A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar while laying down guidelines on extra-judicial confession also held that the apex court can acquit a convict even if he/she has not filed any appeal against the conviction.
"Wherever the Court, upon due appreciation of the entire prosecution evidence, intends to base a conviction on an extra-judicial confession, it must ensure that the same inspires confidence and is corroborated by other prosecution evidence.
"If, however, the extra-judicial confession suffers from material discrepancies or inherent improbabilities and does not appear to be cogent as per the prosecution version, it may be difficult for the court to base a conviction on such a confession, " Justice Kumar writing the judgement said.
According to the prosecution, Chandran, Sahadevan and Arul Murgan murdered the former's brother-in-law Yoganandan alias Loganathan, between July 9-10, 2002 as the deceased allegedly used to ill treat his wife Kamalal.
The prosecution claimed that on July 14, when Muthurathinam, President of Kanakampalayam Panchayat was in his office along with one Shanmugasundaram, the accused came to his office and confessed to their crime of strangulating the deceased and setting his body on fire.
Muthurathinam, is said to have recorded their statement and handed over the same to the police, which formed one of the basis for their conviction.
Though there were no eye-witnesses to the murder, the trial court relying on certain circumstantial evidence and purported extra-judicial confession awarded them life term.(MORE)