INTRODUCTION- WHAT IS CONFESSION ?
The word ‘confession’ appears for the first time in Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act. This section comes under the heading of ‘Admission’ so it is clear that the confessions are merely one species of admission. Now the question is as to what admission amounts to confessions. Justice Stephen in his Digest of the Law of Evidence, has defined confession as “confession is an admission made at anytime by a person charged with a crime stating or suggesting the inference the inference that he committed the crime”. According to this definition, a statement of an accused will amount to a confession if it fulfills any of the below mentioned two conditions:
- If it is stated by him that he has committed the crime he is charged with, or
- if he makes a statement by which he does not completely and clearly admits the guilt but still from the statement some inference may be drawn to show that he might have committed the crime.
SECTION 24, INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, 1872
According to Section 24, a confession made by an accused person is irrelevant in a criminal proceeding, if the making of the confession appears to the Court to have been caused by any inducement, threat or promise having reference to the charge against the accused person, proceeding from a person in authority and sufficient, in the opinion of the Court, to give the accused person grounds which would appear to him reasonable for supposing that by making it he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceedings against him.
The term inducement involves a threat of prosecution if the guilt is not confessed and a promise of forgiveness if it is so done. It is not at all possible to just lay down a hard and fast rule as to what constitutes inducement, it is to be decided by the judge in every case. An inducement may be expressed or implied, it need not be made to the accused directly from the person in authority.
CONFESSION TO BE VOLUNTARY
Shivappa v. State of Karnataka AIR 1995 SC 980- Where a confession is made by a person before a report was made to the police and before he was accused of an offence by others. The confession must be regarded as the one made by an accused within the meaning of this section. A confession if voluntarily and truthfully made, is an “efficacious proof of guilt”. It is an important piece of evidence and therefore it would be necessary to examine that whether or not the confession made by the appellant was vouluntary, true and trustworthy.
EXCEPTION TO HEARSAY RULE
In State of Maharashtra v. Kamal Ahmad Vakil Ansari AIR 2013 SC 1441, it was held that admissions and confessions are exceptions to the rule of ‘hearsay’. The Evidence Act places them in the province of relevance, presumably on the ground that they being declarations against the interest of the person making, they are in all probability true.
Judicial confessions are the ones that are made before the magistrate or in court in the due course of legal proceedings. A judicial confession has been defined to mean “plea of guilty on arrangement (before a tribunal) if made freely by a person in a fit state of mind”.
A is accused of having killed G. He may, before the trial begins confess the guilt before some magistrate who may record it in accordance with the provisions mentioned under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. A may confess his guilt before the magistrate (at the committal proceedings) or at the trial before Sessions Judge,. All of these are judicial confessions.
Extra-judicial confessions are made by the accused elsewhere than in court or before a magistrate. This kind of confession can be made to any person or to body of persons. It is not at all a compulsion that statements must have been addressed to any definite individual. It may have taken place in the form of a prayer. A confession to a private person is an extra-judicial confession. An extra-judicial confession has been defined to mean “a free and voluntary confession of guilt by a person accused of a crime in the course of conversation with persons other that judge or magistrate seized of the charge against himself.”
C has been charged with the slaughter of a cow stolen by him. When the report was to be lodged against him, a man of the village asked as to why has he committed the crime, He apologized and said that he is sorry for his action, and wanted to be excused. This is certainly an extra-judicial confession.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN JUDICIAL & EXTRA-JUDICIAL CONFESSIONS
- Judicial confessions are those which are made to a judicial magistrate under section 164, Cr.P.C. or before the court during committal proceeding or during trial, while extra-judicial confessions are those which are made to the persons other than those authorized by the law to take confession.
- To prove judicial confession, the person tho whom it was made need not be called as witness but extra judicial ones are proved by calling the person as witness to whom extra judicial confession is made.
- Judicial confessions can be relied as proof of guilt against the accused person if it appears to the court to be voluntary and true, on the other hand extra judicial confessions alone cannot be relied, they need to be supported by some corroborative evidences.
- A conviction can be based upon a judicial confession but it is unsafe to base a conviction on extra judicial confession.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN CONFESSION AND ADMISSION
- Confession if deliberately and voluntarily made may be accepted as conclusive of the matters confessed, on the other hand admissions are not conclusive as to the matters admitted, it may operate as an estoppel.
- Confessions always go against the person making them but admission may be used on behalf of the person making it under the exceptions provided in Section 21 of the Evidence Act.
- Confessions made by one or two or more accused jointly tried for the same offence can be taken into consideration for the co-accused but on the other hand, admission by one of the several defendants in suit is no evidence against other defendants.
- Confession is statement written or oral which is direct admission of guilt, while admission is a statement oral or written or contained in electronic form which gives inference about the liability of person making admission.
Author: Rudra Gupta,
B.A. LL.B. 5th Semester, Aligarh Muslim University.