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Amendments Needed In Code Of Criminal Procedure To Prevent Recording Of Evidence Multiple Times: State Of Karnataka Vs Shivanna

Abhijeet Malik ,
  14 December 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
The Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
(2014) 6 SCC (Cri) 423

25th March 2014

Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra
Justice V. Gopala Gowda

Petitioner: State of Karnataka by Nonavinakere Police
Respondent: Shivanna @ Tarkari Shivanna


The following judgement deals with section 164 of the code of criminal procedure which deals with ‘Recording of confessions and statements’. In this judgement the Apex Courtdealt with the procedure of admission of statement of a rape victim and other witnesses subsequently widening the scope of the section 164 to ensure speedy justice.


  1. The special leave petition originated from a criminal appeal filed in the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore which sought to review of the decision of the Trial Court that convicted the respondent.
  2. The material facts of the case are such that, the convict was a resident of Mandya in Karnataka and was looking for work in Albur village where the victim- a 6-year-old girl at that time- had residence. The convict was denied employment by the victim's grandfather due to non-availability of the same.
  3. On 17th March 2003 at about 6 p.m. the victim was playing with her sister when the convict came and took the victim stating that he would give her biscuits. Accused then raped the victim and left her near the house of her grandfather. The victim was then taken to Govt. hospital at Nonavinakere and later on she was taken to Govt. Hospital at Tiptur.
  4. The convict was apprehended the next day and the Trial Court convicted the accused for the offence punishable under Section 376(2)(f) of IPC by imposing sentence of life imprisonment. Consequently, the accused appealed in the High court of Karnataka.
  5. On thorough consideration of the evidence the high court found the order of conviction to be sound and proper, but reduced the sentence of the convict from life imprisonment to 10 years and also levied a fine of Rs. 50,000.
  6. A special leave petition was filed in The Honourable Supreme Court by the State of Karnataka where the court proposed to consider the matter on merit after service of notice to the Accused-Respondent. The court ‘felt acutely concerned as to why the Union of India should not take initiative and steps to evolve a procedure for fast track justice to be adopted by the Investigating Agencies and the Fast Track Courts by proposing amendments into the Code of Criminal Procedure for speedy justice to the victim.’


Constitution of India:

  • Article 142- Enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc.

Indian Penal Code:

  • Section 164- Recording of confessions and statements.
  • Section 164 (a)- Medical examination of the victim of rape.
  • Section 173- Report of police officer on completion of investigation.
  • Section 376(2)(f)- Commits rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age.


  • Whether the procedure of admission of statements and confessions appropriate under Section 164 of the Indian Penal Code?


The Apex Court while delivering the judgement emphasised on importance of speedy trial in criminal cases especially cases of rape. The court was particularly appalled by the wastage of time in proceedings due to multiple confessions of the victim and the witnesses taken by the investigating officers at different stages of the trial.

1. The apex court noted how there is a ‘pressing need to introduce drastic amendments into the Code of Criminal Procedure in the nature of fast track procedure for Fast Track Courts’. The purpose of fast track courts is to ensure speedy justice but the court emphasised that ‘Fast Track Courts no doubt are being constituted for expeditious disposal of cases involving the charge of rape at the trial stage, but we are perturbed and anguished to notice that although there are Fast Tract Courts for disposal of such cases, we do not yet have a fast track procedure for dealing with cases of rape and gang rape lodged Under Section 376 Indian Penal Code with the result that such heinous offences are repeated incessantly.’ The court categorically made clear its discontent with the procedural laws dealing with Rape cases.

2. The court went on to explain how a simple application of mind to amend the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 could drastically reduce the time span of a trial. The court emphasised that ‘the recording of evidence of the victim and other witnesses multiple times ought to be put to an end which is the primary reason for delay of the trial’

3. The apex court invited suggestions from legal fraternity where the court emphasised- ‘considering the consistent recurrence of the heinous crime of rape and gang rape all over the country including the metropolitan cities, we are of the view that it is high time such measures of reform in the Code of Criminal Procedure be introduced after deliberation and debate by the legal fraternity as also all concerned.’

4. The Apex Court then exercising powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India issued interim directions in the form of mandamus to all police stations across the country which are as follows:

“i) Upon receipt of information relating to the commission of offence of rape, the Investigating Officer shall make immediate steps to take the victim to any Metropolitan/preferably Judicial Magistrate for the purpose of recording her statement Under Section 164 Code of Criminal Procedure A copy of the statement Under Section 164 Code of Criminal Procedure should be handed over to the Investigating Officer immediately with a specific direction that the contents of such statement Under Section 164 Code of Criminal Procedure should not be disclosed to any person till charge sheet/report Under Section 173 Code of Criminal Procedure is filed.

(ii) The Investigating Officer shall as far as possible take the victim to the nearest Lady Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate.

(iii) The Investigating Officer shall record specifically the date and the time at which he learnt about the commission of the offence of rape and the date and time at which he took the victim to the Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate as aforesaid.

(iv) If there is any delay exceeding 24 hours in taking the victim to the Magistrate, the Investigating Officer should record the reasons for the same in the case diary and hand over a copy of the same to the Magistrate.

(v) Medical Examination of the victim: Section 164A Code of Criminal Procedure inserted by Act 25 of 2005 in Code of Criminal Procedure imposes an obligation on the part of Investigating Officer to get the victim of the rape immediately medically examined. A copy of the report of such medical examination should be immediately handed over to the Magistrate who records the statement of the victim Under Section 164 Code of Criminal Procedure.”

5. The Apex Court also directed that ‘a copy of this order thus be circulated to all the Director Generals of Police of all the States/Commissioner of Police in Metropolitan cities/Commissioner of Police of Union Territories who are then directed to send a copy of this order to all the police stations in charge in their States/Union Territories for its compliance in cases which are registered on or after the receipt of a copy of these directions. Necessary instructions by the DGPs/Commissioners of Police be also issued to all the police station in charge by the DGPs/Commissioner of Police incorporating the directions issued by us and recorded herein before.’ This was done to ensure speedy enforcement of the order due to absence of necessary amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure so that appropriate steps can be taken in the meantime for fast track justice.


There are 4.5 crore pending cases across all courts in India, where nearly 9 out of 10 pending cases stuck in subordinate courts. Of this humongous number, there are over 240,000 pending cases in courts related to rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act across the country till December last year. This pastes a grim image of the state of judicial justice in the country. The judgements like State of Karnataka v. Shivanna from time to time reiterates the need of substantial amendments to different statutes and codes to clear this backlog. Judiciary is one of the key foundation stone of any state and can’t be jeopardized at any cost. There is need to reflect by the government to constitute an appropriate plan of action so that the faith of a common man in the Judiciary can once again be restored.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

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