Unusual That Accused Would Make Confession Before Brother Of The Deceased: Supreme Court Acquits Man Imprisoned For 11 Years For Murder
The Supreme Court acquitted a man convicted of murder based on extrajudicial confessions allegedly given to the Deceased’s brother.
The Court overturned the conviction while setting aside the judgment of the High Court, which affirmed the conviction judgment of the Trial Court. The Court emphasized that giving an extra-judicial confession to the brother of the deceased is unusual and raises doubt on its credibility.
The Bench comprising Justice Abhay S.Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal observed, “When prosecution relies upon the evidence of extra judicial confession, normally, the Court will expect that the evidence of the persons before whom extra judicial confession is allegedly made, must be of sterling quality. In this case, it is very difficult to believe that the appellant-accused would make confession before the real brother and a close acquaintance of the deceased”.
Advocate Harinder Mohan Singh appeared for the Accused/Appellant and Advocate Swati Ghildiyal appeared for the State.
The Appellant was convicted of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Per the prosecution’s case, the Appellant assaulted the deceased with a bamboo stick and confessed to the crime before witnesses. The Prosecution contended that the Appellant and Bhemabhai consumed liquor and a quarrel started. The Sarpanch complained. In the said proceedings, the deceased took the side of the Appellant. The prosecution relied on the Appellant’s extrajudicial confession, the recovery of an axe at his instance, and the presence of blood stains on his clothes. The Appellant was convicted of murder by the Trial Court, which was also affirmed by the High Court. Aggrieved, he approached the Apex Court challenging the judgments.
The Court noted that the Appellant was convicted of murder based on extrajudicial confessions and the recovery of an axe at his instance. However, the Court observed that the prosecution had failed to establish the appellant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Furthermore, the Court observed that the Appellant's extrajudicial confessions were made to the real brother and a close acquaintance of the deceased, which is unusual and casts doubt on their credibility.
Additionally, the Court noted discrepancies in the prosecution's case. Per the prosecution, the Appellant assaulted the deceased with a bamboo stick, but the axe was recovered at his instance. The Bench also noted that the Appellant's clothes were also found to have blood stains of group A, but the deceased's blood was group O. The Court observed that the prosecution failed to explain these contradictions. The Court added that the Appellant had already undergone incarceration for more than 11 years.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the judgment and acquitted the Appellant.
Cause Title: Prabhatbhai Aatebhai Dabhi v State Of Gujarat (2023 INSC 1003)