Alleged Confession Was Made After 2 Months From Incident Which Makes It More Suspicious: SC Acquits Man Convicted Of Murdering His Wife
The Supreme Court allowed the Criminal Appeal of a man convicted of murdering his wife observing that the alleged confession made by him more than two months after the incident makes it more suspicious.
Additionally, the Court noted that normally an accused will confide only with a person in whom he has implicit faith and that he would not go to a stranger to make a confession of guilt. In light of these factors, the Court held that there was insufficient evidence to support the Appellant's conviction.
The Bench comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Sanjay Karol observed, “Normally an accused will confide only with a person in whom he has implicit faith. He would not go to a stranger to make a confession of guilt. The fact that the alleged confession was made by him more than two months after the incident makes it more suspicious”.
“Extrajudicial confession is always a weak piece of evidence and in this case, for the reasons which we have recorded earlier, there is serious doubt about the genuineness of the prosecution case regarding the extrajudicial confession. Therefore, the prosecution case about the extra-judicial confession does not deserve acceptance”, the Bench noted.
Advocate E.R. Sumathy appeared for the Appellant and Advocate Joseph Aristotle S appeared for the Respondent/State.
The case involved the murder of a woman named Shanthi, who was the appellant's wife. The prosecution alleged that the Appellant suspected that Shanthi was having an affair with another man named Peethambaram. On May 29, 2006, the Appellant took Shanthi to the bank of the Ponnai River and assaulted her with a stick. Shanthi died from her injuries, and the Appellant buried her body in the same place.
The prosecution relied upon the extrajudicial confession made by the appellant before two persons. The Appellant was convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Appellant approached the High Court via an appeal but the same was dismissed. Therefore, the Appellant was before the Apex Court challenging the judgment of the High Court.
The Court referred to the case Pawan Kumar Chourasia v. State of Bihar [2023 SCC OnLine SC 259] and observed that the Appellant's extra-judicial admission to PW1 was enveloped in circumstances that gave rise to suspicions. The confession occurred two months after the incident and was directed towards an individual without prior connection to the Appellant.
Furthermore, the Court said that there was a delay in informing the police about the extra-judicial confession and that the deceased's body was found in an accessible location.
The Court also said that as far as the alleged recovery of the dead body at the instance of the appellant is concerned, the dead body was recovered from a place which was accessible to all.
"A day prior to the alleged discovery at the instance of the appellant, PW nos.1 and 2 had gone to the place where the dead body was found. It is not the case of the prosecution that the place where the dead body was buried was accessible and known only to the appellant. This also raises serious doubt about the theory of the prosecution about the discovery of the body at the instance of the appellant”, the Bench held.
The Bench observed, “There is serious doubt about the genuineness of the prosecution case regarding the recovery of a dead body at the instance of the appellant and the recovery of the alleged instrument of the offence at the instance of the appellant. Most importantly, for the reasons we have recorded earlier, it is not possible to accept the case of the prosecution which is entirely based on the extrajudicial confession made by the appellant. Thus, there was no legal evidence on record to convict the appellant. In any case, the guilt of the appellant has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the High Court.
Cause Title: Moorthy v State of Tamil Nadu (2023 INSC 739)