Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: Dr G. Jayachandran, J., dismissed a criminal appeal filed by the accused who was convicted by the trial court for the offence of ‘abetment of suicide’ punishable under Section 306 IPC.

As per the prosecution, the accused, a married man was very close to the deceased who committed suicide. He lived opposite to the house of the deceased and had close intimacy with her. He made sexual relations with the deceased and impregnated her. On coming to know about the pregnancy, the deceased went to the accused and asked her to marry him. After this, as per the mother of the deceased (a prosecution witness), the accused refused to marry her while blaming her character for the pregnancy and also scolded her to die. Subsequently, the deceased consumed Vasmol 33 hair oil which resulted in her death.

The appellant contended that the conviction against him was not proper as there was no evidence against him to prove abetment and attract ingredients of Section 306. It was also contended that there was no independent witness to prove the alleged intimacy between him and the deceased. It was also submitted that two of the independent witnesses turned hostile.

On perusal of the record and totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court was of the view that the judgment of conviction passed by the trial court could not be interfered with. As per the Court, in the case at hand, the sequence of events placed by the prosecution were cogent and corroborate to each other. In such a case, the Court held, the hostility of two of the prosecution witnesses (PWs 8 and 9) in no way dent the prosecution case, nor the close relationship between other prosecution witnesses throw any doubt upon its case. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed. [Dravidamani v. State (UT of Puducherry), 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 557, decided on 21-02-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee, JJ. while deciding an appeal against the conviction of appellant under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 reiterated the law regarding the evidentiary value of extra-judicial confessions.

The appellant was convicted for misappropriation of money entrusted to him as a public servant. He worked in United Commercial Bank and was accused of making fake account entries and thereby causing wrongful loss to the Bank. When the fraud came to light, a committee of two officers was deputed to hold preliminary enquiry which recommended investigation in the matter. Subsequently, an FIR was registered, trial held and the appellant was convicted under Sections 13(1)(c) and 13(2) of the PC Act along with Section 477-A IPC. The conviction of the appellant was based on the extra-judicial confession submitted by the appellant to the committee of two officers mentioned above. The judgment of the trial court was confirmed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

The Supreme Court, on perusing the record, was of the view that conviction of the appellant did not require any interference. Referring to Madan Gopal Kakkad v. Naval Dubey, (1992) 3 SCC 204, it was reiterated that extra-judicial confession of accused need not in all cases be corroborated. The rule of prudence necessarily does not require that each and every circumstance mentioned in the confession must be separately and independently corroborated. If the Court is satisfied that the confession is voluntary, the conviction can be based upon the same. In the instant case, trial court as well as the High Court concurrently held that the confession statements were voluntarily made and the same could form the basis for conviction. The Supreme Court did not find any reason to interfere. Therefore, the conviction of the appellant was upheld. However, considering the passage of time, as the occurrence was of the year 1992-94,  the sentence imposed was reduced to three years from five years. The appeal was disposed of accordingly. [Ram Lal v. State of H.P.,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1730, decided on 03-10-2018]