Statement - Retraction - How to deal with

... statement recorded by the Customs Officers is clearly retracted by the accused but even if it is retracted statement it could be relied upon if it was corroborated generally by other evidence. . . .The past experience of the accused in respect of the Customs department which finds place in the statement could be known only to her and nobody else and the said statement definitely indicates about the truthfullness of the same. Now, as far as the position of law is concerned, the statement under Section 108, even if it is retracted definitely can be considered by the Court if it is found to be voluntary and truthful. At the most, it would require some corroboration. The said statement recorded by the Customs officers definitely could be taken into consideration and there is nothing in the said statement on the basis of which one could conclude that it is not voluntary and is untruthful.

1991 (51) E.L.T. 3 (Bom.) In the High Court of Judicature at Bombay I.G. Shah, J. S.G. Rajadhyakshya Versus Leela Daulatram Uttamchandani Criminal Appeal No. 852 of 1982 decided on 5/6-4-1990

  • The moment retraction is received, the date and time of receipt to be noted thereon and the details noted down in the prescribed register assigning IC No.
  • Without loss of time to be put up in file to the authority to whom it is addressed suggesting recording of a statement by another officer to be named.
  • A summons to be sent to the address from where the retraction is received to appear before the another officer named by the officer to whom the retraction is addressed to providing the least required number of days alone. The summons need to have a concluding paragraph as "if you fail to turn up to give the further evidence, it would be construed that your retraction is an afterthought which is a plot to escape the clutches of law."
  • Simultaneously sending a letter to the deponent the broad reasons by which the retraction does not convey the truth and hence could not be accepted as evidence.