Sahoo, the appellant, is a resident of Pachperwa in the District of Gonda. He has two sons, Badri and KirpaShanker. He lost his wife years ago. His eldest son, Badri, married one Sunderpatti. Badri was employed in Lucknow, and his wife was residing with his father.It is said that Sunderpatti developed illicit intimacy with Sahoo; but there were incessant quarrels between them. On August 12, 1963, during one of those quarrels,Sunderpatti ran away to the house of one Mohammed Abdullah,a neighbour of theirs. The appellant brought her back, and after some wordy altercation between them they slept in the only room of their house. The only other inmate of the house was the appellant's second son, KirpaShanker. On the morning of August 13, 1963, when Kripa Shanker returned home after attending nature calls he found Sunderpatti with serious injuries in the room of the house where she was sleeping, and the appellant was not in the house. Meanwhile two prosecution witnesses heard Sahoo muttering to himself “finished Sunderpatti, finished the daily quarrels”. Later, Sunderpattiwas admitted in the Sadar Hospital Gonda, at 5.25 p.m. on that day and she died on August 26, 1963 at 3 p.m. Thereafter Sahoo was sent up for trial before the Court of Sessions, Gonda, on a charge under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
Whether muttering by the accused amounts to confession under the Indian Evidence Act, if so, is it admissible evidence under Section 17 of the Act?
Mere muttering cannot be considered as confession. Confession needs to be made by the offender to someone else. Further the circumstantial evidences were not sufficient to prove the guilt of the accused as there were no direct evidences.
Confession need not be made to someone else, mere muttering is sufficient. Further the series of circumstantial evidences point towards the guilt of the accused. The incident of Sunderpatti running into her neighbour’s household seeking help clearly establishes the enmity between the appellant and the deceased. Moreover, Kripa Shanker witnessed the appellant leaving the house murmuring something.
The Court was satisfied with the series of circumstantial evidences and held that the extra judicial confession made by the appellant was proved beyond doubt by the prosecution. The oral statement made by the accused was admissible under Section 17 of the Evidence Act. The Court further clarified that; confession need not be made by the accused to someone else mere muttering is sufficient. The Court also citied an example for better understanding which is, If A after murdering B pens down in his personal diary that he murdered B, the words written in his diary will be a valid confession under Section 17 of the Act.