The Supreme Court reiterated that for proving a disclosure memo under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (IEA) by the accused, the Investigating Officer is required to state about the contents of the same.

The Court was dealing with a criminal appeal against the judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court by which the appeal of the accused under Section 374 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was dismissed.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta said, “This Court in the case of Ramanand alias Nandlal Bharti v. State of Uttar Pradesh1 has postulated that for proving a disclosure memo recorded under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 at the instance of the accused, the Investigating Officer would be required to state about the contents of the disclosure memo and in absence thereof, the disclosure memo and the discovery of facts made in pursuance thereto would not be considered as admissible for want of proper proof.”

AOR Ronak Karanpuria represented the appellant while Deputy Advocate General V.V.V.M.B. Pattabhiram represented the respondent.

In this case, the appellant/accused was convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 394 read with Section 397 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and was sentenced to undergo seven years of imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 1,000/-. As per the prosecution story, in 1998, while the complainant was proceeding to her field, a person came from behind, closed her eyes, assaulted her with a knife and snatched away the silver anklet, a silver necklace and a silver bracelet which were worn by her. After committing the crime and injuring the complainant in the process, the assailant ran away from the spot.

The complainant stated in the FIR that she was not able to see or identify the assailant. Subsequently, the accused was arrested based on a suspicion. It was alleged that upon being interrogated by the police, he made a confession/disclosure statement. Acting on this, the Investigating Officer (IO) recovered the silver articles allegedly looted by the accused after assaulting the complainant and seized the same. The Trial Court proceeded to convict and sentence him and the High Court also affirmed the conviction by rejecting the appeal of the accused. Hence, he was before the Apex Court.

The Supreme Court in the above regard observed, “… we have no hesitation in holding that the prosecution miserably failed to prove the factum of disclosure made by the accused to the Investigating Officer (PW-12) leading to the recovery of the silver articles allegedly looted by the accused from the complainant.”

The Court noted that the prosecution did not lead any evidence to show that the recovered articles were sealed at the time of recovery or that they were kept secure in the malkhana of the Police Station till the same were subjected to identification before the Executive Magistrate.

“In addition thereto, it is also relevant that the Executive Magistrate was not examined in evidence. The complainant Bhagu Bai (PW-3) made a categorical admission in her cross examination that she could recognize the silver articles in the test identification proceedings upon being pointed out by the police officials. Thus, the recovery of the ornaments at the instance of the accused and the identification thereof has no sanctity in the eyes of law and cannot be relied upon. No other evidence was led by the prosecution to connect the accused appellant with the crime”, it added.

The Court concluded that there is no tangible or reliable evidence available on the record so as to affirm the guilt of the accused appellant as recorded by the Trial Court and upheld by the High Court.

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal, quashed the judgment of the High Court, and acquitted the appellant.

Cause Title- Hansraj v. State of M.P. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 318)


Appellant: AOR Ronak Karanpuria, Jai Wadhwa, Advocates Navneet Kumar, Gobind Kumar, and Parteek Kumar.

Respondent: Deputy Advocate General V.V.V.M.B. Pattabhiram, AOR Pashupathi Nath Razdan, Advocates Ankit Mishra, Mirza Kayesh Begg, Maitreyee Jagat Joshi, Astik Gupta, Akanksha Tomar, Argha Roy, Ojaswini Gupta, and Ruby.

Click here to read/download the Judgment