In a recent ruling, the highest court of the country has said, that extra judicial confession can form the basis of conviction, provided the court is satisfied that person who is witness to the confession is neutral.
The bench comprising of two judges Arijit Pasayat and D.K. Jain asserted that the confession has to satisfy the court that it was not under any kind of coercion or influence. Moreover, the court has to be assured that the witness is not inimical to the accused. The apex court ruled out any chance of doubts. It said that the court would have to proceed cautiously and find whether the confession is true to the will of the person, or has been influenced. The court must find the witness sincere if it has to go with the confession because if witness were itself hostile, that would mean justice denied.
The Bench remarked that although it is not always that the Court should not accept such evidence in actual words, as claimed to have been spoken, are not reproduced and the substance is given. Even the undue circumstances have to be minutely followed. Moreover, if there is substantial evidence into the crime and the statement produced by the witness goes with the proofs, than the court needs to act upon that evidence. The court comprehended that the human mind not being a tape recorder to repost exact words, is susceptible to miss out on words. The witness should be able to say as nearly as possible actual words spoken by the accused. That will rule out the possibility of erroneous interpretation of any ambiguous statement.
The highest court’s ruling came in the case of an appeal from Ajay Singh against a verdict of the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, that had confirmed his life sentence, ordered by the trial court, for murdering his wife Latabai on April 29, 2003 depending on extra judicial confession made by the accused to a couple. The Supreme Court stated that in this case, evidence given by the couple could not be relied upon as they had previous animosity towards the accused.