MUTHUSWAMI Vs. STATE OF MADRAS
LAWS(SC)-1951-10-3
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on October 22,1951

MUTHUSWAMI Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF MADRAS Respondents


Cited Judgements :-

BABU VS. STATE [LAWS(DLH)-1970-3-27] [REFERRED]
DEO SINGH VS. STATE OF U P [LAWS(ALL)-1989-4-21] [REFERRED TO]
ANIS VS. STATE [LAWS(ALL)-1996-4-153] [REFERRED TO]
GUNDLA NARAYANA VS. STATE [LAWS(APH)-1959-1-18] [REFERRED TO]
TURAKA VEERABHADRA RAO VS. STATE OF A P [LAWS(APH)-2007-11-14] [REFERRED TO]
SHIVABASAPPA RAYAPPA CHANNALLI VS. STATE OF KARNATAKA [LAWS(KAR)-1957-12-8] [REFERRED TO]
HABAL SHAIKH VS. STATE [LAWS(CAL)-1990-4-10] [REFERRED TO]
R RAJGOPAL VS. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE [LAWS(MAD)-1986-12-17] [REFERRED TO]
DAULAT SINGH VS. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH [LAWS(MPH)-2005-9-16] [REFERRED TO]
A ABDULLAH VS. FOREIGN EXCHANGE REGULATION APPELLATE BOARD [LAWS(MAD)-1996-2-63] [REFERRED]
M NITYANANDAM VS. STATE OF TAMIL NADU [LAWS(MAD)-2002-6-67] [REFERRED TO]
Yasuddin VS. Inspector of Police [LAWS(MAD)-2004-10-93] [REFERRED TO]
VIJAY DADASAHEB BHOSLE VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [LAWS(BOM)-2006-8-148] [REFERRED TO]
RICARDO SEAGAL VS. ADDITIONAL DIRECTORATE ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE [LAWS(MAD)-2009-4-113] [REFERRED TO]
MUTHUKARUNGA KONAR VS. STATE OF TAMIL NADU [LAWS(MAD)-1958-10-11] [REFERRED TO]
NALLAM KRISHNARAYA BABU VS. STATE REP [LAWS(MAD)-1996-5-4] [REFERRED TO]
ASSISTANT COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS VS. KUNHI KORATH BALAN [LAWS(BOM)-1990-8-90] [REFERRED TO]
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR VS. KHADER SULAIMAN [LAWS(MAD)-2003-1-83] [REFERRED TO]
MOHAMMED JAMEEN MOHAMED MUNAWAR VS. INTELLIGENCE OFFICER [LAWS(MAD)-2010-3-16] [FOLLOWED ) [PARAS 11,25]]
BRIJ SUNDER SHARMA VS. ELECTION TRIBUNAL JAIPUR [LAWS(RAJ)-1956-8-19] [REFERRED TO]
MANGALIA VS. STATE OF RAJASTHAN [LAWS(RAJ)-1975-7-15] [REFERRED TO]
GHANSHYAM @ BABLU VS. STATE [LAWS(DLH)-2009-12-211] [REFERRED TO]
ABDUL HAMEED VS. STATE (DELHI ADMINISTRATION) [LAWS(DLH)-1985-2-55] [REFERRED TO]
Imran @ Karadi Imran VS. State of Karnataka [LAWS(KAR)-2012-8-283] [REFERRED TO]
STATE, BY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR VS. MUTHU AND ANOTHER [LAWS(MAD)-1996-8-122] [REFERRED TO]
CHANCHAL SINGH VS. STATE [LAWS(ORI)-1957-10-6] [REFERRED TO]
NARAYAN PAL AND ANR. VS. THE STATE OF ORISSA [LAWS(ORI)-1976-9-21] [REFERRED TO]
P.K. BHANU VS. ADDITIONAL DIRECTORATE [LAWS(MAD)-2009-4-704] [REFERRED TO]
VIJAY AND ORS. VS. THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND ORS. [LAWS(BOM)-2015-6-84] [REFERRED TO]
CHHOTEY SHAH VS. STATE [LAWS(ALL)-2016-8-52] [REFERRED TO]
SUBASH AND SHIV SHANKAR VS. STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH [LAWS(SC)-1987-4-30] [RELIED ON]
ALOKE NATH DUTTA VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [LAWS(SC)-2006-12-81] [REFERRED TO]
STATE VS. MANOHARAN [LAWS(MAD)-2014-3-81] [REFERRED TO]
BHOLANATH YADAV @ BHOLANATH PALWAR VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [LAWS(CAL)-1987-11-25] [REFERRED TO]
TEJUMAL VS. STATE OF RAJASTHAN [LAWS(RAJ)-1968-2-16] [REFERRED TO]
MD. SAJJAD @ RAJU @ SALIM VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [LAWS(SC)-2017-1-18] [REFERRED TO]
RAM SHANKER VS. STATE OF U.P. [LAWS(ALL)-2020-8-21] [REFERRED TO]
DHARMENDRA VS. STATE OF M.P. [LAWS(MPH)-2019-5-198] [REFERRED TO]
MANOJ VS. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH [LAWS(SC)-2022-5-103] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)The facts of this case can be placed in short compass. The appellant Muthuswami has been convicted of the murder of Nachimuthu Goundan and sentenced to death. The evidence consists of three eye-witnesses and a retracted confession. The learned Additional Sessions Judge disbelieved two of the eye-witnesses, namely Hanifa (P. W. 2) and Ghouse (P. W. 5), and rejected the confession on the ground that it was not voluntary. But he believed the third eye-witness Jamal (P. W. 1) who he thought was corroborated by certain other evidence and based his conviction on that. He also convicted another accused Pongiannan, with whom we are not concerned, on the same evidence and sentenced them both to death.
(2.)The High Court considered that P. W. 1 was as unreliable as the other two eye-witnesses and so refused to believe him. But they thought the confession had been wrongly rejected and, believing it to be voluntary, they upheld the conviction relying on the confession alone. They acquitted the other accused Pongiannan because once the eye-witnesses were discarded the only evidence implicating him was this uncorroborated confession of a co-accused. The question is raised whether a conviction can be based on a retracted and uncorroborated confession.
(3.)We do not intend to answer this in a general way because on the facts of this case it is enough to say that it would be unsafe to act on this particular confession. The deceased was murdered about midday on 14-8-1949. The eye-witnesses P. Ws. 1, 2 and 5 and two more eye-witnesses who have not been called were examined by the police on the same day at the inquest. Despite that neither the appellant nor his co-accused were arrested. This may have been because they could not be found or it may be that the descriptions given were not enough for identification. That is conjecture. But what we do know is that none of the three eye-witnesses who have been called knew the accused before. They saw them for the first time in the actual act of committing the murder.
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