Decided on April 20,1950

STATE Respondents


Panigrahi, J. - (1.) The appellant Behera Tanti was charged with the offence of having committed the murder of his wife by severing her head from the body with a 'Falsia'. He has been convicted by the Sessions Judge, Sandergarh-Sambalpur under Section 302, Penal Code, and sentenced to transportation for life.
(2.) The evidence against the appellant consists of a confessional statement; alleged to have been made by him--which is marked Ex. 4--but which was subsequently retracted, the oral evidence of P. Ws. 3 to 6 and, the circumstantial evidence relating to his conduct after the occurrence.
(3.) So far as Ex. 4 is concerned, the appellant appears to have stated therein that there was an altercation between him and his wife, but that he did not know what he did with her though he saw his knife stained with blood. He therefore ran to the police station where he realised that he had killed his wife. The appellant went to the police station himself, taking the Falsia with him and there the Sub-Inspector of police seized the weapon as well his clothes suspected to have been stained with blood. This statement of the appellant, recorded by a Magistrate under Section 164, Criminal P.C., was subsequently retracted at the Court where he categorically denied having killed his wife. His statement before the Court was that he did not know how his wife had been killed and that when he came home and saw the body of the deceased he ran to the police station and produced the "Falsia". It is argued by learned counsel appearing for the State that the appellant's statement amounts to an admission of his guilt firstly because the appellant says that he found the knife to have contained stains of blood on it and secondly because of his statement that soon thereafter he realized that ho had killed his wife. We are unable to accede to this contention because his statement purports to convey what appears to have been an impression created in his mind regarding the occurrence, and cannot amount to a categorical admission that he had actually killed the deceased. As has been observed by the Judicial Committee in Pakala Narayanaswami v. Emperor, A. I. R. (26) 1999 P. C. 47 : (40 Cr. L. J. 364), a confession in order to be admissible under the Evidence Act must either in terms, admit the offence, or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitute the offence. An admission of a gravely incriminating fact, even a conclusively incriminating fact, is not of itself a confession, e. g., an admission that the accused is the owner of and was in recent possession of the knife which caused the death is not enough. (After discussing the evidence of child witnesses P. Ws. 3 to 6 the judgment proceeded as follows:);

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