The Bombay High Court reiterated that a Police Patil under the Maharashtra Village Police Act, 1967 is not a "Police Officer", and therefore, a confession made to a Police Patil is admissible in law.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S Waghwase observed "Police Patil appointed under the Maharashtra Village Police Act, 1967 is not a “Police Officer” for the purpose of Section 25 of the Evidence Act.... The Police Patil under the Village Police Act is also not a Police Officer on the deeming fiction of law as there is no provision in the Statute which specifically or even otherwise requires the Police Patil to be treated as a Police Officer for all intent and purpose and therefore confession made before him would not attract the bar of Section 25 of the Evidence Act".

Counsel PB Patil appeared for the appellant, while APP VS Choudhari appeared for the respondent-State.

In this case, the appellant challenged his conviction for the murder of his daughter by strangulation. The prosecution's case was that the appellant was that the appellant was displeased with his daughter's love affair, owing to which he decided to murder her.

The prosecution placed reliance on the extra-judicial confession of the Police Patil, Bharat, and his son, Mukesh, and the autopsy findings supporting death by strangulation. The appellant contended that the confession was inadmissible, witnesses were unreliable, and the benefit of the doubt should be given.

The High Court observed that it was certain that the death was by homicide.

Relying on the case of Rajeshwar s/o Hiraman Mohurle (in jail) vs. State of Maharashtra, wherein it was held that a Police Patil is not a police officer, the Court observed that, "Under the said circumstance, the confession made before PW-4 Bharat was admissible and not at all hit by any of the provisions of law. The confession was made by the accused before PW-5 Mukesh also and that was prior in time. PW-5 Mukesh was not the Police Patil and therefore, his testimony is trustworthy and acceptable."

On revisiting and re-appreciating the evidence, the Court found that the prosecution had proved that the accused had killed his daughter by strangulation and therefore, his conviction for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code was perfectly legal.

Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

Cause Title: Vishwas vs The State of Maharashtra

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