Madras HC quashes murder case without trial

CHENNAI: A case of wife-killing, slapped on a man, his lover and five of his family members, was quashed by the Madras high court which said they need not be made to go through the rigorous trial, as the entire case had been built on mere confessions made by key suspects to police.

“Chargesheet cannot be filed against the accused solely on the basis of confession, which does not lead to recovery. In this case, except the confession, there is no recovery. Therefore, confession cannot be the basis for conviction, even accepting it as true,” said Justice R S Ramanathan, quashing the murder case against Natarajan and others, all from Namakkal district.

According to police, Natarajan had developed intimacy with another woman, and murdered his wife Vijayalakshmi, in order to marry her. After the crime, gold ornaments, mobile phone and other materials belonging to Vijayalakshmi were given to Natrajan’s parents and brothers.

Besides Natarajan, police had his parents, sister, brother-in-law and paternal uncle as accused, apparently for having tried to tamper with evidence by destroying mobile phone and personal belongings of Vijayalaksmi. Chargesheet for murder and abetment was filed against all the suspects before the judicial magistrate court in Paramathi, Namakkal district.

Counsel for suspects, seeking the quashing of the chargesheet, told the high court that except the confessions of Natarajan and his mother, no other incriminating statements or evidence had been obtained by police, and other evidence like mobile phone too had not been recovered by police.

Justice Ramanathan, accepting the arguments and relying on Supreme Court judgments covering the issue, said when the confession does not lead to recovery, the confession is inadmissible in law, and the chargesheet based on such confession has no legal basis, and is liable to be quashed.

“As confession is inadmissible as no recovery has been made following the confession, to permit the prosecution to proceed against the petitioners amounts to abuse of process of the court,” the judge said.

While framing charges on the accused, a court has to consider only the unrebuttable evidence which could get the suspects convicted, he said, adding: “If the evidence is not sufficient to convict the accused, then the court would not be justified in framing the charge against the accused.” Non-recovery of the mobile phone too proved costly for the prosecution, as court declined to believe their claim that the co-suspects of Dharmalingam had destroyed the handset and sim card, inviting another criminal charge of concealing evidence.

As per SC, the confession does not lead to recovery, the confession is inadmissible in law, and the chargesheet based on such confession has no legal basis, and is liable to be quashed, judge said

Source: The Times of India

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