Police Presence During Test Identification makes statements by Identifiers fall within the ban of Section 162 CrPc: Supreme Court

When the Test identification parades are held in police presence, the resultant communications tantamount to statements made by the identifiers to a police officer in course of investigation and they fall within the ban of section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Supreme Court has held.

In this case, the accused Chunthuram and co-accused Jagan Ram were convicted in a murder case by the Trial Court. The High Court, referring to the testimony of a eyewitness, acquitted Jagan Ram. Identification of the lungi by Filim Sai was yet another evidence used against Chunthuram.

While considering a criminal appeal, the bench noted that there was presence of the police during the Test Identification Parade.It was further observed that, to establish the presence of Chunthuram at the place of incident, the Courts relied on the Test Identification Parade and the testimony of Filim Sai.The court said that the test Identification evidence is not substantive piece of evidence but can only be used, in corroboration of statements in Court. Such tests are meant for the purpose of helping the investigating agency with an assurance that their progress with the investigation into the offence is proceeding on right lines.In this context, the bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Krishna Murari and Hrishikesh Roy further observed:

“The infirmities in the conduct of the Test Identification Parade would next bear scrutiny. The major flaw in the exercise here was the presence of the police during the exercise. When the identifications are held in police presence, the resultant communications tantamount to statements made by the identifiers to a police officer in course of investigation and they fall within the ban of section 162 of the Code.”

The statements of witnesses recorded by police under section 162 Crpc during investigation cannot be used for seeking corroboration or assurance for the testimony of a witness in court.

The court also observed that the witness Bhagat Ram admitted to having poor eyesight and through his cross-examination it was elicited that witness is incapable of seeing things beyond one or two feet.Taking note of all these, the bench acquitted the accused.

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