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Trial court told to decide on POTA confessions

Gandhinagar, June 17 (Calcutta Tube) The Gujarat High Court Thursday left it to the trial court to decide whether the confessional statements of an accused recorded under the defunct Prevention Of Terrorism Act (POTA) is admissible as evidence or not.

Justice Anant Dave, while hearing a petition of an accused in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case, said that the trial judge, while passing the order, should decide whether or not the confessional statements of the accused are admissible as evidence with reasoning.

The petitioner, through his advocate A.D. Shah, had filed a plea before the court and sought its direction in this regard. He submitted that the confessional statements recorded under section 32 of POTA were not admissible as evidence as POTA has been revoked. He further stated that the Evidence Act does not allow mere statements as evidence.

Public prosecutor J.M. Panchal submitted before the court that without the accused’s confessional statements and other supportive evidence in the case, the trial could not have been initiated hence the confessional statements did have evidentiary value.

Dave however directed the trial judge to conduct the trial and left it open for him to decide after considering the case as to whether or not the confessional statements should be admissible as evidence.

The counsel for the petitioner sought time to prefer an appeal in the Supreme Court, however the court rejected the plea.

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