Evidentiary Value of Extra-Judicial Confession

Evidentiary Value of Extra-Judicial Confession Benefit of doubt Case Laws Criminal Appeal Criminal Law Falsus In Uno Falsus In Omnibus Knowledge - Criminal Law Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Motive Murder Solutions - Criminal Law Mr. Justice Shehram Sarwar Ch. in his judgment has decided the issue regarding evidentiary value of extra-judicial confession in Criminal Appeal No. 861 of 2011.

1. Zafar Iqbal alias Kodu (appellant) alongwith his co-accused namely Mst. Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi and Najma Bibi was tried by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Vehari in case FIR No.604/2010, date 20.10.2010, offence under Sections 302, 109 and 34 PPC, registered at Police Station Gaggo District Vehari for the murder of Muhammad Sarfraz (deceased) husband of the complainant. Vide judgment dated 22.09.2011 passed by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Vehari, Zafar Iqbal alias Kodu (appellant) has been convicted under Section 302(b) PPC and sentenced to imprisonment for life, with further direction to pay a compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- (rupees one lakh only) to the legal heirs of the deceased under Section 544-A, Code of Criminal Procedure and in default whereof, to further undergo six months simple imprisonment. Benefit of Section 382-B, Cr.P.C. was also extended to the appellant. Through the same judgment, co-accused of the appellant namely Mst. Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi and Najma Bibi were acquitted of the charge by extending them benefit of doubt and no appeal against their acquittal was filed either by the State or by the complainant. Assailing the above conviction and sentence, Zafar Iqbal alias Kodu (appellant) has filed the appeal in hand.

2. Precisely, facts of the case, as contained in the FIR (Exh.PF/1) registered on the statement (Exh.PF) of Mst. Razia Bibi, complainant (PW.7) are that she was resident of Chak No.195/EB and a house lady. Two years prior to the occurrence, she contracted marriage with Muhammad Sarfraz and out of the said wedlock, they had a son namely Ali Raza aged about eight months. Husband of the complainant had plied a motorcycle rickshaw bearing No.2068-FSB from village to Gaggo Mandi Town to earn his livelihood. On 18.10.2010 at about 8.00 a.m. he went from the chak to Gaggo Mandi alongwith passengers but did not return till evening. The complainant became worried and contacted on telephone No.0308-8738726 but the same was powered off. The complainant informed her family and her father Faiz Ahmad arrived from Sahiwal. Bagh Ali and Asghar Ali started search alongwith the complainant party. On getting information about having custody of rickshaw by the police, the complainant alongwith her companions went to the police station and identified the rickshaw. Thereafter, they went to the place from where the rickshaw was taken into possession by the police and they felt foul smell of dead body near the land of Muhammad Yousaf Gujjar situated in chak No.249/EB. They started search in sugarcane and maize crops and found the dead body lying on the middle line of said crops. The complainant identified the body as her husband Muhammad Sarfraz, who was having deep injuries on his neck and head. It was alleged that some unknown persons had committed this murder.

3. On 21.10.2010, the complainant moved an application (Ex.PJ) before the SHO Police Station Gaggo and implicated the appellant as well as his co-accused Mst. Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi and Najma Bibi (mother and sister of Muhammad Sarfraz deceased) with the allegation that on 20.10.2010, the appellant confessed before his co-accused about the murder of deceased. The complainant overheard the conversation of the appellant while standing behind the door, who was telling Naziran Bibi and Najma Bibi co-accused that on their direction, he had committed the murder of Sarfraz (deceased). As per contents of the application, the complainant called Bagh Ali, Asghar Ali and her father Faiz Ahmad who also heard the conversation wherein the appellant confessed that he took Sarfraz to his village on rickshaw on the pretext to leave him (appellant) to his house and from there, the appellant took him to katcha path and thereafter, to sugarcane crop on the pretext of gossip where the appellant asked Sarfraz to lit a cigarette and he (appellant) wanted to ease himself. The moment Sarfraz bowed down his head to lit a cigarette, the appellant attacked on his neck with bugda which he had already hidden over there and the deceased died at the spot.

4. After completion of investigation of this case, report under Section 173, Code of Criminal Procedure was submitted before the learned trial court. The appellant and his co-accused namely Mst. Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi and Najma Bibi were summoned by the learned trial court to face the trial and charge under Sections 302, 109 and 34 PPC was framed against them. After conclusion of the trial, the appellant was convicted and sentenced as mentioned in para 1 supra whereas his co-accused were acquitted of the charge and no appeal against their acquittal has been filed either by the State or by the complainant as confirmed by the learned DDPP. Hence this appeal.

5. Learned counsel for the appellant, in support of this appeal, contends that the appellant has falsely been implicated in this case; that, as per FIR, the occurrence qua missing Muhammad Sarfraz took place on 18.10.2010 whereas the matter was reported to the police on 20.10.2010 i.e. two days after the incident without there being any satisfactory explanation; that there is no eye witness account in this case; that Zafar Iqbal alias Kodu (appellant) is not nominated in the FIR (Exh.PF/1); that there is no admissible evidence against the appellant; that extrajudicial confession allegedly made by Mst Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi and Najma Bibi before the complainant’s party wherein they stated that they got murdered Muhammad Sarfraz through Zafar Iqbal alias Kodu cannot be used against the appellant because the same is weak type of evidence and cannot be relied upon for maintaining the conviction of the appellant; that story of Mst Razia Bibi complainant (PW.7) disclosed by her in the application (Exh.PJ) which was to the effect that she alongwith other PWs heard the conversation between Zafar Iqbal alias Kodu and Mst Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi as well as Najma Bibi about the murder of Muhammad Sarfraz is improbable and does not appeal to a prudent mind; that Mst Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi and Najma Bibi were also indicted in this case with the specific allegation that they got committed the murder of Muhammad Sarfraz through the appellant and thereafter both these ladies made extrajudicial confession before complainant’s party but they have been acquitted from this case and no appeal against their acquittal was filed either by the complainant or by the State; that the prosecution evidence which has been disbelieved to the extent of Mst Naziran Bibi alias Jiran Bibi and Najma Bibi (co-accused of the appellant since acquitted) cannot be believed against the appellant without there being any independent and strong corroboration which is very much lacking in this case; that prosecution has failed to substantiate motive against the appellant; that recovery of bugdha (P.4) allegedly effected at the instance of the appellant does not advance the case of prosecution because the alleged occurrence took place on 18.10.2010, the appellant was arrested on 31.11.2010 who allegedly got recovered bugdha (P.4) on 03.11.2010 i.e. about sixteen days after the occurrence, the same was received in the office of Chemical Examiner on 24.11.2010 i.e. about twenty one day of its recovery and as such there was remote possibility of blood being present on the bugdha; that the recovery of alleged bugdha was effected from a maize crop which was not the ownership of the appellant; that viewing from all angles the prosecution case is doubtful in nature and the appellant is entitled to the benefit of doubt not as a matter of grace but as of right.

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