Statement recorded under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. cannot be used as substantive evidence
In the case of Utpal Das & Anr. V. State of West Bengal reported in (2010) 6 SCC 493 the Supreme Court has observed that a statement recorded under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. cannot be used as substantive evidence. It can be used to contradict or corroborate a witness who has made the statement. The maker of such a statement may be cross-examined by using the statement made by him under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. to demonstrate that the evidence of the witness is false. The credibility of the prosecution witness can be impeached with the aid of the statement under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. The Court observed that it was for the defence to invite victim’s attention to what was said in the first information report and the statement made under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. for the purpose of bringing out the contradictions. In the absence of the same, the Court cannot read the statement under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. and compare it with the evidence led in Court. A similar view has been taken by a learned Single Judge of this Court in the case of Anjan Ganguly & Ors. V. State of West Bengal reported in (2014) 2 R.C.R.(Cri) 970. A Bench of six learned Judges of the Supreme Court in the case of Tahsildar singh & Anr. V. State of U. P. reported in AIR 1959 SC 1012 has elucidated the manner in which a witness can be contradicted by confronting him with his previous statement. The Supreme Court has delineated the procedure which is required to be followed for this purpose. A similar view was taken by the Supreme Court in the case of Rajender Singh & Ors. V. State of Bihar reported in (2000) 4 SCC 298 regarding the manner in which the contradictions can be brought forth in the deposition of a witness and his previous statement. Even if the attention of this witness was not drawn to his statement under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. where he had disclosed that his father was alive on 8th July, 2004 his deposition contains embellishments, other contradictions and discrepancies which makes his evidence susceptible to be discarded.
It was argued on behalf of the State by relying on judgment in the case of Mahavir Singh v. State of Haryana reported in (2014) 6 SCC 716 that all contradictions and discrepancies need not deter the Court from convicting the accused. It was submitted that once a chain of circumstances is found to be complete and no link is missing, the Court should convict the accused. This judgment does not aid the prosecution. The Supreme Court has observed if there are no material contradictions and the chain of circumstantial evidence is complete, the Court would take these factors into consideration while deciding whether to convict a person. However, the judgment has no application in the present case as we have seen that the chain of circumstances is not complete at all.
Refer: Calcutta High Court-Unknown vs The State Of West Bengal – 26/11/2014