top of page
  • Writer's pictureLLC

section 27

Pulukuri Kottaya vs King-Emperor on 19 December, 1946

Section 27, which is not artistically worded, provides an exception to the prohibition imposed by the preceding section, and enables certain statements made by a person in police custody to be proved. The condition necessary to bring the section into operation is that the discovery of a fact in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence in the custody of a Police officer must be deposed to, and thereupon so much of the information as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered may be proved. The section seems to be based on the view that if a fact is actually discovered in consequence of information given, some guarantee is afforded thereby that the information was true, and accordingly can be safely allowed to be given in evidence; but clearly the extent of the information admissible must depend on the exact nature of the fact discovered to which such information is required to relate. Normally the section is brought into operation when a person in police custody produces from some place of concealment some object, such as a dead body, a weapon, or ornaments, said to be connected with the crime of which the informant is accused. Mr. Megaw, for the Crown, has argued that in such a case the "fact discovered" is the physical object produced, and that any information which relates distinctly to that object can be proved. Upon this view information given by a person that the body produced is that of a person murdered by him, that the weapon produced is the one used by him in the commission of a murder, or that the ornaments produced were stolen in a dacoity would all be admissible. If this be the effect of Section 27, little substance would remain in the ban imposed by the two preceding sections on confessions made to the police, or by persons in police custody. That ban was presumably inspired by the fear of the legislature that a person under police influence might be induced to confess by the exercise of undue pressure. But if all that is required to lift the ban be the inclusion in the confession of information relating to an object subsequently produced, it seems reasonable to suppose that the persuasive powers of the police will prove equal to the occasion, and that in practice the ban will lose its effect. On normal principles of construction their Lordships think that the proviso to Section 26, added by Section 27, should not be held to nullify the substance of the section. In their Lordships' view it is fallacious to treat the "fact discovered" within the section as equivalent to the object produced; the fact discovered embraces the place from which the object is produced and the knowledge of the accused as to this, and the information given must relate distinctly to this fact. Information as to past user, or the past history, of the object produced is not related to its discovery in the setting in which it is discovered. Information supplied by a person in custody that "I will produce a knife concealed in the roof of my house" does not lead to the discovery of a knife; knives were discovered many years ago. It leads to the discovery of the fact that a knife is concealed in the house of the informant to his knowledge; and if the knife is proved to have been used in the commission of the offence, the fact discovered is very relevant. But if to the statement the words be added "with which I stabbed A", these words are inadmissible since they do not relate to the discovery of the knife in the house of the informant.

Statement made by the accused Inala Sydayya on being arrested. About 14 days ago, I Kotayya and people of my party lay in wait for Sivayya and others at about sunset time at the corner of Pulipad tank. We, all beat Boddupati China Sivayya and Subayya, to death. The remaining persons, Pullayya, Kotayya and Narayana ran away. Dondapati Ramayya who was in our party received blows on his hands. He had a spear in his hands. He gave it to me then. I hid it and my stick in the rick of Venkatanarasu in the village. I will show if you come. We did all this at the instigation of Pulukuri Kotayya.

12th January, 1945. (Signed) POTLA CHINA MATTAYYA.


(Sgd.) G. BAPAIAH, Sub-Inspector of Police.

The whole of that statement except the passage "I hid it (a spear) and my stick in the rick of Venkatanarasu in the village. I will show if you come" is inadmissible. In the evidence of the witness Potla China Mattayya proving the document the statement that accused 6 said "I Mattayya and others went to the corner of the tank-land. We killed Sivayya and Subayya" must be omitted.

A confession of accused 3 was deposed to by the police sub-inspector, who said that accused 3 said to him:-

I stabbed Sivayya with a spear, I hid the spear in a yard in my village. I will show you the place.

The first sentence must be omitted. This was followed by a Mediatornama, Exhibit Q. 1, which is unobjectionable except for a sentence in the middle, He said that it was with that spear that he had stabbed Boddapati Sivayya," which must be omitted.

The passage in Taylor's Evidence (which is found in paragraph 902 of Volume 1 of 1931 Edition) is as follows:

"902. (i). When, in consequence of information unduly obtained from the prisoner, the property stolen, or the instrument of the crime, or the body of the person murdered, or any other material fact, has been discovered, proof is admissible that such discovery was made conformably with the information so obtained. The prisoner's statement about his knowledge of the place where the property or other article was to be found, being thus confirmed by the fact, is shown to be true, and not to have been fabricated in consequence of any inducement. It is, therefore, competent to prove that the prisoner stated that the thing would be found by searching a particular place, and that it was accordingly so found, but it wo