Unearthed Truths: Supreme Court Raises Bar for Prosecution Under Section 27 of Evidence Act

In a pivotal ruling, the Supreme Court has mandated that before leveraging statements made under Section 27 of the Evidence Act to secure a conviction, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that nobody else possessed prior knowledge of the disclosed facts. This profound pronouncement emerged from the judicial bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta.

The case at hand revolved around the conviction of the accused by a trial court, charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The crux of the matter lay in the discovery of a deceased body, purportedly unveiled by the police following statements elicited from the accused during custodial interrogation under Section 27 of the Evidence Act. This conviction had been upheld by the High Court, but the apex court would soon unravel a critical flaw.

Arguing before the Supreme Court, the accused contended that the conviction lacked merit, primarily due to the prosecution’s failure to demonstrate that prior awareness of the corpse’s existence was absent before the accused’s disclosures.

In a meticulously crafted judgment, Justice BR Gavai underscored the prosecution’s lapse in establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The court’s scrutiny revealed glaring inconsistencies, as it became evident that both law enforcement officials and certain witnesses were privy to knowledge regarding the deceased and the location of the body prior to the accused’s disclosures under Section 27.

Consequently, the apex court acquitted the accused, deeming the conviction untenable and overturning the previous verdict.

This ruling sets a precedent, elevating the threshold for the admissibility of evidence under Section 27 of the Evidence Act, and underscores the judiciary’s unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fair trial.

The legal battle, encapsulated in the case of Ravishankar Tandon versus the State of Chhattisgarh, now stands as a testament to the judiciary’s vigilance in safeguarding the rights of the accused amidst the intricate interplay of legal statutes and evidentiary standards.

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