[Paras Marya, a student at the National Law University, Jodhpur, writes about the exclusion of evidence that has been obtained illegally.]
This paper deals with the position of law regarding the exclusion of evidence that has been obtained illegally or improperly in a criminal trial. The right to privacy having been declared a fundamental right by the Supreme Court comes in direct conflict with the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence in India. In fact, Indian courts have consistently admitted illegally obtained evidence in criminal trials, unlike other jurisdictions where such evidence is excluded. The approach of Indian courts so far has been, that in the absence of a specific statutory or constitutional provision which provides for such exclusion, the fact that the evidence was obtained illegally is of no consequence to its admissibility in a criminal trial. This paper proposes to relook at the recommendations of the 94th Law Commission Report, 1983, in light of the Right to Privacy being recognised as a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution. In order to do so, this paper will first analyse the current position of law as propounded by the judiciary, and delve into the rationale for such pronouncements. Then the author shall examine the analysis of the Report of 1983, and also determine whether or not the recommendations given at that time can be the solution required today. To conclude, the paper shall analyse the judgment in Justice K. S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India and the impact of the right to privacy on this aspect of evidence law.