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In Re: Navanithammal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1939Mad3; (1938)2MLJ1065
AppellantIn Re: Navanithammal
Excerpt:
.....it gives only a further opportunity given for the appellant to escape from the consequences of the..........the appellant before the tahsildar magistrate was induced by any threat or promise, left it to the jury to decide whether the confession was voluntary and also that the sessions judge omitted to direct the jury that it was for the jury to decide whether the confession was a true confession. i am of opinion that there is not much substance in these contentions. no doubt there is in more than one place in the charge a direction to the jury to consider whether the confession was voluntary and indeed to decide whether it is voluntary, but this does not mean that the learned judge did not come to a decision himself on the point before he admitted the confession in evidence. the confession was one which is recorded by the magistrate authorised to record confessions according to law and in such.....
Judgment:

Pandrang Row, J.

1. The appellant has been convicted of robbery and causing grievous hurt in the course of the commission of the robbery and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years under Sections 392 and 397, Indian Penal Code. She was charged along with her husband with those offences, but the husband was acquitted by the Sessions Judge after a trial with the aid of a jury. It cannot be argued in this case that there was not enough evidence which if believed would not support the verdict of the jury. The case for the prosecution briefly was that P.W. 2 a little girl of six years who used to go to the appellant's house for drinking water during the school interval went to the appellant's house on the 8th of April, 1937, along with some of her school mates, that she remained behind for the purpose of answering calls of nature, and that she never returned to the house even that night. Search was made for the girl and she was finally found in a room in the appellant's house in a nearly strangled condition with a coir rope round her neck and all her jewels were found missing. The jewels were soon afterwards produced by the appellant before the police from an almirah in a room in her house. There was also a confession recorded by the Tahsildar Magistrate on the 12th of April, in which the appellant admitted having pushed the girl down, taken off her jewels and finally tied the rope round her neck tightly and dragged the child to the room in which she was ultimately found. It has been argued on behalf of the appellant that the learned Sessions Judge instead of deciding himself whether the confession made by the appellant before the Tahsildar Magistrate was induced by any threat or promise, left it to the jury to decide whether the confession was voluntary and also that the Sessions Judge omitted to direct the jury that it was for the jury to decide whether the confession was a true confession. I am of opinion that there is not much substance in these contentions. No doubt there is in more than one place in the charge a direction to the jury to consider whether the confession was voluntary and indeed to decide whether it is voluntary, but this does not mean that the learned Judge did not come to a decision himself on the point before he admitted the confession in evidence. The confession was one which is recorded by the Magistrate authorised to record confessions according to law and in such a case prima facie the confession would be admissible and the recorded confession as well as the oral evidence of the Magistrate who recorded it must have been admitted because the learned Judge thought there was nothing to prevent their being admitted. Section 24 of the Evidence Act is a rule of exclusion because it declares that a confession made by an accused person in certain circumstances is irrelevant in a criminal proceeding. It is not necessary that there should be a decision in so many words that a confession is not irrelevant under Section 24 of the Evidence Act. In every case in which a confession is admitted in evidence in a criminal proceeding, the fast that evidence of the confession is admitted is sufficient to make the confession evidence. It is open no doubt to the defence to object to the evidence of confession going in on the ground that it is excluded by Section 24 of the Evidence Act. But till such objection is raised there is no necessity for the Court to pronounce any formal decision on the question of relevancy of the confession. The actual admission of the evidence during the trial is sufficient for the purpose. It cannot therefore be said in this case that there had been a failure on the part of the learned Judge to perform his duty in the matter of admission of the evidence of confession. Then again his leaving it to the jury to decide whether the confession is voluntary is certainly a point regarding which the appellant cannot complain with any reason, because it gives only a further opportunity given for the appellant to escape from the consequences of the confession. Though the learned Judge was not right in leaving this matter to the decision of the jury yet his leaving it to the jury to decide cannot be regarded as a misdirection which could have possibly prejudiced the appellant. As regards the other point, the learned Judge has asked the jury to decide whether the confession may be accepted as a true one, and this is a sufficient compliance with his duty to direct the jury to decide whether the confession admitted by him is a true confession or not.

2. The next argument urged on behalf of the appellant is that there was no proper direction at the end of the charge as to whether the hurt caused to the victim by the appellant was caused for the purpose of committing robbery or, as the section has it, 'for that end.' This in my opinion is not a reasonable criticism of the charge, for at the end of the charge the learned Judge has said that it was necessary for the jury to consider whether the violence was resorted to with a view to rob the girl of her jewels. This in my opinion is sufficient compliance with the law as regards the charge to the jury in respect of the ingredients of the offence charged. Going through the charge as a whole I see no reason to suppose that it was not on the whole fair and sufficient. There were one or two important discrepancies in the evidence, but these have been touched upon and it was open to the jury to accept the explanations put forward on-behalf of the prosecution for the discrepancies. This is certainly not a case in which it can be said that there was no sufficient evidence for a conviction and the sentence imposed on the appellant is the minimum prescribed under Section 397, Indian Penal Code. The appeal is therefore dismissed.


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