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PANCHANAMA

Thewordpanchanamaisnotdefinedanywhereinlaw.The
Judgesaswellaslawyersoftensearchforthiswordinthebooks.The
word panchanama hassignificancevalueasdayinanddayoutitis
usedbyalmostallthecourtsinnumberofcasesinaday.Notonlythe
Criminal Courts but also the Civil Courts rely on document named
panchanamatocheckveracityandtruthfulnessoftheactiontakenby
OfficersofStateorOfficersofCourt.Incriminalcasesitisusedto
supportthesubstantiveevidenceandincivilcasesitisusedtoshow
thatthedecreeofthecivilcourthasbeenexecutedbyhandingover
possessionasdirectedinthedecree.Thewordpanchanamaconsistsof
two words, panch and nama. In Sanskrit the word panch means
respectablepersonand nama awrittendocument.Incriminalcases
thispanchanamahasveryimportantvalue.Thepanchanamaaccounts
statetothingswhichwerefoundatparticularplaceatparticulartime.
Incriminallawthepanchanamahascorroborativevalue.TheCodeof
CriminalLaw,1973alsodoesnotdefine panchanamaanywhere.But
thesameisincorporatedinsection100oftheCode.Thissection100
can be found in chapter VII which titles Process To Compel The
ProductionOfThings.Inthischapterthepowertocarryoutsearchof
particularplacesisgiventoofficersaslaiddownsections93,95,97
and98oftheCode.Theprovisionofpanchanamaismadetoconvince
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courtthatofficerhaveinfacthavecarriedoutsuchsearchormade
suchseizure.

CONTENTSOFPANCHANAMA:
Theprocedureforpreparingpanchanamaisnotstatedinany
Act.Butaguidelinescanbetakenfromsection100subsection4and
subsection5oftheCodeofCriminalProcedure,1973.Itistobealso
noted that the panchas are to be two or more independent and
respectablepersons.Inthecasewherethereisnoeyewitnesstothe
offenceandthecasetotallybaseoncircumstantialevidencethensuch
panchnamacarriesimmensevalue.Thepanchwitnesscanalsorefresh
hismemoriesduringthecourtofgivingevidenceaspersection159of
IndianEvidenceAct,1872.
In Panchanama the following things can be said to be
importanttobeincorporated.
NameandplaceofpoliceStation,
Nameandrankofofficercommencingpanchanama,
Name,ageandaddressofpanchas,
Detailsofparticularplaceorpersons,
Detaillistofarticlesfoundinthatplaceorfromthepersonwhich
areincriminating,
Recordoftimewhenitwascommencedandwhenitended,
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Signaturesofthatofficerandbothofpanchas.
Itisalsoimportantthatafterpreparationofpanchanamathepanchas
should read its contents. If the panch is illiterate then such
panchanama should be read over to him and there should be
endorsementthatthecontentsofpanchanamawerereadovertothem.
Incasewhereattimeofmaking panchanamatherewasnosourceof
lightthenitshouldbementionedastohowthesourceoflightwas
managedtopreparepanchanama.

KINDSOFPANCHANAMAS.
There are many kinds of panchanamas. Following are the
panchanamaswhicharefoundnormallyinabouteverycriminalcases.
Therecanalsobepanchanamaotherthanthefollowinglist.

1. SPOTPANCHANAMA:
ThispanchanamaisgenerallydrawnbyInvestigatingOfficer
whenhevisitstheinformantorthepersonwhohasknowledgeabout
place of crime. When such informant or such person shows the
InvestigatingOfficerplaceofcrimetheninpresenceoftwopanchas
theInvestigatingOfficerdrawsspotpanchanama.Inthispanchanama
therearedetailsofwhatwherethepositionofsceneofcrimeafterthe
crime.Forexampleifthereisallegationoftheftthengenerallyinsuch
panchanama it isfoundthatthearticlesontheplaceofcrimewere
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scatteredandcupboardorsafewasbrokeopen.Soalsoinaccident
casesthetyremarksareoftenmentionedinthis panchanama which
showsthataccusedwasdrivinghisvehicleinspeedorhetriedtoavoid
accident. This panchanama corroborates the fact that incident had
takenplace.

2. MEMORANDUMPANCHANAMA:
Generallyanystatementbeforepolicebyaccusedwhileheis
policecustodycannotbetakenonrecordandhasnomeaningineyes
oflaw.Aspersection25and26oftheIndianEvidenceAct,1872such
statementhasnovalue.Buttheexceptiontothissectionaremadein
section 27 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which states that if in
consequenceoftheinformationreceivedbyaccusedthereisdiscovery
then such fact could be proved in court. The statement made by
accusedinpolicecustodyisrecordedbeforepanchasandpanchanama
is drawn such panchanama is called memorandum panchanama. If
thereisstatementmadeby accusedinpolicecustody admittingthe
guiltandfurthergivinginformationaboutsomesuchthingsofwhich
heonlyhasknowledgeandsuchthingisfoundinthatparticularplace
then such discovery is relevant. For example in murder case the
accusedinpolicecustodycanrevealastowherehehadhiddenthe
weapon of offence and in consequences of such information that
weaponisfoundinthatparticularplace,thensuchfactcanbeproved
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in Court even if the statement is given in police custody. In


memorandumpanchanamaitisalwaysstatedthataccusedadmitsthe
guilt and reveals the information about articles. Though such
incriminating statement is there in memorandum panchanama and
panchwitnessmakessuchstatementofaccusedbeforecourtbutthat
hastobeexcludedfromevidence.

3. SEIZUREPANCHANAMA:
Whenever the Investigating Officer founds any articles
whichhethinkthatarenecessaryforproperinvestigationthensuch
officersseizedthosearticlesfromthatplaceorperson.Whilemaking
such seizure he draws panchanama which is often called seizure
panchanama. In one case there could be more than one seizure
panchanama.Theseizureofarticlecanbefrominformant,accusedor
anythirdpersondependinguponthefactsandcircumstancesofthe
case.

4. INQUESTPANCHNAMA:
Whenanypersondiesduetotheresultofcrimeorunder
suspicious circumstances then the Investigating Officer has to draw
inquest panchanama aspersection174ofCriminalProcedureCode,
1973.Inthis panchanama thedetailsofhowthedeadbodyislying
and descriptionssuchasofanymarkofinjuriesfoundonpersonof
deceased,apparentcauseofdeathorbywhatweaponorinstrument
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suchmarksappeartohavebeeninflictedaretobementioned.This
panchanamahelpstofindoutwhetheratthefirstsightofdeadbodyit
canbegatherthatcauseofdeathisunnatural.

5. ARRESTPANCHNAMA:
Wheneverthepoliceofficercarryoutarrestofanyperson
then such panchanama is drawn. In this panchanama the physical
appearance,identificationmarksandarticlesfoundonarrestedperson
ismentioned.

6. OTHERPANCHNAMAS:
ThepanchanamacanalsobefoundinthecaseofPrevention
ofFoodAdulterationActandcasesunderEssentialCommoditiesAct.
In Prevention Of Food Adulteration Act for safety and to give
authenticity to their actions, the Food Inspectors prepared
panchanama in presence of two panchas of all the action taken by
them.Thishastwoadvantages,firstitcorroboratesthefactthaton
thatparticulardaysuchvisitwasinfactmadebyFoodInspectorin
thatparticularplaceandotheristhatitshowsthatthefoodInspector
hadfollowedproperprocedureasprescribedinthePreventionofFood
AdulterationRules.Onecanalsofoundimportanceofpanchanamain
ForestOffences.InoffencesunderForestActtheconfessionmadeby
accused before Forest Officer is not hit by Section 25 of Indian
EvidenceAct.SuchconfessionstandsinCourtofLaw.ForestOfficer
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recordssuchconfessionbeforetwopanchas.Thisgivesmorereliability
tosuchconfession. Panchnamasarealsodoneoftestidentificationof
accused or for identifying property involved in crime. Specimen
handwritings,specimensignatures,sampleofbloodarealsotakenin
presenceofpanchasbydrawingpanchnamas.Inanticorruptioncases
pretrap panchanama and posttrap panchanama are common. In
accident cases the panchanama about the condition of vehicles
involvedinaccidenthavespecialimportance.

EVIDENTRYVALUEOFPANCHNAMA:
The panchanama ismerelyarecordofwhatapanchsees
andtheonlyuseofwhichitcanproperlybeputisthatwhenthepanch
goes into the witness box and swears as to what he saw, the
panchanma can be used as a contemporary record to refresh his
memory.
Theprimaryintentionbehindthe panchanama istoguard
againstpossibletricksandunfairdealingsonthepartoftheofficers
entrustedwiththeexecutionofthesearchwithorwithoutwarrantand
alsotoensurethatanythingincriminatingwhichmaybesaidtohave
beenfoundinthepremisessearchedwasreallyfoundthereandwas
not introduced or planted by the officers of the search party. The
legislativeintentwastocontrolandtocheckthesemalpracticesofthe
officers, by making the presence of independent and respectable
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personscompulsoryforsearchofaplaceandseizureofarticle.
Thepanchanamacanbeusedascorroborativepieceof
evidence.Itisnotsubstantivepieceofevidence.Inabsenceofany
substantivepieceofevidenceonlyrelyinguponpanchanamason
recordtherecannotbeconviction.

IMPORTANTCASELAWS:
1. In case of Vishnu Krishna Belurkar vrs The State of
Maharashtra, (1974) 76BOMLR627, the question whether the
panchanamasarehitbytheprovisionsofsection162oftheCodeof
CriminalProcedure,1973.ThequestionwasreferredtoHon'bleFull
BenchofHighCourtofBombay.Inpara8,theHon'bleFullBenchhas
observedthat
Inourview,thefactthatpanchanamaiswrittenoutby
thepoliceofficerorthepolicescribeasdictatedtohimbythe panchas
would not make any difference, for, that would merely be a mode in
whichthe panchanamaisrecorded.Ofcourse,ifapanchanamadoes
incorporate a statement which amounts to a statement intended as a
narrationtoapoliceofficerduringhisinvestigation,itwouldfallwithin
Section162andwillhavetobeexcludedbutthatisthedutywhichthe
courtmustperformevery timeapanchanama,istenderedinevidence.

2. In case of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon Vrs State of


Maharashtra,decidedbyHon'bleSupremeCourtof21stMarch2013,
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oneofthegroundchallengingconvictionwasthattherecoverieswhich
were made was not made in proper procedure and seizure
panchanamaswerenotinaccordancewiththeprocedureaslaiddown
in section 27 of Indian Evidence Act,1872. The Hon'ble Supreme
Courtinpara218haveobservedthat,
Panchnamaisadocumenthavinglegalbearingswhich
recordsevidenceandfindingsthatanofficermakesatthesceneofan
offence/crime.However,itisnotonlytherecordingsofthesceneofcrime
butalsoofanywhereelsewhichmayberelatedtothecrime/offenceand
fromwhereincriminatingevidenceislikelytobecollected.Thedocument
sopreparedneedstobesignedbytheinvestigatingofficerwhoprepares
thesameandatleastbytwoindependentandimpartialwitnessescalled
'Panchas'asalsobytheconcernedparty.Thewitnessesarerequiredtobe
notonlyimpartialbutalso'respectable'.'Respectable'herewouldmeana
personwhoisnotdisreputed.Oneshouldalsocheckifthewitnessesare
intheirsensesatthetimeofpanchanamaproceedings.Onlymajorsare
tobetakenaswitnessesasminorswitnessmynotwithstandthelegal
scrutiny.
Furtherinpara224theHon'bleSupremeCourtobservedthat,
on any deviation from the procedure, the entire
panchanamacannotbediscardedandtheproceedingsarenotvitiated.If
anydeviationfromtheprocedureoccursduetoapracticalimpossibility
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thenthatshouldberecordedbytheI.O.Inhisfilesoastoenablehimto
answerduringthetimeofhisexaminationasawitnessinthecourtof
law. Where there is no availability of panch witnesses, the I.O. Will
conductasearchandseizethe articles without panchas and draw a
reportoftheentiresuchproceedingswhichiscalleda'SpecialReport'.
Fromtheabovetwoauthoritiesitcanbeseenthatthe
Hon'bleHighCourtofBombayandtheHon'bleSupremeCourthad
giveninformofobservationsguidelinesastohowthepanchanamas
shouldbeandwhoshouldactaspanchas.
Submittedwithrespects

(MaheshS.Lone)
ChiefJudicialMagistrate,Bhandara