SC: Strong evidence needed for extra-judicial confession corroboration

The bench comprising of Justice BR Gavai and Vikram Nath has stated that it is crucial to prove that an extra-judicial confession was made willingly and truthfully.

SC: Strong evidence needed for extra-judicial confession corroboration
Indrajit Das, who has been accused of murder, had filed a plea in the top court challenging the verdict of the Tripura High Court I File Photo

The Supreme Court, in a 2007 murder case, has acquitted a man and stated that an extra-judicial confession is an unreliable form of evidence that must be supported by robust evidence to substantiate it.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath said it must be established that extra-judicial confession was completely voluntary and truthful.

“Extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence and especially when it has been retracted during trial. It requires strong evidence to corroborate it and also it must be established that it was completely voluntary and truthful. In view of the discussion made above, we do not find any corroborating evidence to support the extra judicial confession, rather the evidence led by prosecution is inconsistent with the same,” the bench said.

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The top court was hearing a plea filed by murder accused Indrajit Das challenging the order of the Tripura High Court.

The high court had dismissed the appeal filed by Das, while confirming the conviction recorded by the trial court under Section 302/34 (murder and common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence) of IPC whereby he was awarded imprisonment for life and allied sentences to run concurrently.

Advocate Madhumita Bhattacharjee appeared for the accused.

According to the police, Das along with a juvenile confessed before them that they had gone to Fatikroy and Kanchanbari area in North Tripura district on the bike of the deceased Kaushik Sarkar.

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While Sarkar was sitting on the motorcycle, both the accused assaulted him with a big knife and threw his helmet, purse and two knives in the nearby jungle and dragged the body and the motorcycle to a nearby river and threw them into it, according to the police.

The top court said in case of circumstantial evidence, motive has an important role to play.

“Motive may also have a role to play even in a case of direct evidence but it carries much greater importance in a case of circumstantial evidence than a case of direct evidence. It is an important link in the chain of circumstances,” it said.

The apex court said the entire case of the prosecution proceeds on presumption that Sarkar has died.

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“The principle of corpus delicti (body of the crime) has judgments on both sides stating that conviction can be recorded in the absence of the recovery of the corpus and the other view that no conviction could be recorded in the absence of recovery of the corpus.

“The later view is for the reason that if subsequently the corpus appears as alive, someone may have been convicted and sentenced and suffered incarceration for no crime committed by him,” it said.

(With agency inputs)