CONFESSION

Confession:—

Sections 17, 21 and 24 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 — A confession has to be a direct acknowledgment of the guilt of the offence in question and such as would be sufficient by itself for conviction. If it falls short of such a plenary acknowledgment of guilt it would not be a confession even though the statement is of some incriminating fact which taken along with other evidence tends to prove his guilt. Such a statement is admission but not confession. An admission of a gravely incriminating fact, even a conclusively incriminating fact, is not of itself a confession. Confession does not include an admission of a fact, however incriminating, which by itself would not be enough to prove the guilt of the crime in question, although it might, together with the other evidence on record, lead to the conclusion of the guilt of the accused person, Kanda Padayachi v. State of T.N.(1971) 2 SCC 641: 1971 SCC (Cri) 623.  The confession is a form of admission consisting of direct acknowledgement of guilt in a criminal charge. It must be in express words by the accused in a criminal case of the truth of the guilt fact charged or some essential part of it and a statement that contains a self-exculpatory matter cannot amount to a confession, Shankar v. State of T.N.(1994) 4 SCC 478: 1994 SCC (Cri) 1252. 

 “Confession” as used in the Evidence Act cannot be construed as meaning a statement by an accused suggesting the inference that he committed the crime. A confession must either admit in terms 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. A statement that contains self-exculpatory matter cannot amount to a confession, if the exculpatory statement is of some fact, which if true, would negative the offence alleged to be confessed, Palvinder Kaur v. State of Punjab, AIR 1952 SC 354, 357: 1953 SCR 94: 1953 Cri LJ 154.  

According to the Privy Council “A confession is a statement made by an accused which must either admit in terms the offence or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitute the offence.”, Sahoo v. State of U.P., AIR 1966 SC 40, 42: (1965) 3 SCR 86: 1966 Cri LJ 68.  A confession may be defined as an admission of the offence by a person charged with the offence. A statement which contains self-exculpatory matter cannot amount to a confession, if the exculpatory statement is of some fact which, if true, would negative the offence alleged to be confessed. If an admission of an accused is to be used against him, the whole of it should be tendered in evidence and if part of the admission is exculpatory and part inculpatory, the prosecution is not at liberty to use in evidence the inculpatory part only, Aghnoo Nagesia v. State of Bihar, AIR 1966 SC 119, 123, 124: (1966) 1 SCR 134: 1966 Cri LJ 100.  Confession in common acceptation means and implies acknowledgment of guilt — its evidentiary value and its acceptability however shall have to be assessed by the court having due regard to the credibility of the witnesses, State of Punjab v. Gurdeep Singh(1999) 7 SCC 714: 1999 SCC (Cri) 1368. A confession must either admit in terms 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. “Confessions”, which is a terminology used in criminal law is a species of “admissions” as defined in Section 17 of the Evidence Act. An admission is a statement, oral or documentary which enables the court to draw an inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact. It is trite to say that every confession must necessarily be an admission, but, every admission does not necessarily amount to a confession. Confessions are considered highly reliable because no rational person would make an admission against his interest unless prompted by his conscience to tell the truth, State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu(2005) 11 SCC 600: 2005 SCC (Cri) 1715. Confession is a species of admission. It is an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime, stating or suggesting the inference that he committed that crime. A confession or admission is evidence against its maker, if its admissibility is not excluded by some provision of law. Law is clear that a confession cannot be used against an accused person unless the court is satisfied that it was voluntary, Nazir Khan v. State of Delhi(2003) 8 SCC 461.  A confession would mean incriminating statement made to the police suggesting inference of the commission of the crime and it, therefore, is confined to the evidences to be adduced in a court of law, Commr. of Police v. Narender Singh(2006) 4 SCC 265: 2006 SCC (L&S) 686.

Confession and Statement :— “Confession” is a statement made by an accused which must either admit in terms the offence or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitute the offence. The dictionary meaning of the word “statement” is “act of stating; that which is stated; a formal account, declaration of facts, etc.” The word “statement” includes both oral and written statement. Communication to another is not however an essential component to constitute a “statement”, Ajay Singh v. State of Maharashtra(2007) 12 SCC 341: (2008) 1 SCC (Cri) 371.

Maxims:—

Confessio facta in judicio omni probatione major est:A confession made in court 18 of greater effect than any proof. See. Cy. Law Dict.

Confessus in judicio pro judicato habetur et quodammodo sua sententia damnatur:—A person who has confessed in court is deemed as having had Judgment passed upon him and in a manner, is con­demned by his own sentence. See.11 Coke, 30.

Case-Law:—

Confession to police officer not to be proved . – No confession made to a policeofficer, shall be proved as against accused:— Sunderlal Kanaiyalal Bhatija v. State of …, (2010) 4 SCC 414; Confession to a police officer is inadmissible vide Section 25:— Arup Bhuyan v. State of Assam, (2011) 3 SCC 377. Section 25 mandates that no confessionmade to a police officer shall be proved as against accused:—Sanjay v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2001) 3 SCC 190.


Embargo as regards proof of confession before a police officer:— Commr. of Police v. Narender Singh, (2006) 4 SCC 265; Kishore v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 12 SCC 569; Raja v. State of T.N., (2020) 5 SCC 118; CBI v. Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, (2003) 3 SCC 166.

Confessionmade before Military Officer – Admissibility in evidence:— Union of India v. Sandeep Kumar, (2019) 10 SCC 496.

A confession purported to have been made before an authority would require a closer scrutiny:—Mohtesham Mohd. Ismail v. Enforcement Di …, (2007) 8 SCC 254

The police officer shall also certify under his own hand that such confession was taken in his presence:—Hardeep Singh Sohal v. State of Punjab, (2004) 11 SCC 612.

Confession made to a police officer or the confession made while a person is in police custody, cannot be proved against accused:— Gulam Mohammed v. State of Gujarat, (2008) 15 SCC 402

Evidence Act, 1872 – Ss. 25 and 26 : 25 : 26 – Policy underlying, restated:— Commr. of Police v. Narender Singh, (2006) 4 SCC 265.

Confession – Retracted confession – Admissibility:— Francis Stanly v. Intelligence Officer, …, (2006) 13 SCC 210.

The word “Police Officer” – Explained:— Kirpal Mohan Virmani v. B. D. Mishra, In …, 1988 SCC OnLine Del 316. Police officer” to mean “an officer in charge of a police station, a police officermaking an investigation” :— B.A. Umesh v. High Court of Karnataka, (2011) 3 SCC 85.

Ss. 25 , 8 and 27. Confession of accused to police officer implicating himself vis–vis evidence:— Sandeep v. State of U.P., (2012) 6 SCC 107.


Extra-judicial confession was made before the Village Administrative Officer:—Velayuda Pulavar v. State, (2009) 14 SCC 436; State of Punjab v. Gurdeep Singh, (1999) 7 SCC 714.

A judicial confession in a trial—sanctity:- L.D. Healy v. State of U.P., (1969) 1 SCC 149; State of Punjab v. Harjagdev Singh, (2009) 16 SCC 91.

Extra-judicial confessionmade by the accused before two witnesses of the locality. Subsequently such confession reduced to writing :— State of A.P. v. Gangula Satya Murthy, (1997) 1 SCC 272; Parmananda Pegu v. State of Assam, (2004) 7 SCC 779.

Evidence ActLaw Notes for LAW STUDENTS

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