When the confessional statement of the accused is admissible in the evidence?

Ans: A confession or an admission is evidence against the maker of it, unless its admissibility is excluded by some provision of law. Section 24 of the Evidence Act excludes confession caused by certain inducements, threats and promises. Section 25 of the Evidence Act provides: “No confession made to a police officer shall be proved as against a person accused of an offence”. The terms of S. 25 are imperative. A confession made to a police officer under any circumstances is not admissible in evidence against the accused. It covers a confession made when he was free and not in police custody, as also a confession made before any investigation has begun.

The expression “accused of any offence” covers a person accused of an offence at the trial whether or not he was accused of the offence when he made the confession. Section 26 of the Evidence Act prohibits proof against any person of a confession made by him in the custody of a police officer, unless it is made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate. The partial ban imposed by S. 26 relates to a confession made to a person other than a police officer. Section 26 does not qualify the absolute ban imposed by S. 25 on a confession made to a police officer. Section 27 of the Evidence Act is the form of a ‘proviso’, and partially lifts the ban imposed by Ss. 24, 25 and 26. It provides that when any fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence, in the custody of a police officer, so much of such information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved. Section 162 of the Code of Criminal] Procedure forbids the use of any statement made by any person to a police officer in the course of an investigation for any purpose at any enquiry or trial in respect of the offence under investigation, save as mentioned in the proviso and in cases falling under sub-s. (2), and it specifically provides that nothing in it shall be deemed to affect the provisions of S. 27 of the Evidence Act. The words of S. 162 are wide enough to include a confession made to a police officer in the course of an investigation. A statement or confession made in the course of an investigation may be recorded by a Magistrate under S. 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure subject to the safeguards imposed by the section. Thus, except as provided by S. 27 of the Evidence Act, a confession by an accused to a police officer is absolutely protected under S. 25 of the Evidence Act, and if it is made in the course of an investigation, it is also protected by S. 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and a confession to any other person made by him while in the custody of a police officer is protected by S. 26, unless it is made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate. These provisions seem to proceed upon the view that confessions made by an accused to a police officer or made by him while he is in the custody of a police officer are not to be trusted, and should not be used in evidence against him. Thus, a confession is inadmissible, if;

(i) it is made any of by accused person to a person in authority; and

(ii) it appears to the court that it has been caused or obtained by reason of any inducement, threat or promise proceeding from the person in authority; and

(iii) the inducement, threat or promise has reference to the charge against the accused person; and

(iv) such inducement, threat or promise is, in the opinion of the court, such that it appears to it that the accused in making the 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. There must be voluntary, and true, and they must not be the result of persuasion.

[AGHNOO NAGESIA V/S STATE OF BIHAR- reported in 1966 AIR(SC) 119]

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