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CONFESSION UNDER INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT

All Confessions are admissions, but not all Admissions are confessions.”


INTRODUCTION


Section 24-30 of Indian Evidence Act talks about confession

In the Pakala Narayan Swami V. Emperor[1], Lord Atkin observed :

A confession must either be admitted in the context of any offence or in relation with any substantial facts which inaugurate the offence with criminal proceedings. And an admission of serious wrongdoing, even conclusively incriminating fact is not itself a confession.


KINDS OF CONFESSION


JUDICIAL CONFESSIONS


These are those confessions that are made to the court itself. It is made by a person freely and in fit state of his mind. Any statement made by a person himself to prove his guilt in front of the magistrate or in the courts of law is a formal confession or an extra-judicial confession


EXTRA JUDICIAL CONFESSIONS


These are those confessions that are made to someone outside the courts.

In, Balwinder Singh v. State[2] the Supreme Court has laid some guidelines to decide the case of extrajudicial confession

· The court must check for the credibility of the person making the confession

· All of his statements shall be tested by the court to conclude whether the person who made the confession is trustworthy or not, otherwise a person who is not so trustworthy then his statements cannot be used for making any inference to prove the guilt of the accused.


In Sahadevan v. State of Tamil Nadu[3] the Supreme Court laid few principles in the form of guidelines where the court .The following principles mentioned by the Supreme Court are:


· Extrajudicial confessions are generally a very weak kind of evidence by itself and the court must examine such statements efficiently.

· Extrajudicial confession should be made by the person’s own will and such statements must be true.

· The evidentiary value of extra-judicial confession instantly increases when it is supported by other such evidence.

· The statements of the confessor must prove his guilt like any other fact in issue is proven in the judicial proceedings.


RETRACTED CONFESSIONS

These confessions are those confessions which were earlier made freely and at his own will, which later on revoked or retracted by the same person. Convictions cannot be solely based on such type of confession, until and unless corroborated.[4]


A conversation to one self also leads to confession.


In the case of Sahoo v. the State of U.P[5], a newly wedded women joined the house of her husband and after some she got murdered. The accused murdered his daughter-in-law, and after murdering her he screamed “I have finished her” and many of his neighbours heard his statement stating “I have finished her”. In this case, the court observed that the statements made by the accused is considered as confession and is confessionary in nature.


Any confession made by the co-accused is not of much evidentiary value and cannot be considered as a substantive piece of evidence[6]


IRRELEVANT CONFESSIONS


Under section 24 confession becomes irrelevant when :

· Confession is made out of inducement, threat or promise, inducement, etc.

· Such confession proceed from a person in authority.

· It relates to the charge in question.

· It has the benefit of temporal nature or disadvantage.


If in confession such inducement threat or promise has been removed , then the same is relevant under section 28 and becomes voluntary.

Under section 29, any confession is not relevant if it is taken by the accused by:

· Giving a promise of secrecy

· By deceiving him


CONFESSIONS MADE IN FRONT OF POLICE OFFICERS AND IN POLICE CUSTODY


Under Section 25 any statement made by the accused against himself to the police officer is not considered as a confession. Even any confession which is made in a police custody is not considered as a confession under Section 26. They are considered to be confession if they are made in the immediate presence of the magistrate.


Confessions made to the police or in police custody are relevant only in the cases where it leads to discovery of some fact are relevant under section 27. Requisites for relevancy under section 27 are:

· The fact must be discovered upon the information given by the accused.

· The person who is giving the information must be an accused.

· The person must be in the custody of the police officer.

· The facts discovered must be related to the commission of offence in question.


JOINT TRIAL OF PERSON


Section 30 talks about confession affecting person who are jointly tried. When more than one person who are jointly tried for a same offence , Confession made by one would be taken into consideration for all the accused members and not only against the person making it. This section is an exception to the principle that confession of one person is admissible against him as a whole.


Any confession of one person is taken into consideration only in the case where:

· The person confessing and others are jointly tried of an offence.

· They all are tried for the same offence

· The confession is related to the crime committing and are affecting the confessors and all other person.



[1] AIR 1939 P.C 47


[2] AIR 1996 SC 607


[3] AIR 2012 SC 2435


[4] Pyare Lal v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1963 SC 1094


[5] AIR 1996 SC 42


[6] Pancho v. State of Haryana (2011) 10 SCC 165


For Disclaimer, click here.


Author Details: Muskan Kapoor (BBA LLB Student, Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla)

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