section 109, Indian Penal Code. The learned Additional Sessions Judge convicted accused No. 1 of the offence under Section 302, Indian Penal Code, and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment for life and accused No. 2 of the offence under Section 302 read with Section 109, Indian Penal Code, and also sentenced him to imprisonment for life. These two accused have come in appeal against their convictions and sentences before us. The other two accused were acquitted and no appeals were filed against their acquittal.

2. The prosecution case in brief was as follows: The deceased Abdul Wahid Khadim, who was also known as Badbadya, was residing in a building known as Kachwala Building on Nizam Road and doing the business of selling fruits as a hawker. He also carried on gambling in the streets at night. Witness Yasin Yamin (P.W. 2) was residing with Abdul Wahid in the same building and also took part in the business of gambling carried on by Abdul Wahid. On January 4, 1968 at about 12 noon there was a quarrel between accused No. 2 and Abdul Wahid over the selling of charas in the Kachwala Building. Abdul Wahid mentioned this to Yasin Yamin at about 4 p.m. when lie met him. Thereafter Abdul Wahid and Yasin Yamin went about together and were sitting on the Otla of the said Building after dinner till midnight. The incident took place at about 12-30 at night or so. At about that time Abdul Wahid asked Yasin Yamin to bring cigarettes from a Bidi shop and when he returned with the cigarettes, Abdul Wahid told him that accused No. 2 was seen coming there with his companions and therefore they should run away. When they saw the accused running towards them from the side of Parsi Galli, both of them ran towards Ibrahim Rahimtulla Road. When they reached the main road, the accused, who were chasing them, started shouting 'Chor, Chor'. Some members of the public thought that Abdul Wahid and Yasin Yamin might have committed some offence and tried to stop them. Abdul Wahid told those persons not to stop him, because his pursuers would catch him and kill him. But, by that time he had become almost exhausted. He tried to hide himself in a building where there is a small Chappal shop of one Dawood. The accused caught him when he entered the passage on the ground floor of the building and accused No. 2 pulled him out near the steps to the passage. Accused No. 2 then told accused No. 1 to strike Abdul Wahid with the knife. Thereupon, accused No. 1 took out a knife and thrust it on the left side of the chest of Abdul Wahid. Abdul Wahid fell down and was seen bleeding from the injury on the chest. Accused No. 1 then asked his companions to find out where Yasin Yamin, the companion of Abdul Wahid, was, and on hearing this, Yasin Yamin ran away from that place. He went to Pydhowni Police Station and gave information about the case of stabbing to police Sub-Inspector Albal, who was on Station House duty, and his statement was subsequently recorded by S.G.S.I. Sawant. This statement is the first information report (exh. 5) on record. As soon as Yasin Yamin reported the case to Sub-Inspector Albal, the latter informed his superiors viz. S.G.S.I. Sawant and Inspector Jal. S.G.S.I. Sawant came down to the police station and recorded the complaint being first information report (exh. 5). In the meantime, he directed Sub-Inspector Albal to go to the scene of the offence and verify what had happened. S.G.S.I. Sawant visited the scene of the offence after recording the F.I.R. and drew up a panchnama of the scene of offence. He and the police officers accompanying him found the body of Abdul Wahid lying in the common passage on the ground floor. They also found a Rampuri knife lying just below the right thigh of the body of the deceased. The body was taken to the J.J. Hospital morgue and post-mortem was performed on the body by Dr. Majumdar. Head Constable Tandel arrested accused No. 2 and produced him at the police station at 2 a.m. on January 5, 1968 along with accused No. 4. As the shirt worn by accused No. 2 had blood-stains on it, it was taken charge of by the police. In the search of the person of accused No. 2, a metal box containing eight pills of charm was found in his right pant-pocket. This metal box as well as the said bloodstained shirt were taken charge of by S.G.S.I. Sawant under a panchnama. Accused No. 1 presented himself at the police station on January 6, 1968 at about 12:30 a.m. and was arrested.

3. After the completion of investigation a charge-sheet was filed against the accused before the learned Presidency Magistrate, 15th Court, Mazagaon, on March 1, 1968. The evidence of Yasin Yamin was recorded before the learned Magistrate. But the evidence of two other persons, Gulam Mohamed and Mahomed Yusuf, who, according to the prosecution, were also eye-witnesses, has not been recorded by the learned Magistrate. The learned Magistrate after holding a preliminary inquiry committed the accused to stand their trial before the Court of Sessions.

4. His Lordship after dealing with the evidence in the case proceeded.

5. In this state of affairs, the main evidence on which the prosecution relies is the evidence of Yasin Yamin in the committal Court. It is true, as I have stated earlier, that I find this evidence to be reliable, and I would prefer this evidence to the evidence given by Yasin in the Court of Session. However, before this evidence can be accepted and acted upon, the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in Sharnappa Mutyappa v. State (1963) 66 Bom. L.R. 250. must be borne in mind. It has been held in that case (p. 253):.Where a person has made two contradictory statements on oath it is plainly unsafe to rely implicitly on his evidence. In other words, before one decides to accept the evidence brought in under Section 288 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as true and reliable one has to be satisfied that this is really so. How can that satisfaction be reached? In most cases this satisfaction can come only if there is such support in extrinsic evidence as to give a reasonable indication that not only what is said about the occurrence in general but also what is said against the particular accused sought to be implicated in the crime is true. If there be a case-and there is such infinite variety in facts and circumstances of the cases coming before the Courts that it cannot be dogmatically said that there can never be such a case-where even without such extrinsic support the Judge of facts, after bearing in mind the intrinsic weakness of the evidence, in that two different statements on oath have been made, is satisfied that the evidence is true and can be safely relied upon, the Judge will be failing in his duty not to do so.

6. The question which has to be considered next is, whether there is such support in the extrinsic evidence in the case to give a reasonable indication that not only what has been stated by Yasin about the occurrence in general in the committal Court is true, but also that what he has said against accused Nos. 1 and 2, who are sought to be implicated in the crime is also true. It was submitted by Mr. Tipnis, Honorary Assistant Government Pleader, for the State, that the strongest corroboration to the evidence of Yasin in the committal Court was furnished by the first information report (exh. 5). The learned Counsel for the accused, on the other hand, contended that this document was not admissible in evidence at all and could not furnish any corroboration to the evidence given by Yasin in the committal Court. They have pointed out that the evidence of Sub-Inspector Albal shows that Yasin came to the police station and reported a case of stabbing at about 12:45 a.m. on January 5, 1968. Later, in his evidence, Sub-Inspector Albal has clarified that Yasin gave the names of the assailants of the deceased at that time and before Sub-Inspector Albal reported the incident to S.G.S.I. Sawant, his superior. Sub-Inspector Albal, thereafter, immediately informed S.G.S.I. Sawant and Inspector Jal, who were his superior officers, about the case. S.G.S.I. Sawant came to the police station at once and Sub-Inspector Albal placed Yasin before S.G.S.I. Sawant. The evidence of Sub-Inspector Albal further shows that S.G.S.I. Sawant started interrogating Yasin and sometime during the period this interrogation was going on, he requested Sub-Inspector Albal to go to the scene of the offence and verify the information given by Yasin. Sub-Inspector Albal has stated that at the time he left the police station for verifying the information, S.G.S.I. Sawant had started interrogating Yasin and when he returned, S.G.S.I. Sawant, was writing the statement, which is the first information report (exh. 5) and, by that time, half of the statement was written out. This evidence is corroborated by the evidence of S.G.S.I. Sawant, who has stated that he completed the recording of the first information report after the return of Sub-Inspector Albal to the police station. Sub-Inspector Albal has, of course, stated that he did not interrogate any of the persons who had collected at the scene of the offence. I am not prepared to accept this statement. It is impossible to believe that he would not have made any inquiries about the incident from the persons who were present at the scene of the offence. It Was contended by the counsel for the accused that as soon as S.G.S.I. Sawant instructed Sub-Inspector Albal to verify the information given by Yasin and Sub-Inspector Albal left the police station for that purpose, the investigation in the case must be deemed to have commenced, and, as the first information report (exh. 5) was completed after that point of time and, in fact, as the evidence shows, only half of it was completed by the time Sub-Inspector Albal had returned, the statements contained in the first information report are not admissible in evidence by reason of the provisions of Section 162, Criminal Procedure Code. The relevant part of this section is as follows:

(1) No statement made by any person to a police-officer in the course of an investigation under this Chapter shall, if reduced into writing, be signed by the person making it; nor shall any such statement or any record thereof, whether in a police diary or otherwise, or any part of such statement or record, be used for any purpose (save as hereinafter provided) at any inquiry or trial in respect of any offence under investigation at the time when such statement was made.

The learned Counsel for the accused have relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in H.N. Rishbud v. State of Delhi : 1955CriLJ526 which describes the steps which comprise the investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Supreme Court has observed in that case that the first of such steps is proceeding to the spot and the second step is ascertainment of the facts and circumstances of the case. Although it was urged by the learned Counsel for the accused that investigation must be deemed to have commenced as soon as Sub-Inspector Albal left the police station to go to the scene of the offence to make inquiries, I am of the view that this would not be the correct position, and the investigation could be said to have commenced only when Sub-Inspector Albal reached the scene of the offence. It appears to me that this must be so, because in a given case a police officer who leaves the police station to go to the scene of the offence to investigate may not reach the since of the offence at all and in such a case it could not be held that the investigation had commenced. In the present case, however, it does not make much difference as to whether the investigation can be said to have commenced when Sub-Inspector Albal left the police station or when he reached the scene of the offence, because the evidence makes it clear that interrogation of Yasin had already started even before Sub-Inspector Albal left the police station, and, on the other hand, the recording of the first information report had not been completed by the time Sub-Inspector Albal returned. In fact, the evidence shows that when the Sub-Inspector returned the recording of the first information report was half completed. One other factor has also to be borne in mind, and that is that there is nothing to suggest that any information which might have been collected by Sub-Inspector Albal has been incorporated in the first information report. The recording of the first information report is a continuous process and that process had already started before Sub-Inspector Albal left the police station and some part of the statement must actually have been recorded by the time he reached the scene of the offence. The Supreme Court in State of Bombay v. Rusy Mistry : AIR1960SC391 has held that the first information report is the information recorded under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It is an information given by an informant on which the investigation is commenced and it must be distinguished from information received after the commencement of the investigation which is covered by Sections 161 and 162, Criminal Procedure Code. The giving of the first information and recording of the same is a continuous process. In the present case, that process had begun before Sub-Inspector Albal left the police station or reached the scene of the offence, and the nature of that process cannot be altered by reason of the fact that the investigation might have commenced at an intermediate period, before the recording of the first information was completed. Mr. Tipnis, the Assistant Government Pleader, has, moreover, drawn our attention to the decision of the Supreme Court in Baleshwar Rei v. The State of Bihar : [1963]2SCR433 in which their Lordships of the Supreme Court have held (p. 439):.For a statement to come within the purview of Section 102, it must not merely be made during the period of investigation but also in the course of investigation. The two things, that is, 'the period of investigation' and 'course of investigation' are not synonymous.

The words of Section 162 show that only the statements made to a police officer during the course of investigation are excluded from the evidence and, as observed by the Supreme Court, these words make it clear that it is only those statements which are ascribable to any inquiry conducted by an investigating officer that are excluded and not statements which are de hors the inquiry. It is true that normally all statements made to a police officer during the period of investigation would also be made in the course of investigation. But, this is net necessarily so, and this decision makes it clear that where a statement is made to a police officer even during the period of investigation, but which is not ascribable to any inquiry conducted by a police officer, that is not excluded from evidence under the bar of Section 162, Criminal Procedure Code. In the present case, the information recorded in the first information report (exh. 5) is clearly not ascribable to any inquiry conducted by a police officer. It is clear that none of the information which might have been collected by Sub-Inspector Albal has been included in this first information report. In my view, therefore, there is no substance in the contention raised on behalf of the accused that the first information report is not admissible it evidence. The first information report, in my view, furnishes very strong corroboration to the evidence of Yasin in the committal Court as it sets out in detail the entire story narrated by Yasin in that Court. There are no material contradictions between that evidence and the first information report. The first information report has been made at about 12:45 a.m. on January 5, 1968 i.e. within less than half an hour of the incident, as shown by the evidence of Yasin in the committal Court as well as the evidence of Sub-Inspector Albal and S.G.S.I. Sawant in the Sessions Court. It is clear that this information was recorded before there was any time to invent a false story involving the accused. The first information report not only corroborates what Yasin has stated in the committal Court about the incident in general but also what he has stated against accused Nos. 1 and 2 and which connects these two accused with the crime. It is true that Yasin has denied the correctness of a substantial portion of the first information report in the Court of Session, but that denial, as I have discussed earlier, is unworthy of any credit.

7. Even assuming that the first information report (exh. 5) is not admissible in evidence, it appears to me that, in that event, the entry in the station diary (exh. 16) would constitute the first information report. Even this entry lends corroboration to the testimony of Yasin in the committal Court. It was urged by Mrs. Ponder that even this entry was not admissible in evidence, because no questions were put to Yasin in the Court of Session to establish that he had given any such information to Sub-Inspector Albal, who has made this entry in the station diary and proved the same in evidence. She has drawn our attention to the decision of the Supreme Court in Awadh Behari v. State of M.P. : 1956CriLJ1372 in support of the proposition that where the statement of a prosecution witness, examined earlier, to another prosecution witness, who is examined later, is sought to be made use of by the prosecution, without the earlier prosecution witness having been asked about it in his examination, the earlier prosecution witness to whom the statement is ascribed just be given an opportunity to explain it; and that, in the absence of such opportunity, the statement of the earlier prosecution witness is inadmissible in evidence. That decision, in my view, has no application to the facts of the case before us. In that case, the question was about establishing the truth of a particular statement made by a prosecution witness previously examined and that witness had not been asked any question about his having made that statement, and what was held was that the truth of such a statement could not be proved by some other witness saying in evidence that that previous prosecution witness had made such a statement. In the case before us, the real question is not whether the contents of exh. 16, which records the information given by Yasin to Sub-Inspector Albal, are correct, but whether Yasin did make such a statement to Sub-Inspector Albal, because his having made such a statement would corroborate the evidence given by him in the committal Court. In such a case, the fact that he made such a statement could be established not only by his own evidence but by the evidence of any other witness. Actually, as far at; the case before us is concerned, the legal position has been settled beyond the pale of controversy by the decision of the Supreme Court in Ramratan v. State of Rajasthan [1962] I.S.C.J. 371 in which it has been held (p. 374):.There is nothing in Section 157 (of the Indian Evidence Act) which requires that before the corroborating witness deposes to the former statement the witness to be corroborated must also say in his testimony in Court that he had made that former statement to the witness who is corroborating him. It is true that often it does happen that the witness to be corroborated says that he had made a former statement about the fact to some person and then that person steps into the witness-box and says that the witness to be corroborated had made a statement to him about the fact at or about the time when the fact took place. But in our opinion it is not necessary in view of the words of Section 157 that in order to make corroborating evidence admissible, the witness to be corroborated must also say in his evidence that he had made such and such statement to the witness who is to corroborate him, at or about the time when the fact took place.

In the present case, as I have pointed out earlier, the question is of corroborating the evidence of Yasin given in the committal Court by the statement recorded in the entry (exh. 16), and in view of the decision of the Supreme Court there is no doubt that any other witness could depose to the fact that very soon after the incident in question, Yasin had made the statement recorded in the entry, which corroborates what he has deposed to in the committal Court. Even apart from this, we find from the evidence of Yasin in the committal Court that he had stated that he ran to the Pydhowni Police station and reported the stabbing. He was asked to sit there. And the next sentence which follows is, 'The F.I.R. was recorded by the police'. The other evidence in the case makes it clear that Yasin reported the incident to Sub-Inspector Albal, who asked Yasin to sit there and S.G.S.I. Sawant then came and recorded the first information given by Yasin. This makes it clear that the statement of Yasin that he reported the stabbing refers to what he told Sub-Inspector Albal. There is, therefore, in my opinion, no substance in this contention of Mrs. Ponda. It was next urged by Mrs. Ponder that the entry (exh. 16) cannot furnish any corroboration to the evidence of Yasin in the committal Court, because it does not contain any details at all. I cannot agree with this submission. In my view, the fact that Yasin named the accused as the assailants as well as the fact that he gave the names of accused Nos. 1 and 2 as the first two names does furnish some corroboration to his evidence in the committal Court, although that corroboration would not be as strong as the corroboration furnished by the first information report (exh. 5). The corroboration furnished by exh. 16, also, not only relates to what Yasin has said about the incident in general but even to what he has stated against accused Nos. 1 and 2 in particular.

The rest of the judgment is not material to this report.

Vimadalal, j.

8. I agree with the judgment just delivered by my brother Kania, but would like to add my own observations in regard to the objection raised by Mrs. Ponder and Mr. Peerbhoy to the admissibility of the documents, exhs. Nos. 5 and 16 in evidence. In order that a statement made to the police may be admissible in evidence, it is not necessary that it should answer the description of a First Information Report and fall within the terms of Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The correct proposition of law would be one expressed in the negative viz., that a statement made to the police would be admissible in evidence if it is not barred by the provisions of Section 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code. In order to determine the admissibility or otherwise of such a statement, what the Court must, therefore, see is whether it is a statement to which the bar of Section 162 is attracted. That section applies only to statements made to a police officer 'in the course of investigation', and it is those words that the Supreme Court interpreted in its decision in the case of Baleshwar Rai v. The State of Bihar : [1963]2SCR433 , at p. 439 to which my brother Kania has referred. The Supreme Court has drawn a distinction between 'the period of investigation' and 'course of investigation' which, it was observed, were not synonymous expressions. It was laid down in the judgment in that case that, for a statement to come within the purview of Section 162, Criminal Procedure Code, it must not merely be made during the period of investigation, but 'also' in the course of investigation, as is clear from the opening words of Section 162. The position, therefore, is that though a statement made to the police in the course of investigation must necessarily be one made during the period of investigation, the converse is not always true. A statement made during the period of investigation may or may not be one made in the course of investigation. Originally, no doubt, a statement made to the police during the period of investigation would be one made in the course of investigation, but that may not be the position in every case. As laid down by the Supreme Court in the said case, in order that it should also be a statement made in the course of investigation so as to attract the bar of Section 162, it 'must be ascribable to the inquiry conducted by the investigating officer and not one which is de hors the enquiry'. Applying that test to the statement of witness Yasin Yamin which was recorded by S.G.S.I. Sawant as the First Information Report (exh. 5), it is quite clear from the evidence of Sub-Inspector Albal that part of the statement had already been made before S.G.S.I. Sawant sent Sub-Inspector Albal to the site of the incident to verify the information. It is also clear from the evidence of Sub-Inspector Albal that before he returned from the site, which he did in about three or four minutes, approximately half of the statement of Yasin Yamin contained in exh. 5 had already been recorded by S.G.S.I. Sawant, and he continued to record the same even thereafter. Bearing in mind the view taken by the Supreme Court in State of M.P. v. Mubarak Ali : 1959CriLJ920 , para. 7 on the question as to what constitutes 'investigation', I hold that the investigation in the present case commenced when Sub-Inspector Albal reached the site of the incident and verified the facts. I do not believe the evidence of Sub-Inspector Albal that he did not interrogate any of the persons present at the site as, in my opinion, it is inevitable that Sub-Inspector Albal must have collected some information on the spot. I do not, however, take the view which was urged upon us by learned Counsel for the defence that the investigation in the present case commenced when Sub-Inspector Albal left the police station, because such a construction would lead to absurd results, in so far as it is not impossible to conceive of cases in which the officer concerned may never reach the site of the incident, either because he happens to be knocked down by a car while on the way to the scene of offence, or because his attention is diverted to some other more serious incident which has to be immediately attended to, or because he chooses to go on a frolic of his own, or for any other reason. What must be considered, therefore, is the position as it entailed at the time when Sub-Inspector Albal reached the site of the incident. Yasin Yamin had already started making his statement to S.G.S.I. Sawant before Sub-Inspector reached the site of the incident and, very probably, part of that statement had already been recorded prior thereto since, as deposed by Sub-Inspector Albal, about half of the statement of Yasin. Yamin had been, recorded by the time Sub-Inspector Albal returned to the police station within three or four minutes. That part of the statement which was made and recorded before the investigation commenced in the present case would obviously not be bit by the bar of Section 162, because, to use the language of the Supreme Court in Baleshwar Rai's case; it was not 'ascribable' to any enquiry conducted by Sub-Inspector Albal or S.G.S.I. Sawant. In my opinion, the fact that investigation commenced when that statement was still partly made and partly recorded cannot change the character of that statement from a First Information Report into a statement made in the course of investigation, unless there is definite evidence to show that what was stated or recorded subsequent thereto was ascribable to any inquiry made by the police officer. Yasin continued to state to S.G.S.I. Sawant what he had already commenced narrating1, and S.G.S.I. Sawant continued to record the same in the document (exh. 5), and there is nothing on the record of the present case to show that what he continued to record was ascribable to any enquiry conducted by him or by Sub-Inspector Albal. It was a continuous process and I, therefore, hold, that a statement which a police officer starts recording as a First Information Report within the terms of Section 154, Criminal Procedure Code, does not cease to be such and become a statement made in the course of investigation Within the terms of Sections 161 and 162 of that Code, unless there is definite evidence to show that what was stated or recorded after the period of investigation commenced was ascribable to some enquiry made in the meantime by a police officer investigating the offence. I, therefore, agree with my brother Kania that exh. 5 is admissible in evidence and the Court is not barred from receiving it in evidence by reason of the provisions of Section 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

9. With regard to the objection raised by Mrs. Ponder to the admissibility of the statement (exh. 16) in evidence, I desire to add only one sentence to what has already been said by my brother Kania in his judgment, and that is, that when a document like exh. 16 is intended to be used for the purpose of corroborating a witness, as in the present case, and not for the purpose of contradicting him, no question of showing that document to him in the manner contemplated by Section 145 of the Evidence Act or of giving him an opportunity to explain the same, arises at all.

10. I agree with the conclusions reached by my brother Kania in his judgment on all the points.

Per Curiam:

11. Both the appeals are dismissed and the conviction and sentences passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge on accused Nos. 1 and 2 confirmed.


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