GUWAHATI: A division bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice Suman Shyam and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia set aside an impugned judgment issued by the lower court acquitted an appellant, Radhanath Tanti, from this case on the benefit of the doubt.
This Court thinks that the prosecution has failed to prove the charge brought against the appellant beyond all reasonable doubt. "There is a thick cloud of doubt about the veracity of the prosecution case against the appellant…" the order said.
The lower court sentenced the appellant to life based on extra-judicial confession. This Court believes that "extra-judicial confession is always a weak piece of evidence. There is neither any rule of law nor of prudence that evidence furnished by extrajudicial confession cannot be relied upon unless corroborated by some other credible evidence. However, for acceptance of extra-judicial confession, it must be established by cogent evidence, as to what were the exact words used by the accused. Such a confession may be used only as a corroborative piece of evidence".
"In this case, the appellant allegedly confessed his guilt to Chandan Tanti when he was in the company of some other persons. Those persons were not examined by the prosecution. The Chandan Tanti did not reproduce the exact words used by the appellant. His evidence remained not corroborated by any prosecution witnesses. The appellant might have stayed together in the same house with the deceased but the evidence of Chandan Tanti, regarding the extra-judicial confession by the appellant, has not been corroborated by any other evidence. An extra-judicial confession, like any other fact, is also required to be proved by cogent and reliable evidence. The uncorroborated testimony of a witness is not sufficient for the conviction of an accused. For this reason, we have reasons to hold that the uncorroborated evidence of Chandan Tanti cannot be accepted at its face value," the judgment and order said.