Decided on October 13,1970

R R G Katre Appellant
I M Kapur And Another Respondents


- (1.) One Thira I. M. Kapur gave a complaint of theft to the police. Eventually after Investigation this complaint was referred as falsa. Prosecution was launched against Thiru I.M. Kapur by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes), Madras, for as offence under Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code. One Katra who was examined as a witness daring the Investigation, was summonsd by the accused as a witness on his side, His statement was tape-recorded by the Police during the investigation Since there was poem variation In his evidence, the tape-record was played In court end he was asked to say as to whether It was his voice. He denied it Kapur then filed an application, requesting the court to record the voice of Katra for purposes of Identification. This was ordered by the court. The correctness of this order Is canvassed In Crl.R.C. 802 of 1970. Katra also filed a separate application, objecting to the recording of his voice stating that he cannot be compelled to submit his voice for any such recording. This application was dismissed. This is challenged In Crl.R.C. 1063 of 1570. Since the question involved is the same, these revisions are dealt with together.
(2.) The short point for determination is as to whether Thiru Katra could be compelled to submit to a tape-recording of his voice for purposes of Identification by the court. On behalf of the Petitioner, it is argued that Section 73 of the Indian Evidence Act refers only to a comparison of the signatures and finger prints and that there is BO provision for the comparison of the voice recorded in tapes anywhere in the Evidence Act It is now well settled that a conversation which has bean tape-recorded earlier is admissible both for corroborating the witness and also for contradicting him. Vide Pratap Singh v. State of Punjab, 1964 4 SCR 733. The Supreme Court in Yusuf Ali v. State of Mahrashtra, 1967 3 SCR 720, 1968 L.W. Cri. 12 has held: The process of tape-recording offers an accurate method of storing and later reproducing sounds. The imprint of the magnetic taps is the direct effect of the relevant sounds. Like a photograph of a relevant incident, a contemporaneous tape-record of a relevant conversation is relevant fact and is admissible under Section 7 of the Indian Evidence Act. The weight to be attached to the tape-recorded statements will depend on the question (1) whether the voice recorded was that of a person where voice it professes to be, (11) whether there had been any interpolation or omission, and (iii) whether there had been any other tampering with the record. The Supreme Court has pointed oat In Yusuf Ali's case (2) that the time and place and accuracy of the recording must be proved by a competent witness and the voice must be properly Identified. In Manindranath v. Biswariath 67 Cal.W.N. 191, the Plaintiff when lathe box made a statement which was at variance with a statement previously made by him. It was held that when ha denies hiving made any such previous statement recorded by tape-recording it may be proved by the opposite party, subject to the condition that there was proof that those statements were made by the Plaintiff and that they were accurately recorded by the tape-recorder. It has been held in Hock's case, as below: Evidence of things seen through telescopes or binoculars, which otherwise could not be picked out by the naked eye, have been admitted. Now, there are devices for picking up, transmitting and recording conversations. We can see no difference In principle between a taps-recording and a photograph. It does not appear to this Court wrong to deny to the law of evidence, the advantages to be gained by new techniques and new devices, provided the accuracy of the recording can be proved aid the voices recorded properly identified. Thus, we see that a contemporaneous tape record of a relevant conversation is a relevant fast and is admissible under Section 7 of the Indian Evidence Act. But, an identification of the voice is the most important thing. Once it is held that a tape-recording is admissible, the manner and the mode of its proof and the ass thereof in a trial is a matter of detail. Vide Dial Singh v. Rajpal, 1969 AIR(P&H) 350. It may be used for the purpose of confronting a witness with his earlier taps-recorded statement. It may also be legitimately used for the purpose of shaking the credit of a witness. That being so, for the use of an earlier tape-recorded statement, the identification of the voice is a crucial matter, and its fact a proper identification is the sine qua non for the use of the earlier tape-recording. The necessity of a proper Identification of the taped voice has been emphasised by the Supreme Court in Yusuf Ali's ease : 1967 3 S.C.R. 720 : 1968 L.W. (Cl.) 12.
(3.) Where is a case the voice is denied by the alleged maker thereof, a comparison of his voice thus becomes inevitable. Tree, the person who recorded the statement can speak to the fact that the statement was recorded from Thiru Katve. The court has also the opportunity of hearing the person when he gives evidence. When he refuses to submit his voice for tape-recording, the court can draw an adverse inference. But there is no prohibition for its recording his voice in the tepe for the purpose of identification. Katre is not an accused is the case, bat he is only a witness. His previous tape-recorded statement is sought to be made use of for contradicting and discrediting him. This is certainly admissible. When he denies the voice, the Court can record his voice and compare the same with the voice which cornea from the tape. The orders passed by the learned Magistrate are correct.;

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