P.D. Sharma, J.
1. Munshi accused was convicted Under Section 318, Indian Penal Code, and sentenced to nine months rigorous imprisonment, by Shri Ujagar Singh Konli, Magistrate 1st Class, Hoshiarpur, on the allegations, that he and Shrimati Sheedan on or about the night between 6th and 7th May, 1960, at village Kadiana by secretly burying the dead body of a child recently born to Shrimati Sheedan, intentionally concealed the birth of the said child. It may also be stated here that the trial Court had also convicted Shrimati Sheedan Under Section 318 read with Section 109, Indian Penal Code, and sentenced her to six months' simple imprisonment. Their appeals before the teamed Session; Judge, Hoshiarpur, remained unsuccessful-Munshi has filed the present revision petition against this order.
2. The prosecution story in brief may be recapitulated as given below. Munshi accused had illicit connection with Shrimati Sheedan, an unmarried girl, as a result of which she conceived and delivered a child, fourth or five days before 7th May, 1960. Both of them decided to do away with the body of the recently born child. It is not clear on the record as to when and how the child died. Munshi carried the body of the child from Shrimati Sheedan and buried it under the heap of rubbish lying on the outskirts of the village abadi.
3. Ranga Singh (P.W. 1) lambardar while,: proceeding towards the abadi of Adharmis saw a dog eating the body of a child near the manure pits. He raised ah alarm which brought Waryam Singh (P.W. 2) on the spot. Both of them scared away the dog and' the dead body which was in an advanced stage of decomposition was: secured by them. Waryam Singh was left in charge of the dead body white Ranga Singh started for the police station to make a report. Munshi accused met him in-the way and requested him to drop the matter, He admitted his liason with Shrimati Sheedan and the birth of a child to Shrimati Sheedan, and burial of the dead body by him under the manure pit. Ranga Stngb, however, paid no heed to his request and ultimately reported the matter to the police. Exhibit PA is his report.
4. Shrimati Sheedan's confessional statement Exhibit P.S. was recorded by Shri Pritam Singh, Magistrate 1st Class, on 11th May, 1960 Under Section 164, Criminal Procedure Code.
5. The police during the course of investigation tooK the dead body into possession and sent it to the mortuary for post mortem examination. Dr. M. L. Blaggana, Civil Surgeon, (P.W. 4) carried out the autopsy. In his opinion the body was of a female new born baby but he could not give the cause of death. Dr. S. Khosla (P.W. 5) examined Shrimati Sheedan on 11th May, 1960 and opined that Shrimati Sheedan appeared to have given- birth to a child about 5 or 7 days back.
6. Munsbi accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.
7. The trial Court as well as the first appellate Court while coming to the conclusion that the charge stood proved against the accused-petitioner, mainly relied on (i) the extrajudictal confession, which he is said to have made before Ranga Singh (P.W. 1), and (ii) the confession Exhibit P. S. node by Shrimati Sheedan before the Magistrate and the trial Court. It is here that both the Courts committed a mistake. There is not enough evidence on the record to prove convincingly that Munshi confessed his guilt before anybody and much less before Ranga Singh lambardar (P.W. 1). The latter while in the witness box at one place conceded that Munshi met him but he had no talk with him and at the end of his cross-examination again said that he informed Munshi about all that he had seen, when Munshi advised him to finish the matter in the village and that he made no confession before him. The same thing was repeated by the witness in his re-examination on 12th December, 1960. It is correct that at one or two places hi his statement, he indicated that Munshi admitted his fault before him, but this he said in a halting and hesitating manner which indeed should have failed to convince any Court of law. It is well nigh settled that evidence of oral confessions of guilt ought to be received with great caution. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case Ratan Goncl v. State of Bihar reported as : 1959CriLJ108 , laid down that:
Usually and as a matter of caution Courts require I some material corroboration to an extrajudicial confessional statement, corroboration which connects the accused person with the crime in question.
8. There is not an iota of relevant evidence on the record to corroborate the alleged confessional statement of Munshi accused. It will be improper to rely on the statement Exhibit P.S. made by Shrimati Sheedan Under Section 164, Criminal Procedure Code, before Shri Pritam Singh, Magistrato on 11th May, 1960, and also on her statement recorded Under Section 342, Criminal Procedure Code, by the trial Court as a piece of corroborative evidence. There is hardly any fact in both the statements which could directly or indirectly involve Shrimati Sheedan in the crime. She has relegated the entire blame to Munshi accused. Self-exculpatory statements like these' can m no manner be used against the co-accused, since the same fail to fulfil the test of a valid confession as laid down by the Supreme Court in the case, Balbir Singh v. State of Punjab cited as : 1957CriLJ481 . Their Lordships observed:
That so far as the confessional statement of one accused is concerned, it may be taken into consideration against the other accused if it fulfils the conditions laid down in Section 30 of the Indian Evidence Act. One of the conditions is that the confession must implicate the maker substantially to the same extent as the other accused person against whom it is sought to be taken into consideration. Where on reading the confession as a whole it appears that he was really trying to throw the main blame on the other accused and make out that he was an unwilling spectator of the crime committed by the other accused the utmost that can be stated is that the confession cannot be used at all against the other accused.
9. It is correct that Chanan Singh (P.W. 3) sarpanch, gave out that Shrimati Sheedan admitted before him her illicit connection with Munshi, the birth of a child, and the burial of the dead body of the child by her and Munshi in the manure pits. He had never been to Shrimati Sheedan's house before and lived at some distance from her. There was indeed no occasion for her to invite the sarpanch to her house and make such a statement. His testimony fails to carry any conviction, especially when Shrimati Sheedan in her statement Under Section 164, Criminal Procedure Code, recorded soon after, gave out that Munshi alone disposed of the dead body and that she had no knowledge about it. Her statement before the trial Court is also to the same effect. Evidence of oral confessions of guilt ought to be received with great caution and more so when the same are said to have been made to lambardars, panches and sarpanches, who are interested to give evidence for the police. It will not be prudent to accept the deposition of Channan Singh sarpanch (P.W. 3) as correct. There is thus no material on the record to sustain Munshi accused-petitioner's conviction Under Section 318, Indian Penal Code. The least that can be said is that so far as Munshi is concerned the case is not free from doubt and the benefit should go to him.
10. For the above reasons' the revision petition Is accepted and the order of the learned Sessions Judge convicting Munshi accused Under Section 318, Indian. Penal Code, and sentencing him to nine months' rigorous imprisonment is set aside. He is acquitted. He is on bail. His bail bonds are discharged.