Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by News Desk
Issue: Extra-Judicial Confession and Witness Credibility
Situation in the Case: The appellant was exonerated by the Supreme Court in the November 12, 1997, murder case. The case rested on an alleged extrajudicial confession that the deceased person’s brothers, PW-2 and PW-3, received from the appellant.The Gujarat High Court upheld the lower court’s judgment to convict the appellant under section 302 IPC.
Arguments Made by the Parties: The testimony of PW-2 and PW-3, two eyewitnesses who claimed that the appellant had attacked Hukabhai with a bamboo stick, was the foundation of the prosecution’s case. The prosecution claimed that the conflict arose between the appellant and another man, Bhemabhai, as a result of Hukabhai’s support for the appellant. The primary piece of evidence was the purported extrajudicial declaration the appellant made in front of the deceased’s brothers and another man by the name of Ratabhai.
Reasoning for the Decision: The Supreme Court emphasized the significance of flawless testimony from those in front of whom extrajudicial confessions are made. The accused’s confession in front of the deceased’s brothers was questioned by the court, which considered it strange that the accused would confess in front of the victim’s close relatives.
Anomalies in the evidence were also pointed out by the court, particularly the Serology Report that showed various blood types on the accused’s and the deceased’s clothes. Witness evidence further refuted the prosecution’s claim that the appellant carried an axe during the crime, pointing out that the appellant was holding a stick.
Judgment: Prabhatbhai Aatabhai Dabhi was found not guilty by the Supreme Court, stating that the prosecution was unable to prove the appellant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The court emphasized the need for reliable evidence in cases involving extrajudicial confessions and called attention to the prosecution’s flaws in the case, which included inconsistent blood evidence and divergent eyewitness accounts. The prosecution’s case was further undermined by the ruling that the recovered alleged murder weapon was inconsequential. As a result, the conviction of the appellant under section 302 IPC was overturned.
Case title: STATE OF GUJARAT v. PRABHATBHAI AATABHAI DABHI