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Recording of statements by officers cannot be treated as confession or evidence: SC

29th October, 2020

Recording of statements by officers cannot be treated as confession or evidence: SC

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that statements recorded by officers of central agencies who are appointed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act would not be treated as a confession
The majority judgment was given by Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Navin Sinha, while Justice Indira Banerjee disagreed with that. The court in a 2:1 judgment stated that such officers are police officers and so any confessional statement that they record under Section 67 of the NDPS Act would not be admissible as evidence in a court.
The bench was answering a reference which was made by the two judge bench expressing its doubt about the correctness of the dictum laid in Kanhaiyalal vs. Union of India, it was held that the officer under Section 63 is not a police officer and thus the bar under Sections 24 and 27 of the Evidence Act cannot be attracted. It was further held in Kanhaiyalal hat the statement made by a person directed to appear before the officer concerned may be relied upon as a confessional statement against such person.
According to Section 67 of the NDPS Act, any officer authorized by the Centre or a state government may during an investigation call for information “from any person for the purpose of satisfying himself whether there has been any contravention of the provisions of this Act or any rule or order made thereunder”. The officer may also “require any person to produce or deliver any document or thing useful or relevant to the enquiry” or examine any person acquainted with the case

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