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In Re: Kakana Ramana Reddy and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal Nos. 229, 232, 238 and 626 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Mad74; (1952)2MLJ501
ActsEvidence Act, 1872 - Sections 24; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 164 and 164(3); Madras Police Standing Order; Madras Criminal Rules of Practice - Rule 85
AppellantIn Re: Kakana Ramana Reddy and ors.
Advocates:M.K. Nambiar, ;C.K. Venkatanarasimham, ;V. Rajagopalachari and ;B.T. Sundararajan, Advs.;Public Prosecutor
Cases ReferredManicka Nagendra Bhagavathar v. The King
Excerpt:
.....say after a lunch interval, or on the next day. it is sufficient if, before commencing to record a confession, a magistrate puts the necessary questions required by that section to the accused, and it is not mandatory that he should keep on repeating those questions to him after every break in the recording of a long confession.;the section does not require a magistrate to give reasons, before beginning to record a confession, for his being satisfied that the accused was going to make a voluntary statement.;a confession made one day and continued the next day cannot be split up into something partly admissible and partly inadmissible. the whole confession should be either admitted or rejected.;the desirability of amending rule 85 of the criminal rules of practice pointed..........presidency magistrate, received a requisition ex. p. 65 from the chief presidency magistrate to record a statement under section 164 crl. p.c. from a. 3 who was then on remand in the saidapet sub-jail, whereas a. 1 was on remand in the penitentiary. a. 3 was produced before mr. ernest by the jail warders on the 1st of february 1950 and he then administered the usual warnings that he was under no obligation to answer questions, that it was not intended to make him an approver and that anything he may say may be used against him. mr. ernest made a record ex. p. 66 of the warnings he gave a. 3 and he gave him 2 days time to reflect till 11 a.m. on 3-2-1950. he was again produced before him and after putting all the necessary questions, which could have left no doubt in the mind of a. 3.....
Judgment:
1. Criminal Appeals Nos. 229 and 232 of 1951 are appeals by A. 3 and A. 5 who were found guilty on the unanimous verdict of Jury at the Madras Criminal Sessions under Sections 120B, 489C and 489D I.P.C. A. 3 was in addition found guilty under Section 489-A, I.P.C. They were each sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment by Panchapakesa Aiyar J.

2. Crl. Ap. No. 238 of 1951 is an appeal by the 6th accused, who was found guilty on a majority jury verdict of 8 : 1 only under Section 489C IPC and sentenced to three years' rigorous imprisonment. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty as regards the 6th accused on the count under Section 120-B IPC. The State appeals against his acquittal on this count in Crl. Ap. 626 of 1951.

3. It may be mentioned that there were six accused charged with conspiracy to counterfeit 100 rupee currency notes. A. 1 who was convicted on four counts on the unanimous verdict of the jury and sentenced to concurrent sentences of five years has not appealed. A. 2 and A. 4 were acquitted.

4. The appeals by A. 3 and A. 5 which wore first filed were admitted by a Bench of which one of us (Mack J.) was a member under Section 411-A l(a) Crl. P.C. on a point of law. This related to the admissibility of confessions recorded by a Presidency Magistrate, Mr. Ernest from A. 1 and A. 3. The main objection was taken to the admissibility of A 3's confession Ex. P. 66(b) recorded by Mr. Ernest on 3-2-1950 and continued on 4-2-1950. It was alleged that although Mr. Ernest gave A. 3 all the necessary warnings in question form on 3-2-1950 before he started recording the confession, he did not administer these same warnings again before he continued recording the latter portion of the confession on 4-2-1950. The short point of law is whether Section 164 Crl. P.C. requires a Magistrate to give such warnings again on the second day when the confession could not be completed the previous day, and whether this constitutes an omission, which would render the confession inadmissible in evidence as not having been voluntarily made.

5. To appreciate the point taken it is necessary to set out some of the salient facts of this prosecution. Ramana Reddi (A. 3) is a graduate aged 33 and a mica miner of Gudur. It is in his house that according to the prosecution, these counterfeit notes were actually manufactured. 1929 counterfeit 100 rupee notes were actually recovered in the case, 976 from the possession of A. 1, 201 from the possession of A. 5, 750 from the possession of A. 6 and 2 from the possession of a servant of A, 5. The accused came from different districts in the State. A. 1 was an electrical engineer and machine commission agent, who lived in Triplicane, Madras. A. 2 came from Travancore. A. 4 was a compositor of Madurai and A. 5 is a Mudaliar landholder of Salem. A. 6 who was A 5's son-in-law's brother, is a landholder residing at Erode. It was the prosecution case that after several of these counterfeit notes were manufactured and before any of them were actually passed to the public, the conspiracy was nipped in the bud by prompt Police action. The house of A, 3 in Gudur was searched on the evening of 23-1-1950 and the Police recovered some letters Exs. P. 15 to P. 17. The next day A. 3 is said to have produced a map roller, (M. O. 11) capable of being used in the process of counterfeiting currency notes, though also for innocent purposes. He is also said to have shown the police two wells from which a piece of a block (M. P. 10) used for counterfeiting notes was discovered. A. 3 is said to have been formally arrested on the 24th of January 1950 and to have been brought by car to Madras on 25-1-1950. He was produced before the Commissioner of Police, who passed orders as a Presidency Magistrate under Section 7 of the City Police Act for his detention in Police custody for further investigation. On 31-1-1950, Mr. Ernest the 6th Presidency Magistrate, received a requisition Ex. P. 65 from the Chief Presidency Magistrate to record a statement under Section 164 Crl. P.C. from A. 3 who was then on remand in the Saidapet sub-jail, whereas A. 1 was on remand in the Penitentiary. A. 3 was produced before Mr. Ernest by the Jail warders on the 1st of February 1950 and he then administered the usual warnings that he was under no obligation to answer questions, that it was not intended to make him an approver and that anything he may say may be used against him. Mr. Ernest made a record Ex. P. 66 of the warnings he gave A. 3 and he gave him 2 days time to reflect till 11 a.m. on 3-2-1950. He was again produced before him and after putting all the necessary questions, which could have left no doubt in the mind of A. 3 that his statement would be used against him at his trial and that it was not intended to make him an approver, recorded from him a very long confession covering more than seven printed pages of matter. By far the greater part of this confession was recorded on 3-2-1950 and there being no time to continue in that day, approximately two pages more were recorded on 4-2-1950 without any further warnings or questions being recorded as having been put that day. At the conclusion of the confession, the Magistrate recorded his certificate of belief that the confession was voluntarily made and in addition appended an explanatory note that he had removed him from police influence for nearly 48 hours, which was given to him for reflection.

6. Mr. Nambiar has strongly criticised A. 3 being kept in Police custody for nearly six days. That custody was however perfectly legal and under the specific orders of the Commissioner of Police acting within his powers as a Presidency Magistrate. It has to be remembered that the conspiracy was a very widespread one with ramifications in several districts and we can see nothing in this charge of police detention which can afford a basis for any interference, that A. 3 was coerced, ill-treated or as Mr. Nambiar puts it "conditioned by a variety also of being taken as one. The Confession he has given is a very long and detailed one, which it was not possible for the magistrate to record in one day. It is true that it was re-traded in the committing court. The criterion for the admissibility of a confession is not whether an accused person immediately he is questioned by the police, spontaneously comes out with a full confession of his guilt. If this were adopted as a criterion very few confessions would become admissible in evidence. It is perfectly open to the police to interrogate person who is suspected before his arrest and, confront him with the evidence they have discovered and unable to explain it; an accused person may feel that the game is up and then come out with a full confession. It is true that under Madras Police Standing Order No. 583 the practice of resorting to persuasion, trickery or oppression to induce an accused person to confess is prohibited and when once an accused person has been arrested, while the police may and indeed should listen to any statement which he may voluntarily make, the police are strictly forbidden to interrogate him or press him to make a statement.

There is every indication in this case that A. 3 before he was actually arrested on 24-1-1950 had made incriminating admissions to the Police and there is no ground for any suspicion that he was coerced, tricked or oppressed into making this long confession while he was in Police" custody. The criterion as to whether a confession is voluntary or not is whether it was voluntarily made by an accused person before the Magistrate recording it under Section 164 Crl. P.C. i.e., after he has been removed from police influence and has been given clearly to understand by the Magistrate in compliance with Section 164 Crl. P.C. that anything he says may be used in evidence against him, that he was not bound to make any confession that if he does so, it would be used as evidence against him and that he would not be taken as an approver. Under Section 164(3) Crl. P.C.,

"No Magistrate shall record any such confession unless upon questioning the person making it, he has reason to believe that it was made voluntarily."

All the questions suggested in Rule 85 of the Criminal Rules of Practice as useful Questions, which a Magistrate may put to an accused person before he proceeds to record a confession have a two-fold object (i) to make perfectly clear to the accused the consequences of making a confession and (ii) to assist a magistrate to satisfying himself that the confession was voluntarily made, these questions giving as they do every opportunity to the accused freed from Police custody to inform the Magistrate about any police torture or improper inducement to which he has been subjected by the police.

7. We can find nothing in Section 164 Crl. P. C. or even in Rule 85 of the Criminal Rules| of Practice which requires a Magistrate to put all these questions afresh after any break in the recording of a confession, say after a luncheon interval or the next day. Under Section 164 (3) Cri. P.C. these questions have to be put before "recording any such confession".

8. Our attention was drawn at the time these appeals were admitted to -- 'Punia Mallah v. Emperor', 24 Pat. 646, a Bench decision of the Patna High Court in which Das J. took the view that where a confession was recorded from an accused person on the 27th of October 1943 and continued to the 28th of October 1943 without any further warnings being given on the second day, there was a failure to comply with Section 164(3). With great respect we are unable to follow that view, which followed the view taken by Mukherjee J. in -- 'Emperor v. Panchkowri Dutt', 52 Cal. 67. Mukherjee J. sitting by himself took the view that where a confession made on one day was continued the next day and the Magistrate did not question the accused again and there was nothing to satisfy himself that the confession made on the second day was voluntary, that part of the confession so made was inadmissible. With respect we find it extremely difficult to split up a confession made one day and continued the following day into something partly admissible and partly inadmissible and think either the whole confession should be admitted or rejected. In the Patna decision, it was pointed out by Das J. that the confession as regards the particular dacoity with which that accused was con-corned, was narrated on the second day on which no warnings were given. In this particular case by far the greater part of the confession was made on 3-1-1950 and all that would according to the view taken by Mukherjee J. be admissible and only the latter portion recorded on 4-2-1950 would be ruled out We have no hesitation in taking the view that it is sufficient if before commencing to record a confession, a Magistrate puts the necessary questions required by Section 164 Crl. P.C. to the accused and that it is not mandatory that he should keep on repeating these questions to him after every break in the recording of a long confession.

9. Mr. Nambiar has referred us to -- 'Manicka Nagendra Bhagavathar v. The King', 1950 Mad. W.N Cr. 55 in which one of us Govinda Menon J. and Easheer Ahmed Sayeed J. held that when a Magistrate recording a confession did not record the questions and answers from the accused in direct form but swore in the witness box that he had Rule 55 (85?) of the Criminal Rules of Practice before him and put all the necessary questions suggested there, to satisfy himself that the statement was voluntarily made, it was a sufficient compliance with Section 164 Crl. P.C. In -- 'Ramaswami v The State', 1951 Mad W.N. Cr. 277 a Bench of this Court consisting of one of us Mack J. and Krishnaswami Nayudu J. held that failure to warn an accused that it was not intended to make him an approver as required by Rule 85 did not render the confession inadmissible. In that case, the question had been put in another form as to whether the police had offered inducements that the accused would be released if he made a confession. Mr. Nambiar has also stressed the failure of the Magistrate to act in strict compliance with Rule 85 of the Criminal Rules of Practice in not recording his reasons for believing the statement to be voluntary before beginning to record it. The Magistrate however appended the certificate required by Section 164 Crl. P.C. at the end of the confession. Section 164 Crl. P.C. does not require a Magistrate to give reasons before beginning to record a confession for his satisfaction that the accused was going to make a voluntary statement. We think that Rule 85 of the Criminal Rules of Practice requires some revision in view of technical and literal non-compliance with each of the suggested questions being sought to be made a ground of attack to undermine the voluntary nature of the confession. While the questions required to be put by a Magistrate before the accused made a statement are no doubt absolutely necessary to ensure a confession being a voluntary one, it is only we think after the accused has made a statement that a Magistrate, after hearing him and observing his demeanour can be in the best position to append the highly responsible certificate required of him to validate a confession that he believes it to have been voluntarily made.

10. We see no substance in the legal objection taken to the admissibility of the confessions of either A. 3 or A. 1 as evidence in this trial. Mr. Nambiar has not referred us to any misdirections in the long, exhaustive and able summing up of the learned trial Judge, who has been very fair to all the accused.

11. On behalf of A. 5 Mr. Rajagopalachari has referred us to some alleged misdirections. Though the appeals were admitted on the legal point of the admissibility of the confessions and not on any misdirections pointed out at the time of admission we would like to deal with them briefly. The evidence against A. 5 was that from his rice mill 201 counterfeit notes were recovered and also a paper cutting machine (M. O. 6) on 23-1-1950. A 6 who was A. 5's son-in-law's brother had been arrested in Erode on 22-1-1950 and from his possession 750 notes arid a diary and some letters were recovered. In a telegram Ex. P. 3 was found the Triplicane address of A. 1. In addition to the 201 counterfeit notes recovered in a search of A. 5's house, a telegram Ex. P, 8 from A. 1 to A. 5 "to meet Ramaswami (A. 6) Cochin express and deliver 750 out of your stock" was also recovered. They recovered from A. 5's house a letter Ex. P. 7 and a diary Ex. P. 9. From A. 1's house a letter Ex. P. 39 was recovered purporting to be written by A. 5 on 22-1-1950. According to the Police, if arrived on 23-1-1950 by post when the police were in A 1's house. A. 5 denied having written this letter, his general defence being that A. 6, who was a lorry owner, was staying in his rice mill and he sought to throw the responsibility for the counterfeit notes found there on A. 6,

The alleged misdirection is that the learned Judge asked the Jury to compare the signature on Ex. P. 39 with A. 5's admitted writing and signature. There was A. 5's writing on his diary Ex. P. 9. Mr. Rajagopalachari however said he was unable to find anything in the nature of an admitted signature by A. 5 on the record. He was not present at the trial nor unfortunately was he instructed by the advocate who was himself present. There must have been admitted signature of A. 5 on record such as his statement in the committing Court and it may well have been one of these signatures, which the learned Judge placed before the jury We are wholly unable to make any inference of misdirection from the mere inability of the learned advocate to find amongst the actual exhibit an admitted signature of A.

5. It is also urged that the learned Judge did not refer to A. 5's line of defence. We find that he has done so on more than one occasion in his long and elaborate summing up. We are, in fact, quite unable to find any trace of misdirection in the elaborate summing up of the learned Judge, which has been scrupulously fair to each of the accused.

12. The learned advocate for A. 6 in Crl. Ap. No. 238 of 1951 has conceded that the summing up has been fair to him and is free from any misdirection and that his appeal must fail if the confessions of A. 1 and A. 3 are held to he admissible. A. 6 admitted that he got 750 notes from A. 5 on the night of 22-1-1950. He pleaded that he had to pay about 3 1/2 lakhs in income-tax and that he had approached several persons for loan and also asked A. 1 for a loan of a lakh. There can be no doubt that he received 750 counterfeit notes. The jury did not think that he was in the conspiracy to manufacture and pass off counterfeit notes and pave him the benefit of a reasonable doubt on the count under Section 120B IPC. We can see no grounds, which would warrant our interference with the unanimous verdict of the jury. We have no hesitation in dismissing A. 6's appeal Crl. Ap. No. 238 of 1951 and also the state appeal Crl. Ap. No. 626 of 1951 against his acquittal on the conspiracy charge, but we reduce the sentence passed on him from 3 years' to 2 years' rigorous imprisonment. We see no reason for arty reduction in the sentences the learned Judge has seen fit to impose on the other appellants whose appeals are dismissed.


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