Extra-judicial confession is valid: Supreme Court

Extra-judicial confession is sufficient to convict an accused if it is made to a person whose testimony is found to be reliable, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Updated: Apr 12, 2011, 20:33 PM IST

New Delhi: Extra-judicial confession is
sufficient to convict an accused if it is made to a person
whose testimony is found to be reliable, the Supreme Court has
ruled.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan passed
the judgement, upholding the life sentence of Jasvinder Singh
and Kulvinder Singh for the murder of Amardeep, son of Ishwar
Singh on October 9, 1997 in Haryana.

Amardeep was inflicted with 22 stab injuries as he was
allegedly teasing the wife and sister of Jasvinder Singh.

Though there were no eye-witnesses to the killing, the
sessions court awarded life imprisonment relying on
circumstantial evidence and testimony of Phool Singh, a
prosecution witness and ex-sarpanch of the village to whom the
duo confessed and sought help in surrendering to the police.

The high court refused to interfere with the session
court`s sentence, following which they appealed in the apex
court.

The convicts took the defence that the testimony of Phool
Singh cannot be relied upon and no motive was established by
the prosecution.

Rejecting the argument, the apex court said Phool Singh
faced the gruelling cross-examination but the defence could
not elucidate anything to discredit him and the courts below
have found that his deposition remained a trustworthy piece of
evidence.

"After going through the evidence of Phool Singh, we
reach the inescapable conclusion that Phool Singh is an
independent witness and by no means could be held to be biased
or inimical to the accused. There is nothing on record to
indicate that he had any motive to falsely implicate the
accused or that there was any motive for attributing an
untruthful statement to the accused.

"He had made a crystal clear statement conveying that the
accused had disclosed to him that they had committed the
murder of Amardeep".

"Thus, we do not find any reason not to accept his
deposition in respect of the extra-judicial confession made by
the appellants as his deposition stands the test of
credibility," Justice Chauhan writing the judgement said.

The bench also disagreed with the convict`s plea that
no actual motive was established by the prosecution.

"Motive is a thing which is primarily known to the
accused alone and it is not possible for the prosecution to
explain what actually prompted or excited them to commit the
particular crime and thus, motive may be considered as a
circumstance which is relevant for assessing the evidence and
becomes an issue of importance in a case of circumstantial
evidence," the bench said, citing a number of its earlier
rulings.

The apex court said it was a settled legal proposition
that conviction of a person in an offence is generally based
solely on evidence that is either oral or documentary but in
exceptional circumstances conviction may also be based solely
on circumstantial evidence.

"The same should be of a conclusive nature and exclude
all possible hypothesis except the one to be proved.

"Facts so established must be consistent with the
hypothesis of the guilt of the accused and the chain of
evidence must be so complete as not to leave any reasonable
ground for a conclusion consistent with the innocence of the
accused and must show that in all human probability the act
must have been done by the accused," the bench said.

PTI