New Delhi, Apr 13 : Extra-judicial confession is sufficent 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 B S 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 sesssion 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