Coming back to factual aspects of this case, on the basis of the above confession of Chanchal Bhaskar [A-3], the only recovery which was made was one Rope, which was used in committing the offence, which the counsel rightly pointed, is a common material or thing which is available anywhere in the market or at every household. Further, we may note that, there is no investigation to link the rope recovered with the crime as no report concerning the forensic aspects of the fiber or any recovered strands are part of the record. Therefore, the major condition for application of Section 27 of the Evidence Act is not fulfilled. Accordingly, we cannot append any value to the confession of Chanchal Bhaskar [A-3].

1
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.1691-1692 OF 2010
KUSAL TOPPO AND ANOTHER …APPELLANTS
VERSUS
STATE OF JHARKHAND …RESPONDENT
O R D E R
1. These appeals by special leave are directed against the
judgment and order dated 12.1.2009 passed by the High Court
of Judicature of Jharkhand at Ranchi in Criminal Appeal No.
240 of 2002 with Criminal Appeal No. 302 of 2002.
2. These appeals have been filed by Accused No.1 and Accused
No.4 questioning the conviction and sentence passed by the
trial Court on 17 and 18th May, 2002 wherein the accused were
convicted for the offence under Section 392 and were
sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and fine of
Rs.1000/- each and in default of payment, to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for one year each and also convicted for the
2
offence under Section 302 and sentenced to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs.5000/- each and in
default of payment to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a
term of 2 years each.
3. The judgment passed by the trial Court was subsequently
challenged before the High Court. The High Court also
confirmed the sentence and conviction passed by the trial
Court.
4. In the present case there were as many as five accused. A-5
was acquitted by the trial Court itself. The other two accused
A-2 and A-3 had filed Special leave Petition (Criminal) No(s).
2572-2573 of 2009 against the judgment and order of the High
Court, which were dismissed by this Court at the time of
admission itself. In criminal cases, it is well settled that a
dismissal of a SLP in limine, would neither mean that the lower
court judgment stands affirmed nor the principle res judicata
would be applicable [refer Kunhayammed and Anr. v. State
of Kerala, AIR 2000 SC 2587; State of Punjab v. Devinder
Pal Singh Bhullar, AIR 2012 SC 364]. Therefore, the
dismissal of the SLP of the co-accused will not have any effect
accordingly.
3
5. In the instant special leave petitions filed by the accused A-1
and A-4, leave was granted by this Court on 30.8.2010.
6. We have heard learned counsel for the parties.
7. The prosecution story in brief is that on 3.12.1999, Truck No.
BR-24-M-8171 had gone to Balrampur having loaded the lac
of one Adit Sah of Latehar. The truck was returning from
Balrampur after unloading the lac in question on 4.12.1999
and reached Ranchi at 4 P.M. The aforesaid truck had picked
up its owner Sita Devi from Seva Sadan, Ranchi and proceeded
for Latehar. When the truck did not reach Latehar till the
morning of 5/12/1999, PW-2, Binod Agrawal (the joint owner
of the truck and brother-in-law of Sita Devi, and the informant
in this case) tried to search for the truck; in the course of his
search he went to the Line Hotel, owned by PW-1, Bindeshwar
Sah, situated at Ranchi Road, Kuru where the truck usually
used to stop for refreshment for its staff. The informant learnt
from the aforesaid hotel owner that his truck had stopped at
the hotel on 4.12.1999 at about 6.45 p.m. The driver, Suresh
Singh @ Bulet Singh, and the Khalasi (i.e., cleaner of the
truck), Jitendra Thakur, had taken four cups of special tea,
one for their employer Sita Devi, two for themselves and one
4
for a third person in the truck, but the third person did not
take tea and the same was returned. The driver was heard to
say that A-2, Mahendra, the third person inside the truck,
would not take tea. Thereafter, the truck proceeded for its
destination, having taken the owner Sita Devi, the Khalasi
Jitendra Thakur, and the third person, Mahendra (apart from
the driver himself). The informant also came to know from the
hotel owner that an unknown person aged about 25 years had
also come to the hotel at 5.00 p.m. on 4.12.1999, who had
enquired from the hotel owner whether Suresh Singh @ Bulet
Singh, the driver, had come to the hotel with the truck. The
hotel owner had replied to the unknown person that the truck
had not reached yet. Subsequently, the informant gathered
information from others at Kuru that the truck had crossed
Kuru Chowk for its destination (i.e. Latehar), but it was
hijacked by some criminals near Kuru P.S. and taken away
towards the forest. He further came to know that the truck
was lying abandoned in Aamjharia Valley with two dead bodies
lying near the truck and one dead body of a woman lying inside
the cabin of the truck. On such information, he went to
Aamjharia Valley and found the truck, where he found the
dead body of Sita Devi inside the truck, with her hands tied
5
and neck slit, and the bodies of the driver and Khalasi thrown
outside. The informant then went to Kuru P.S. to lodge an FIR,
but the police of Kuru P.S. did not entertain his information.
He then went to Lohardaga to approach the S.P., who was not
available, but the reader of the S.P. told him that the FIR had
to be lodged in the Police Station in the jurisdiction of which
the dead bodies had been recovered. Therefore, the informant
lodged the FIR at Chandwa Police Station on 7.12.1999 at 10
A.M., which is the basis of the case.
8. Mr. Annam D.N. Rao, learned Amicus Curiae appearing on
behalf of the accused mainly contended that the trial Court as
well as the High Court had convicted the accused by relying
upon the extra-judicial confessions made by Mahendra Prasad
and Chanchal Bhaskar (A-2 and A-3). Mr. Rao contended that
the accused could not be convicted merely on the basis of
extra-judicial confessions, relying upon the settled proposition
of law that an extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of
evidence, and an accused cannot be convicted on such basis
in the absence of other reliable evidence establishing guilt. He
placed reliance on the decisions of this Court to this effect in
6
Gopal Sah v. State of Bihar1 and Pancho v. State of
Haryana.
2
9. Learned counsel, while arguing, has taken us through the
depositions of various witnesses. PW-1 is Bindeshwar Sah, the
hotel owner, who according to PW-2, Binod Agrawal, first
revealed the information to him that the truck party had come
to his hotel on the date of the incident, and left the place after
taking some tea. Based on the said information, PW-2 further
inquired about the matter. PW-2 also deposed that PW-1 had
told him that A-2 Mahendra was inside the truck, and that A2
had confessed to him (i.e. PW-1) that the accused had
committed the murder of the three persons and further
committed theft of a gold bangle and chain belonging to Sita
Devi, an amount of Rs. 2 Lac and a demand draft for Rs.
32,000/-. PW-2 admitted so in his cross-examination as well
as stated so before the police. At the time of trial, however, PW1,
the owner of the Line Hotel, turned hostile. He denied saying
anything to PW-2 as alleged.
10. Thus, according to PW-2, A-2 made a confession to PW-1. In
addition, the confessions of A-2 and A-3 were also recorded by

1(2008) 17 SCC 128.
2(2011) 10 SCC 165.
7
the police. As per the testimony of PW-6, the investigating
officer in the case, on the basis of the confession of A-3, a rope
was recovered from the place of occurrence.
11. Learned counsel for the appellants contended that rope is a
common material or thing which is available anywhere in the
market and in every household.
12. Apart from this, learned counsel for the State is unable to show
any other material indicating the guilt of the appellants.
13. Learned Counsel for the State argued in support of the
impugned judgment.
14. The evidence relating to the extra-judicial confession made by
the accused Mahendra is found in two places in the evidence
of PW-2, i.e., in paragraphs 8 and 27. If we read both the
paragraphs, it is clear that PW-2 got the information from PW1
(the owner of the Line Hotel, Bindeshwar Sah) about the
factum of confession made by the accused Mahendra before
PW-1. In other words, PW-2 has not deposed in so many words
and clearly that the accused Mahendra made a confession
before him. On the other hand, it is the specific deposition of
PW-2 that the accused Mahendra confessed before PW-1, and
in turn PW-1 told about the same fact to PW-2. This means
8
that the information received by PW-2 from PW-1 about the
extra-judicial confession is hearsay, inasmuch as there is no
confession made by the accused Mahendra before PW-2
directly. Hence, such hearsay evidence of PW-2 relating to the
so-called confession cannot be relied upon. Even otherwise,
PW-1, who had allegedly informed PW-2 about the confession
allegedly made before him by the accused Mahendra, has
turned hostile. Thus, there is no supporting material to
corroborate the evidence of PW-2 regarding the extra-judicial
confession.
15. However, the First Appellate Court as well as the High Court,
probably relying upon the version of PW-2 in paragraphs 29 to
30 of his deposition, concluded that the accused Mahendra did
confess before PW-2 directly. Even if we take it that the
accused Mahendra did confess before PW-2 directly, the same
may not further or better the case of the prosecution,
inasmuch as this is the solitary piece of material against the
accused Mahendra, and that too in the form of an extrajudicial
confession.
16. As argued by the learned amicus curiae appearing for the
accused, an extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of
9
evidence, and an accused cannot be convicted on its basis in
the absence of other reliable evidence establishing the guilt of
the accused. It will be pertinent to advert to the decisions relied
upon by the learned amicus curiae at this juncture, i.e., Gopal
Sah (supra) and Pancho (supra).
17. In Gopal Sah (supra), the Court held that an extra-judicial
confession is, on the face of it, a weak piece of evidence and
should not be relied upon to record a conviction, in the absence
of a chain of cogent circumstances. In Pancho (supra) as well,
the Court refused to convict the accused on the basis of an
extra-judicial confession, in the absence of other evidence of
sterling quality on record, establishing his involvement. In
the Pancho (supra), the Court discussed the evidentiary value
of an extra-judicial confession, as laid down by a
Constitutional Bench of this Court in Haricharan
Kurmi v. State of Bihar.
3In this case, referring to S. 3 and S.
30 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Court came to the
conclusion that an extra-judicial confession cannot be treated
as a substantive piece of evidence against the co-accused,
holding that the proper judicial approach is to use it only to

3AIR 1964 SC 1184.
10
strengthen the opinion formed by the Court after perusing
other evidence placed on record. It is pertinent to refer to the
observations of in Pancho (supra) in this regard-
“26. In Haricharan Kurmi v. State of Bihar [AIR
1964 SC 1184 : (1964) 2 Cri LJ 344] the
Constitution Bench of this Court was again
considering the same question. The
Constitution Bench referred to Section 3 of the
Evidence Act, 1872 and observed that
confession of a co-accused is not evidence
within the meaning of Section 3 of the Evidence
Act. It is neither oral statement which the court
permits or requires to be made before it as per
Section 3(1) of the Evidence Act nor does it fall
in the category of evidence referred to in Section
3(2) of the Evidence Act which covers all
documents produced for the inspection of the
court. This Court observed that even then
Section 30 provides that a confession may be
taken into consideration not only against its
maker, but also against a co-accused. Thus,
though such a confession may not be evidence
as strictly defined by Section 3 of the Evidence
Act, “it is an element which may be taken into
consideration by the criminal court and in that
sense, it may be described as evidence in a nontechnical
way”. (Haricharan case [AIR 1964 SC
1184])
27. This Court in Haricharan case [AIR 1964 SC
1184 : (1964) 2 Cri LJ 344] further observed that
Section 30 merely enables the court to take the
confession into account. It is not obligatory on
the court to take the confession into account.
This Court reiterated that a confession cannot
be treated as substantive evidence against a coaccused.
Where the prosecution relies upon the
confession of one accused against another, the
proper approach is to consider the other
evidence against such an accused and if the
11
said evidence appears to be satisfactory and the
court is inclined to hold that the said evidence
may sustain the charge framed against the said
accused, the court turns to the confession with
a view to assuring itself that the conclusion
which it is inclined to draw from the other
evidence is right.
28. This Court in Haricharan case [AIR 1964 SC
1184 : (1964) 2 Cri LJ 344] clarified that though
confession may be regarded as evidence in
generic sense because of the provisions of
Section 30 of the Evidence Act, the fact remains
that it is not evidence as defined in Section 3 of
the Evidence Act. Therefore, in dealing with a
case against an accused, the court cannot start
with the confession of a co-accused; it must
begin with other evidence adduced by the
prosecution and after it has formed its opinion
with regard to the quality and effect of the said
evidence, then it is permissible to turn to the
confession in order to receive assurance to the
conclusion of guilt which the judicial mind is
about to reach on the said other evidence.”
18. Furthermore, in Sahadevan v. State of T.N.,
4 this Court
culled out certain principles regarding the reliability of an extra
judicial confession, which have also been relied upon in
Jagroop Singh v. State of Punjab,
5 Tejinder Singh v. State
of Punjab,
6 and Vijay Shankar v. State of Haryana.
7 The

4(2012) 6 SCC 403.
5(2012) 11 SCC 768.
6(2013) 12 SCC 503.
7(2015) 12 SCC 644.
12
principles as stated in Sahadevan (supra) are reproduced
below:
“16. Upon a proper analysis of the abovereferred
judgments of this Court, it will be appropriate to
state the principles which would make an extrajudicial
confession an admissible piece of
evidence capable of forming the basis of
conviction of an accused. These precepts would
guide the judicial mind while dealing with the
veracity of cases where the prosecution heavily
relies upon an extra-judicial confession alleged
to have been made by the accused:
(i) The extra-judicial confession is a weak
evidence by itself. It has to be examined by the
court with greater care and caution.
(ii) It should be made voluntarily and should be
truthful.
(iii) It should inspire confidence.
(iv) An extra-judicial confession attains greater
credibility and evidentiary value if it is
supported by a chain of cogent circumstances
and is further corroborated by other prosecution
evidence.
(v) For an extra-judicial confession to be the
basis of conviction, it should not suffer from any
material discrepancies and inherent
improbabilities.
(vi) Such statement essentially has to be proved
like any other fact and in accordance with law.”
The proposition that extra judicial confessions are a weak type
of evidence and should not be relied upon in the absence of
corroborative evidence has also been affirmed by this Court in
13
several other decisions, such as Pakkiriswamy v. State of
Tamil Nadu,
8 Makhan Sigh v. State of Punjab,
9 Baldev
Singh v. State of Punjab,
10 and even recently in Satish v.
State of Haryana.
11
19. Taking into consideration all the facts and position of law,
discussed supra, we are of the opinion that the appellants
herein cannot be convicted on the basis of only two extrajudicial
confessional statements of the co-accused which were
not corroborated by any cogent or reliable evidence. Needless
to say, that the confessions of A-2 and A-3 made before the
police are inadmissible. Now coming to the limited aspect
concerning appending weightage to their recovery of rope in
furtherance of the statement of A-3, before the Police under
Section 27 of Indian Evidence Act.
20. The law under, Section 27, Indian Evidence Act is well settled
now, wherein this court in Geejaganda Somaiah v. State of
Karnataka, (2007) 9 SCC 315, has observed as under:
“As the section is alleged to be frequently
misused by the police, the courts are required
to be vigilant about its application. The court
must ensure the credibility of evidence by police

8(1997) 8 SCC 158.
9(1988) Supp SCC 526.
10(2009) 6 SCC 564.
11(2018) 11 SCC 300.
14
because this provision is vulnerable to abuse. It
does not, however, mean that any statement
made in terms of the aforesaid section should be
seen with suspicion and it cannot be discarded
only on the ground that it was made to a police
officer during investigation. The court has to be
cautious that no effort is made by the
prosecution to make out a statement of the
accused with a simple case of recovery as a case
of discovery of fact in order to attract the
provisions of Section 27 of the Evidence Act”
21. The basic premise of Section 27 is to only partially lift the ban
against admissibility of inculpatory statements made before
police, if a fact is actually discovered in consequence of the
information received from the accused. Such condition would
afford some guarantee. We may additionally note that, the
courts need to be vigilant while considering such evidences.
This Court in multiple cases has reiterated the aforesaid
principles under Section 27 of Indian Evidence Act and only
utilized Section 27 for limited aspect concerning recovery [refer
Pulukuri Kotayya v. King Emperor, 76 I.A. 65; Jaffar
Hussain Dastagir v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1970 SC
1934]. As an additional safeguard we may note that reliance
on certain observations made in certain precedents of this
court without understanding the background of the case may
not be sustainable. There is no gainsaying that it is only the
15
ratio which has the precedential value and the same may not
be extended to an obiter. As this Court being the final forum
for appeal, we need to be cognizant of the fact that this Court
generally considers only legal aspects relevant to the facts and
circumstances of that case, without elaborately discussing the
minute hyper-technicalities and factual intricacies involved in
the trial.
22. Coming back to factual aspects of this case, on the basis of the
above confession of Chanchal Bhaskar [A-3], the only recovery
which was made was one Rope, which was used in committing
the offence, which the counsel rightly pointed, is a common
material or thing which is available anywhere in the market or
at every household. Further, we may note that, there is no
investigation to link the rope recovered with the crime as no
report concerning the forensic aspects of the fiber or any
recovered strands are part of the record. Therefore, the major
condition for application of Section 27 of the Evidence Act is
not fulfilled. Accordingly, we cannot append any value to the
confession of Chanchal Bhaskar [A-3].
23. In light of the discussion above, we set aside the orders passed
by the trial Court as well as by the High Court and acquit the
16
accused from all charges and the appeals are, accordingly,
allowed.
24. We appreciate the assistance given by Mr. Annam D.N. Rao,
learned Amicus Curiae in disposing of these appeals.
……………………J.
(N.V. RAMANA)

……………………J.
(MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR)
New Delhi,
August 07, 2018