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Reconsider ban on using talk between spouses as proof: HC

mumbai Updated: Feb 19, 2011 01:31 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari

Questioning the blanket prohibition on a person from disclosing details of a conversation with his or her spouse, the Bombay high court has suggested that the Maharashtra government should take steps to amend the law that prohibits forcing a person to deposing against his or her spouse.

The high court on Friday suggested that the state amend section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1877, that stops authorities from compelling a person to depose against his or her spouse and disclose communication between them without the consent of the other.

“The confidentiality between spouses about their conjugal life must remain sacrosanct, but a blanket ban on any type of communication [between them] about crimes may not withstand the requirements of the modern times so as to do complete justice,” the division bench of justice BH Marlapalle and justice UD Salvi said.

The court said with development in technology every communication between spouses cannot be prevented from being used as evidence. “And it cannot be expected that unless one of them gives consent the trial courts cannot accept such a communication as evidence,” the bench said.

Additional public prosecutor Aruna Pai-Kamat, during the hearing of an appeal filed by two Panvel residents convicted in 2002 for a murder in Raigad in 2001, had expressed apprehension that the interpretation of Act would affect several criminal cases.

One of the accused in the case had made an extra-judicial confession before his wife, which the prosecution used to strengthen its case. The high court, however, rejected the use of this confession as evidence.

Pai-Kamat had submitted that there should not be a blanket ban on accepting the communication between spouses as evidence in a criminal trial.

The bench suggested that the state should approach either the Union law and justice ministry or the law commission for making some exceptions to the ban.