The Bombay high court has directed the Commissioner of Police (CP), Mumbai to stop the “illegal practice” adopted by some police stations in the city to record the statement of an accused incorporating admission of guilt, taking their thumb impressions or signatures on the statements, and include those in charge-sheets.
The division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Anuja Prabhudessai has directed the CP to issue, within a month, directions to all police stations to stop the practice.
“This court has repeatedly deprecated the practice followed by some police stations in Mumbai of recording statements of the accused persons incorporating an admission of guilt,” said the bench, adding, “It is necessary to issue directions in writing for stopping this illegal practice.”
The court was hearing an application filed by city resident Fahim Ansari seeking quashing of criminal proceedings initiated against him for dashing his bike into a a stationary car in February 2015. Though he was the only person who sustained injuries in the accident, it caused damage to the car, and on the basis of complaint lodged by the car owner, LT Marg police station registered an FIR against Ansari.
Ansari had approached high court after amicably settling the matter with the car owner and sought quashment of the criminal proceedings against him on the strength of the amicable settlement. During the course of hearing, the judges noticed from police records that on February 6, 2015, Fahim’s statement incorporating admission of guilt was recorded by the police, and his thumb impression was obtained on it.
The court termed this practice of recording a “confessional statement” by the police completely illegal in view of the legal position that no confession made to police can be proved against any accused person in the court, and thus, such confessions have no legal value. Besides, provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibit the police from compelling an accused to give thumb impressions or signatures on their statements recorded by the police.