Decided on October 07,1999

STATE Appellant
Ajit Singh Alias Chati Respondents


- (1.) THIS criminal appeal raises a short question of law about the admissibility of confessional statement recorded under section 15 of the Terrorist & Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987, in case which is transferred under section 18 of the Act. The question has arisen because a FIR was registered in Police Station, City Jammu under sections 3/4 TADA, 4/5 of Explosive Substance Act and 307 RPC on 16 -07 -91. A challan under sections 3/4 TADA and 302, 307, 325, 323 and 120 RPC was produced against (i) Parvinder Singh (ii) Ajit Singh (in) Narinder Singh; and (iv) Chain, whose parentage is not disclosed. As the offence under TADA is triable only by designated court, the Presiding Officer of the said court by his order dated 30 -07 -93, transferred the case to the Sessions Judge, Jammu in exercise of jurisdiction under section 8 of the TADA, holding that commission of offence under TADA is not disclosed. The Sessions Judge, Jammu it appears assigned the case to the Second Additional Sessions Judge.
(2.) THE learned Second Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu after hearing the counsel for the accused and the Public Prosecutor, discharged the accused, Ajit Singh and Narinder Singh by order dated 18 -12 -83 holding that prima -facie no charge was made out against them on the basis of evidence relied by the prosecution. Since the main evidence relied by the prosecution was confessional statements of some of the accused recorded under section 15 of the TADA, the court held that this evidence is not admissible under the Evidence Act.
(3.) IT is this order, which has been challenged by State on the ground that in case the confessional statement of the accused is admissible, when the accused is charged and tried under TADA, the same cannot be held inadmissible, when the case is transferred under section 18 of the TADA. Let us examine the legal position. Section 18 of the TADA reads as under: - 18. Power to transfer cases to regular courts: Where, after taking cognizance of any offence, a designated court is of opinion that the offence is not triable by it. It shall notwithstanding that it has no jurisdiction to try such offence, transfer the case for the trial of such offence to any Court having jurisdiction under the Code and the court to which the case is transferred may proceed with the trial of the offence as if it had taken cognizance of the offence. So, the Designated Court while transferring the case under this section, had recorded a finding that offence, with which the accused were charged, was not triable by it. This order had become final. The next question is, whether confession recorded under section 15 of the Act, is admissible in trial by the Court other than the Designated Court under the Act. Section 15 (1) of the Act reads as under: - 15. Certain confessions made to police officers to be taken into consideration: (1) Notwithstanding anything in the Code or in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 but subject to the provisions of this section, a confession made by a person before a police officer not lower in rank than a Superintendent of Police and recorded by such police officer either in writing or on any mechanical device like cassettes, tapes or sound tracks from out of which sounds or images can be reproduced, shall be admissible in the trial of such person for an offence under this Act or rules made thereunder. The mandate of sub -section (1) of Section 15 of the Act is clear and unambiguous. Any confession recorded under this section, is admissible only in the trial of a person, who had made confession for the offence, punishable under TADA. It is, thus not even relevant in the trial of cases transferred under section 18 of the Act. The trial court was thus perfectly justified in its opinion that the confession recorded under section 15, was not admissible. Any other view will render sections 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act nugatory. Such a interpretation as sought to be place on the scope of section 15, is not permissible under law.;

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