State of Maharashtra Vs. Ismail Abbas Patel
Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987
Section 15 – TADA Rules, 1987- Appeal against acquittal – Respondent charged under Section 3(3) of TADA and Section 120B IPC – Allegation of conspiracy, participation in conspiratorial meeting at Dubai and making arrangement and financing trip for his co-accused to Dubai – Acquittal by Designated Court – Confession of respondent under Section 15, TADA and confessions of co-accused A-20 and A-21 – Confessional statement in two parts – Presence of some intervening period for re-consideration in between -While recording the first part, officer recording the statement, not warning accused that he was not bound to make the confession and if made it would be used against him – Second part of the confession recorded on 4.5.1993 – Again respondent not warned – Same position with confessional statements of co-accused A-20 and A-21 – Statements discarded by Designated Court for non-compliance with the provisions of Section 15 and Rule 15. Held, following S.N. Dube’s case, Designated Court’s decision upheld. Compliance of Section 15 and Rule 15 of TADA, 1987 is mandatory. In absence of admissible evidence to relate respondent to the crime, acquittal justified. No interference needed.
65. Facts and circumstances giving rise to this appeal are that :
A. In addition to main charge of conspiracy, the respondent was charged as he participated in the conspiratorial meeting at Dubai, and made the arrangement and financed the trip for his co-accused Shaikh Aziz to Dubai. Thus, he was charged under Section 3(3) TADA and various provisions of IPC.
B. The Designated Court after conclusion of the trial acquitted the respondent of all the charges.
Hence, this appeal.
66. Shri Mukul Gupta, learned senior counsel appearing for the State has submitted that there was ample evidence against the respondent of his involvement in the aforesaid offence. However, the learned Designated Court has wrongly acquitted him. Thus, the appeal deserves to be allowed.
67. Per contra, learned counsel appearing for the respondent has opposed the appeal contending that the findings of fact recorded by the court below are based on evidence and by no means, the same can be held to be perverse. Thus, no interference is called for.
68. We have considered the rival submissions made by learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
69. Evidence against the respondent is his own confession recorded under Section 15 TADA and the confessions of co-accused Ahmed Shah Khan Durrani (A-20) and Aziz Ahmed Mohd. Ahmed Shaikh (A-21).
70. The confession of the respondent and other co-accused i.e. A-20 and A-21 has been discarded by the Designated Court for the reason that it had not been recorded strictly in accordance with the provisions of Section 15 TADA and Rule 15 of TADA Rules, 1987. The confessional statement of these accused had been recorded in two parts and there had been some intervening period for re-consideration. While recording the first part of the confession, the officer recording the statement did not inform the accused that he was not bound to make the confession and further that in case he makes it, it would be used against him as evidence.
71. In the first part of the confessional statement of the respondent as his particulars have been described and further stated that he was giving his confession of his own accord. It was further recorded that the accused had been given 48 hours to reconsider.
72. Even in the second part of the confession which was recorded on 4.5.1993 the respondent had not been warned that he was not bound to make the confession. Though he was asked as to whether he was making the statement under any pressure and whether he was willing to make the confession but even then he was not warned that he was not bound to make the statement. The certificate issued by the officer regarding the confessional statement mentions the belief of the recording officer that the statement was signed of his own will.
73. Exactly the same is the position so far as the confessional statements of co-accused Ahmed Shah Khan Durrani (A-20) and Aziz Ahmed Mohd. Ahmed Shaikh (A-21) are concerned.
74. The Designated Court has discarded the confessional statements as the same was not in accordance with the said provisions. We concur with the finding of the Designated Court in view of the law laid down by this court in S.N. Dube (supra), where it was held that the compliance of Section 15 and Rule 15 of TADA, 1987 is mandatory. [Vide: Lal Singh (supra) and Bharatbhai (supra)].
75. As there is no admissible evidence on record connecting the respondent (A-80) to the crime, he has rightly been acquitted by the court below. Thus, no interference is required and the appeal is accordingly dismissed.