The Supreme Court acquitted a man accused of murdering his roommate observing that the prosecution evidence of the alleged extra-judicial confession could not be believed.

The Court explained that the normal rule of human conduct was that a person would confess to the commission of a serious crime to a person they had implicit faith in.

A Bench of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan observed, “The normal rule of human conduct is that a person would confess the commission of a serious crime to a person in whom he has implicit faith. The appellant had worked in PW­19’s shop only for five months in 2004. The appellant was otherwise not known to PW­19. Therefore, it is unnatural that the appellant would call the deceased on the phone and confess.

Advocate Mohd Ainul Ansari represented the appellant, while AOR Swati Ghildiyal appeared for the respondent.

The appellant and the deceased were room partners in a rented shared space. The case of the prosecution was that there was a dispute between them about playing music. The dispute allegedly led to an altercation in which the appellant attacked the deceased—causing injuries that led to his death. The prosecution's case relied on eyewitness testimonies, an extra-judicial confession, and a dying declaration.

Despite several witnesses being declared hostile, certain parts of their testimonies were relied on by the trial court and High Court to convict the appellant under Section 302 of the IPC.

The Court noted that the appellant's employer had allegedly testified in the Court that the appellant confessed to the murder via a phone call and in person at a bus station in the presence of a police officer. However, the credibility of this testimony was challenged due to the lack of investigation into the phone records and the non-examination of the police officer, who allegedly witnessed the second confession.

The Court noted that the police officer who took the appellant was a crucial witness and yet had been “withheld from the Court.” the Court stated, “A vital prosecution witness has been withheld from the Court. Nothing is placed on record to show that PSI Mishra made any official record to show that he had taken the appellant into custody.

It was necessary for the prosecution to collect evidence of these aspects and place it before the Court. Though PW­19 stated that the appellant again made extrajudicial confession at the Central Bus Station in the presence of PSI Mishra, the prosecution has not examined PSI Mishra as a witness. According to the testimony of PW­25, statement of PSI Mishra was not recorded during the investigation,” the Court remarked.

Consequently, the Bench set aside the conviction and sentence of the appellant.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal.

Cause Title: Lal Mohammad Manjur Ansari v. The State Of Gujrat (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 475)


Appellant: AOR Rajat Bhardwaj; Advocates Mohd Ainul Ansari, Manoj Kumar Goyal, Priyanka Goral, Rishab Goyal, Yogesh Kumar Dahiya, Sunil Khatwani, Ankita M Bhardwaj and Naveen Dahiya

Respondent: AOR Swati Ghildiyal; Advocate Devyani Bhatt

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