The Executive Magistrate is not authorized to record confessions for offenses under the Essential Commodities Act: Orissa High Court.

The Orissa high court has held that an Executive Magistrate is not empowered to record confession for offenses committed under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and also held that in absence of any specific procedure governing recording of confession and trial under the Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure shall apply, in the case of Ananda Ch. Sahu v. State of Odisha (CRA No. 7 of 1995), passed by the Single Judge Bench of Justice Sashikanta Mishra.

Facts of the Case:

On 24.03.1984, during an examination at M/s. Minati Stores, it was discovered that, despite the fact that there was no record of any stock of groundnut in shell, a total stock of Qt. 40.95 KGs of groundnuts in shell was discovered on physical verification at two separate locations. Furthermore, the firm was discovered to have sold and purchased groundnuts in excess of the legal limit while operating without a license. Furthermore, neither the shop nor the godown had a stock and price declaration board. It was therefore stated that the foregoing is a violation of Clause-3 of the Orissa Declaration of Stocks and Prices of Essential Commodities Order, 1973. The court below relied on an accused’s confessional statement; the complainant’s evidence; and the Executive Magistrate, who recorded one of the accused’s confession, to find the accused guilty of the claimed offence. The appellants then filed an appeal with the High Court, challenging the conviction judgment on two grounds: (i) the trial Court could not have relied on the accused’s confessional statement because it is inadmissible in the eyes of law, and (ii) the evidence on record does not link the accused persons to the occurrence.


Before ruling on the accused people’ complicity in the alleged activities, the court noted that the Essential Commodities Act does not specify a procedure to be followed for prosecution of offenses under the Act. As a result, it was clarified that, according to Section 4(2) of the CrPC, the procedure specified by the CrPC will regulate the investigation, inquiry, trial, and so on for violations under that Act. Given the terms used in Section 164(1) of the CrPC, the court decided that the provisions relating to confession recording under the CrPC shall also be applied to the offences under the said Act, as there is no specific mechanism provided forth in the Act in that regard. Only a Judicial Magistrate or a Metropolitan Magistrate is authorized to record a confession under Section 164(1) of the CrPC. As a result, an Executive Magistrate has no authority under the Code to record a confession. The court said the statement made by the accused to the Executive Magistrate can, at best, be treated as an extra-judicial confession.

“Click here to view your judgment”

“Prime Legal is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal falls into the category of the best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *