Monday, 27 August 2018

Notes on confession of accused as per Evidence Act(S 24-30)

The expression confession is not defined in the Evidence Act. A confession is a statement which either admits the offence or at any rate,substantially all the facts which constitute the offence.
Admissions and confessions are exceptions to hearsay rule.The Evidence Act places them in the category of relevant evidence,presumably on the ground that as they are declarations against the interest of the person making them,they are probably true.
 Evidentiary value of confession is not very great.
   Confessions and admissions must either be accepted as a whole or rejected as a whole and the court is not competent to accept only inculpatory part while rejecting exculpatory part as incredible.

Retracted confession:- A retracted confession is one which is withdrawn or retracted later on by the person making it.Such a confession if proved to be voluntary made can be acted upon along with the other evidence in the case,and there is no legal requirement that a retracted confession must be supported by independent,reliable evidence corroborating it in material particulars.The use to be made of such a confession is a matter of prudence rather than of law.

Three important rules regarding confessions which are retracted are:

1) A confession is not to be regarded as involuntary merely because it is retracted later on.

2) As against the maker of confession,the retracted confession may form basis of a conviction if it is believed to be true and voluntarily made.

3) The confession of a co-accused can not be treated as substantive evidence and can be pressed in to service only when court is inclined to accept other evidence and feels the necessity of seeking an assurance in support of its conclusion deductible from the said evidence.In criminal cases,where the other evidence adduced against an accused person is wholly unsatisfactory,and the prosecution seeks to rely on retracted confession of co-accused person,the presumption of innocence which is basis of criminal jurisprudence assists the accused person and compels the court to render the verdict that charge is not proved.

Confession when irrelevant(S 24-26)
S 24 of evidence Act
Conditions necessary to attract this section
To attract this provisions ,the following facts must be established:
a) Confession must have been made by an accused person to a person in authority.
A person in authority is one who is engaged in the apprehension,detention or prosecution of the accused or one who is empowered to examine him.
b)It must appear to the court that the confession has been caused or obtained by reason of any inducement,threat or promise proceeding from a person in authority.
c) The inducement,threat or promise must in the opinion of the court be such that it would appear to the court that the accused in the making of confession believed or supposed that he would by making it ,gain any advantage,or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceedings against him.
 Moreover it is also necessary that the above conditions must cumulatively exist.

S 25 Confession to police:-
Under S 25,no confession made to police officer can be proved as against an accused.

S 26 Confession not made before a Magistrate:-
Under S 26, no confession made by any person whilst he is in custody of police can be proved as against such person,unless such a confession is made in the immediate presence of a magistrate.

Confession when relevant( S 27-29)

S 28 Confession made after removal of threat,inducement or promise is relevant.

S29.Confession made under promise,
If a confession is otherwise relevant ,it does not become irrelevant,merely because it was made-
a) under promise of secrecy,or
b) in consequence of a deception practised on the accused person for the purpose of obtaining it;or
c) when the accused was drunk;or 
d) in answer to questions he need not have answered;or
e)when the accused was not warned-
1)that he was not bound to make such confession,and
2)that evidence of it might be given against him.
This section is based on the well established rule of law that any breach of confidence or of good faith or the practice of any artifice does not invalidate a confession.

S 27 Confession leading to discovery of fact:-
When any fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from an accused person in the custody of police officer,so much of such information(whether it amounts to confession or not) as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered may be proved.
Principle of S 27:- This section is founded on the principle that if confession of accused is supported by the discovery of a fact,it may be presumed to be true and not to have been extracted.

The underlying principle is that any self- incriminatory statement or whatever else said by accused at the time of giving the information by way of giving introduction or narrative or explanation must be rigorously excluded.

In one case,accused gave information to police that they had stolen a cow and sold it to a particular person at a particular place.As a result of this information,cow was found.It was held that only statement that the accused had sold cow  to a certain person can be proved U/S 27 of Evidence Act,but not the statement that the accused had stolen them.

Joint statements are not contemplated by U/S 27 of Evidence Act if it is not clear as to who made the crucial statement in a joint information, the statement is inadmissible against any of the accused.

Read important judgment on s 27 of Evidence Act:

Confession of co-accused (S 30 of Evidence Act)
When confession of an accused can be used against a co-accused:-
a) When two or more person are tried jointly for the same offence(including its abetment and attempt) and 
b) a confession made by one such person affecting himself and some other of such person is proved-
the court may take into consideration such a confession,
1) as against such other person,and
2) as against the person who makes such a confession.
Confession of co-accused does not come within the definition of evidence contained in S 30 of the Act. It is not required to be given on oath,nor in the presence of accused and it can not be tested by cross examination.
The word may used in this section is important.This section gives discretion to the court to use it against co-accused.

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