Sections 164 and 161 Crpc

Section 164  Crpc

Section 164 CrPc deals with the recording of statements and confessions of witnesses or accused persons by a Judicial Magistrate. This section is important in criminal proceedings as it lays down the procedure for recording statements and confessions before a Magistrate.Section 164  and section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973 are important in evidence.

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The section provides that any Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate may, whether or not he has jurisdiction in the case, record any statement or confession made to him in the course of an investigation or inquiry under the CrPC or under any other law for the time being in force, relating to any offence.

The Magistrate must ensure that the statement or confession is made voluntarily and without any threat or inducement. He must also explain to the person making the statement or confession that he is not bound to make it and that it may be used as evidence against him.

The statement or confession must be recorded in the language in which it was made, and the Magistrate must sign the record and also the person making the statement or confession may sign it if he wishes to do so.

The recorded statement or confession can be used as evidence in any inquiry or trial in any case, subject to the rules of evidence. However, if the person making the statement or confession retracts it later, the court must consider the reasons for the retraction and other relevant circumstances before deciding whether to rely on it as evidence or not.

In summary, Section 164 CrPC provides for the recording of statements and confessions of witnesses or accused persons before a Magistrate in a manner that ensures their voluntary and truthful nature, and such recordings can be used as evidence in criminal proceedings.

statement  under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“Cr.P.C”) cannot be used as a substantive piece of evidence and can only be used for the purpose of either contradicting or corroborating the witness. Somasundra @ Somu vs. State (2020) 7 SCC 722 .

On the other hand Section 161 Crpc  deals with the power of the police to examine witnesses during an investigation. The section states that:

Any police officer making an investigation under this chapter, or any police officer not below such rank as the State Government may, by general or special order, prescribe in this behalf, acting on the requisition of such officer, may examine orally any person supposed to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.

Such person shall be bound to answer truly all questions relating to such case put to him by such officer, other than questions the answers to which would have a tendency to expose him to a criminal charge or to a penalty or forfeiture.

The police officer may reduce into writing any statement made to him in the course of an examination under this section, and if he does so, he shall make a separate and true record of the statement of each such person whose statement he records.

In simple terms, this section empowers the police to examine witnesses during an investigation and require them to answer questions truthfully. However, the witnesses are protected from answering any questions that may incriminate them. Additionally, any statements made by the witnesses during the examination can be reduced to writing and used as evidence in court.

In criminal trials these two sections are very important as contradictions in statements given by witnesses under section 164 and 161 are put to test during trial and forms the most important basis of cross examination .

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