Duties of the court while recording statement of accused u/s 313 of CrPC defined

Samsul Haque Vs The State of Assam

Supreme Court

26/08/2019

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1905 OF 2009

About/from the judgment:

It is trite to say that, in view of the judgments referred to by the

learned Senior Counsel, aforesaid, the incriminating material is to be put to the accused so that the accused gets a fair chance to defend himself. This is in recognition of the principles of audi alteram partem. Apart from the judgments referred to aforesaid by the learned Senior Counsel, we may usefully refer to the judgment of this Court in Asraf Ali v. State of Assam (2008) 16 SCC 328. The relevant observations are in the following paragraphs:

 

“21. Section 313 of the Code casts a duty on the Court to put in an enquiry or trial questions to the accused for the purpose of

enabling him to explain any of the circumstances appearing in the evidence against him. It follows as necessary corollary therefrom that each material circumstance appearing in the evidence against the accused is required to be put to him specifically, distinctly and separately and failure to do so amounts to a serious irregularity vitiating trial, if it is shown that the accused was prejudiced.

 

22. The object of Section 313 of the Code is to establish a direct dialogue between the Court and the accused. If a point in the evidence is important against the accused, and the conviction is intended to be based upon it, it is right and proper that the accused should be questioned about the matter and be given an opportunity of explaining it. Where no specific question has been put by the trial Court on an inculpatory material in the prosecution evidence, it would vitiate the trial. Of course, all these are subject to rider whether they have caused miscarriage of justice or prejudice. This Court also expressed similar view in S. Harnam Singh v. The State (AIR 1976 SC 2140), while dealing with Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 (corresponding to Section 313 of the Code). Non- indication of inculpatory material in its relevant facets by the trial Court to the accused adds to vulnerability of the prosecution case. Recording of a statement of the accused under Section 313 is not a purposeless exercise.”

 

23. While making the aforesaid observations, this Court also referred to its earlier judgment of the three Judge Bench in Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra (1973) 2 SCC 793, which considered the fall out of the omission to put to the accused a question on a vital circumstance appearing against him in the prosecution evidence, and the requirement that the accused’s attention should be drawn to every inculpatory material so as to enable him to explain it. Ordinarily, in such a situation, such material as not put to the accused must be eschewed.

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