CONFESSIONS CARRYING INCULPATORY AND EXCULPATORY STATEMENTS

Author: Siddharth Negandhi, 1st Year, LL.B, Jitendra Chauhan College of Law, Mumbai.

The article has been written by the author while pursuing the internship programme with us.

INTRODUCTION:

The term confession primarily refers to, “the voluntary admission of guilt of a criminal offence” in which the person charged with a crime “acknowledges that he/she is guilty of committing that crime. The law covering various aspects of confession is generally found in Sections 24 to 30 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and under the Code of Criminal Procedures(Section 162 and 164)[1]. The nature of confession is such that it always tends to go in opposition to the person making it. It is an oral or a written statement which is direct admission of suit[2].

FORMS OF CONFESSION:

A confession seems to arise in various forms. When a confession is made to the court itself, then it is known as a judicial confession. Contrary to this, if a confession is made to anybody outside the court, then it is said to be an extra-judicial confession. Confession could also involve conversations or dialogue with oneself, which is capable of being produced in evidence if overheard by another. This was pretty evident in the case of Sahoo vs. The state of U.P[3]. whereby the accused who was always quarrelling with her daughter in law was charged with the murder of her daughter in law and was seen going out of the house on the day of the murder and uttering sentences like, “I have finished her and with her the daily quarrels.” Such a statement was held to be as a confession which was pertinent in evidence. Hence, it is not mandatory for relevancy of a confession to be communicated to some other person[4].

Furthermore, the confession of an accused may be categorized into a voluntary and non-voluntary confession. A confession made by the accused while in the custody of the police officer can be called as the confession made to the police officer which is never relevant and can never be proved under section 25 and 26. Whereas, for the extra-judicial confession and confession made by some accused to the magistrate to whom he/she has been sent by the police for the purpose during the investigation, they are only admissible in the court on account where they are made voluntarily. If, during the process of the confession, the court finds that the confessions so made by the accused have been caused due to any sort of threat, inducement or promise to have reference to the change against the accused person proceeding from a person in the authority and sufficient in the opinion of the court to provide the accused person grounds, which would appear to him reasonable for supporting that by making it he/she would gain any kind of advantage or avoid any evil of a secular nature in reference to the proceedings against him/her, it would not be relevant and also cannot be proved against the person making the statement[5]. Section 24 of the Evidence Act lays down the provisions for the exclusion of the confessions that are made non-voluntarily.

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS OF SECTION 24:

  • To attract the prohibition enacted in section 24, the following facts must be established:
  •  That such a confession has been made by the accused.
  •  Further, section 24 also involves that the confession so made, has been made to a person in authority.
  •  Also, the confession should be the statement in question.
  •  Section 24 also states that the confession has been fulfilled by reason of any sort of inducement, threat or any kind of promise, proceeding from a person in authority.
  •  Such an inducement, threat or promise must have some testimony to the charge against the accused.
  •  Moreover, the inducement, threat or promise must in the court’s opinion be sufficient to give the accused ground, which would appear to him reasonable for supporting that by making it that he/she would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceedings against him/her[6].

ILLUSTRATIONS:

  •  X and Y are jointly tried for the murder of Z. It is proved that X said, “Y and I murdered Z.” The court may consider the effect of his confession as against Y[7].
  • A on his trial for the murder of B and also there is no proof or evidence to show that B was murdered by A and C. Further, C said, “A and I murdered B.” The statement may not be taken into account by the court against A and C is not being jointly tried[8].

GROUNDS FOR CONFESSION BEING IRRELEVANT:

Section 25 under the Act states that “No statements made to a Police Officer shall be considered as a confession for the purpose of proving that confession against that person who is accused in the case.” The conditions so explained under Section 25 of the Act have essential importance which confirms that any confession made by the accused to the police officer under any of the situations until provided, is totally not admissible as evidence in the court of law against the accused to prove the guilt[9].

INCULPATORY AND EXCULPATORY STATEMENTS:

In simple terms, an inculpatory statement refers to as, “where the accused directly admits his guilt.” an exculpatory statement, on the other hand, is the statement which discharges the accused from his liability. Any evidence which is beneficial to the defendant in a criminal trial is exculpatory[10]. Likewise, any evidence favourable to the prosecution is inculpatory[11]. A self-exculpatory statement obviously cannot amount to a confession. It has been held in Pati Soura vs State[12], that a statement that contains self inculpatory matter (self- defence case) doesn’t amount to confession if the exculpatory part pertains to some fact which if true would negative the offence alleged to be confessed[13]. Whereas, in Kanayalal Chaman Lal vs State of Gujarat[14], that a statement which when read as a whole is of an exculpatory character and in which the prisoner denies the guilt is not a confession also cannot be used in evidence to prove his/her guilt[15].

On the other hand, a fully self-inculpatory statement admitting all ingredients of the offence would be a clear confession. The complexity only arises in case of statements which are partly self-exculpatory and partly inculpatory[16]. Taking a hint from the decision in Palwi Narain Swamy’s case the Supreme Court held in Hanumant Govind Nargendkar vs. State of M.P[17]that admission must be used as a whole or not at all. It is not open to the court to detach and use an admission as to a fact in the authentication of the prosecution case and to overlook an explanation given in the course of the same statement as to an admitted fact. The views so expressed in the case of Emperor vs. Balmukund[18] by the Allahabad High Court was also similar to the previous case[19].

CONCLUSION:

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 was brought into force to provide speedy justice to the aggrieved person. The amendments were made to the Indian Evidence Act, the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to the sexual offences[20]. This evolution into the Evidence Act is essential so as to rejuvenate the belief of the people of India in the Judiciary system that justice would prevail and shall be provided to the resentful party for any kind of wrongs done to them. There are instances and cases where the trial does not begin for 2 to 4 years after the accused has been sent to judicial custody and the suffering person is kept to wait for his turn to claim justice. I believe that changes made into the recently amended laws related to the punishments of the wrongdoers is altogether an appreciable and a sharp move by the Indian Judiciary to safeguard its citizens and impart justice.


REFERENCES:

[1] Shodhganga, Confessions and its various dimensions, inflibnet.ac.in(Sep 21, 2009), https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/129429/11/11_chapter%204.pdf.

[2] Shraddha Chaudhary, Confession appears for the first time in section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act, Legal Service India.com, http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1547/Confession-under-Indian-Evidence-Act.html.

[3] Sahoo Vs. The State of U.P. AIR 1966 S.C. 42.

[4] Supra note 2.

[5] Supra note 2.

[6] Supra note 2.

[7] SRD Law notes, Confession and kinds of confession, srdlawnotes.com, https://www.srdlawnotes.com/2017/02/confession-and-kinds-of-confession.html.

[8] Ibid no. 7.

[9] Diva Rai, Confessions under the IndianEvidence Act, Ipleaders.in(July 10, 2019), https://blog.ipleaders.in/confessions-under-the-indian-evidence-act/.

[10] Inculpatory Vs. Exculpatory Evidence, Enrich Law Offices, http://www.notguiltynj.com/inculpatory-vs-exculpatory-evidence/.

[11] Ibid no.6.

[12] Pati Saura Vs. State (1970)36 Cut. LT 774.

[13] Supra note 1.

[14] Kanayalal Chamanlal 1970 Cr. L.J. 54 (Gujarat).

[15] Supra note 1.

[16] Supra note 1.

[17] Hanumant Govind Nargendkar Vs. State of M.P 1952 SCR 1091.

[18] Emperor Vs. Balmukund ILR 1930 All 1011.

[19] Supra note 1.

[20] The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018, 22 of 2018, Act of Parliament (India).


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