2023 0 Supreme(SC) 210
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Abhay S. Oka, Rajesh Bindal, JJ.
Pawan Kumar Chourasia - Appellant
State of Bihar - Respondent
Criminal Appeal No. 2230 of 2010
Decided On : 14-03-2023
Extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence – Conviction can be sustained on the basis of extra-judicial confession provided that confession is proved to be voluntary and truthful.
(A) Indian Evidence Act, 1872 – Section 24 – Extra-judicial confession – Evidentiary value – Generally, it is a weak piece of evidence – However, conviction can be sustained on the basis of extra-judicial confession provided that confession is proved to be voluntary and truthful – It should be free of any inducement – Evidentiary value of such confession also depends on person to whom it is made – Going by natural course of human conduct, normally, a person would confide about a crime committed by him only with such a person in whom he has implicit faith – Normally, a person would not make a confession to someone who is totally a stranger to him – Court has to be satisfied with reliability of confession keeping in view circumstances in which it is made – As a matter of rule, corroboration is not required – However, if an extra-judicial confession is corroborated by other evidence on record, it acquires more credibility. (Para 5)
(B) Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Sections 302/34 and 201 – Murder and disappearance of evidence – Common intention – Life sentence – Conviction of appellant is based on extra-judicial confession – None of three witnesses who supported prosecution, have stated that appellant was either their relative or a close acquaintance – There is no explanation offered by prosecution for not examining person who was also present when alleged confession was made – This omission becomes more significant as dead bodies were allegedly found in his land – Prosecution’s case about extra-judicial confession does not inspire confidence at all – There are no other circumstances brought on record which could support or corroborate prosecution case – Evidence in form of extra-judicial confession of appellant deserves to be discarded – There is no other evidence against appellant – Appellants acquitted. (Paras 3, 6 and 7)
Facts of the case:
Appellant who is accused no.1 was prosecuted along with four others for the offences punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 as well as Section 201 of Indian Penal Code. Appellant has been convicted for both offences. For offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 of IPC, he has been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment. High Court confirmed conviction of appellant, whereas the remaining four accused were acquitted.
Findings of Court:
Conviction of the appellant cannot be sustained at all. Accordingly, impugned judgments are set aside and the appellant is acquitted of offences alleged against him. Bail bonds of appellant stand cancelled.
Result : Appeal allowed.
Act Referred :EVIDENCE ACT : S.24INDIAN PENAL CODE : S.34, S.201, S.302
Advocates appeared :For the Appellant(s) : Mr. Gaurav Agrawal, AOR Mr. Saurav Sunil,Adv. For the Respondent(s) : Mr. Abhinav Mukerji, AOR Mr. Akshay C Shrivastava, Adv. Mrs. Bihu Sharma, Adv. Ms. Pratishtha Vij, Adv.
Abhay S. Oka, J.
1. The appellant who is accused no.1 was prosecuted along with four others for the offences punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 as well as Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code (for short, ‘IPC’). The appellant has been convicted for both offences. For the offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 of IPC, he has been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment. The High Court confirmed the conviction of the appellant, whereas the remaining four accused were acquitted.
2. First informant is one Lakhi Prasad Chourasia (PW-5). First Information Report (FIR) was registered on 20th June 1989. The statement of the first informant on the basis of which the FIR was registered notes that it has been recorded in the presence of Radhey Prasad Mandal (PW-1); Kisan Lal Mandal (PW-4); Satya Narain Mandal (PW6); and Mohammad Tamijuddin (PW-7). It is alleged that on 10th June 1989, PW-5 had lodged a missing report. The missing report was in respect of his son Kamlesh and nephew Bulla, son of one Hira Chaurasia (PW-9). They were missing from 02nd June 1989. PW-5 stated that at about 02:00 p.m. on 20th June 1989, he received a secret information that both the boys had been murdered by the present appellant in association with others. Therefore, he along with the persons mentioned above went to the house of the appellant and made inquiries. Though initially, the appellant denied, after some persuasion, he admitted in presence of the aforesaid persons that he and four others (co-accused) had killed both the boys by strangulating them and had concealed their bodies in the field of one Bhagirath at Nakki Bari. PW-5 along with the appellant and others went to the said field. The appellant removed the soil and both dead bodies were found. Thereafter, he came to the police station and lodged a complaint.
3. The prosecution examined 10 witnesses. PW-1 Radhey Prasad Mandal; PW2 Jagdish Prasad Chourasia; PW-3 Shobha Lal Mandal; PW-4 Kisan Lal Mandal; PW-5 the complainant himself; and PW6 Satya Narain Mandal were declared hostile. According to the prosecution case, the appellant had made a confession in presence of these witnesses. PW-7 Md. Tamijuddin; PW8 Suchai Mandal and PW-9 Hira Lal Chourasia supported the prosecution case and deposed about the extra-judicial confession made by the appellant to them. PW-10 is a doctor who performed the autopsy. The Investigation Officer was not examined. The conviction of the appellant is based on the extra-judicial confession. Both the Courts have believed the prosecution case regarding the alleged extra-judicial con
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