The credibility of an accused’s statement and confession can be viewed as a grey area because these statements and confessions can most likely be used against or in support of the accused only. As a result, it becomes all the more important to ascertain the credibility of the accused’s statement and confession. Since there is a risk that these statements and confessions would be forced upon the accused by police or other actors. As a result, courts must use the procedure for recording the accused’s statement and confession, which is enshrined in major statutes such as the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, as effectively as possible. These procedural laws are drafted in a way that does not result in a travesty of justice. This ensures that the courts are responsible for ensuring that the accused’s statement and confession are not obtained by intimidation, unfair force, or other means. The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 establishes the procedure for recording the accused’s statement and confession. The structure of the Indian Evidence Act determines the significance or authenticity of the accused’s statement and confession. India, like all common countries, establishes the discourse of accused statements and confessions through cases involving various facts and circumstances under which the accused statement and confession must be decided. This also helps to establish rules and procedures for an accused’s discourse declaration and confession. This field has been influenced by a number of significant judgments of the court. These landmark decisions have established important legal standards, but the Cr.P.C.’s provisions remain the most important source of guidance in this field. This also decides the veracity of the accused’s accusation and confession. Section 164, Section 302, Section 302A, and Section 364 of the Criminal Procedure Code provide specific guidance on the subject.
Legal Provisions Related Confession And Statement
Confession is the admission of guilt, or the stating or implying of guilt, by an accused person while in custody. A “confession,” according to Justice Stephen, is an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime saying or implying that he committed the crime. The Supreme Court stated in State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu that confessions are highly credible because no reasonable person can make an admission against himself unless compelled to do so by his conscience.
A confession can take several different forms. Judicial confession happens when an accused acknowledges his guilt directly in front of a court of law or before a judge in court. If it is made to those outside of the court, then it is referred to as an extra-judicial confession. It includes confessions made to a policeman or to someone else, as well as confessions made to oneself. It is frequently regarded as a weak form of proof.
The evidentiary significance of a statement made under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code is that it cannot be used as substantive evidence if the maker does not admit to the truth under oath during the trial. Before ruling on a confession made in front of a judicial magistrate under Section 164, the court must first be assured that the procedural conditions set out in Subsections (2) to (4) have been met. There are important precautions to ensure that the accused makes the confession willingly after being informed of the consequences of doing so. The court’s goal should be to consider whether the accused was under threat, duress, or inducement at the time of confession. It may be used to corroborate or contradict a statement made in the court in the manner provided under Section 157 and Section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act. The statement cannot be used as a substantive piece of evidence but it can be used for the purpose of corroboration and can be used to contradict by cross-examining the person who made it.
In Pakala Narayan Swami v. Emperor, the court held that when the accused admitted his guilt to the police and then declined to identify himself before the Magistrate and during the trial, it did not amount to confession because there was no overt admission of guilt by him. The Supreme Court further in State of Karnataka v. A.B.Nag Raj held that extra-judicial confession of an accused is not admissible under the IEA act and Cr.P.C. Due to ongoing disputes between the accused and his daughter-in-law, in the case of Sahoo v. State of UP, the accused killed her and mentioned that with her ends the daily quarrels. The court ruled that the statement constituted a confession, stating that it is not mandatory for a confession to be conveyed to another person in order for it to be relevant.
A confession may consist of several parts, and it is illegal to accept one part of a confession as proof while rejecting the rest. The whole confession must be accepted as evidence by the court. As a result, it’s important that the confessions be approved or rejected as a whole, and the Court can’t consider just the inculpatory part while dismissing the exculpatory part as unbelievable.
Subsection 5 of Section 164 of Cr.P.C. explains how to document the sentence. This subsection states that any statement (other than a confession) made under this subsection must be registered in the manner described below for the recording of evidence that is ideally suited to the circumstances of the case in the magistrate’s opinion. A magistrate may also administer an oath to the individual whose statement is being recorded. As a result, no such procedure is mandated, and it is up to the magistrate to handle the case in the most appropriate manner possible, taking into account the facts of the case. A declaration made pursuant to Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code. A statement made under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure may be used to corroborate or refute a statement made in court under Section 157 and Section 145 of the Evidence Act, 1872. It can be used for cross-examination of the individual who made it, as well as for corroboration. In the session’s court, a statement made by the witness under Section 164 Cr.P.C. may be used to cross-examine him and discredit his testimony. In contrast to the case of a police statement reported under Section 162, if a witness disputes the fact that his statement was recorded by a magistrate or if he denies that a particular portion of his statement was not informed by him, the magistrate does not need to investigate to prove inconsistency, as stated in the case of Guruvindapalli Anna Rao And Three vs State Of Andhra Pradesh.
The statement recorded by a Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate is a public document under Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872. Section 80 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 makes this evidence admissible. The court noted in the case of Rabindra Kumar Pal V. Republic Of India that the statement of a witness recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code is a public document that does not require any formal proof and does not necessitate summoning the magistrate who records it. The magistrate, in particular, should question the accused on why he wants to make a statement that would almost certainly prejudice his case, and he should be given enough time to consider his options. In the event that he refuses to make a confessional statement, he should be protected from some kind of alleged torture or police pressure. It was stated in the case of Rabindra Kumar Pal V. Republic Of India.
What Statements May Be Called A Confession?
A confession is a statement made by an accused person admitting to his or her guilt. As a result, the declaration would not be considered a confession if the maker does not implicate himself. Furthermore, a mixed statement that leads to acquittal despite containing certain confessional statements is not a confession. As a result, a statement that contains self-exculpatory material that is false will negate the offence and cannot be considered a confession. This is because a confession must be accepted or refused in its entirety, and the court cannot accept only the incriminatory portion while rejecting the exculpatory portion (statement of self-defence). The Supreme Court statement made during enquiry at pre-FIR stage was neither a confession nor a statement under Section 160 Cr.P.C.
Evolution Through Landmark Judgements On Statement And Confession
There are a plethora of landmark cases which add new perspectives to this discourse and also some of them lay down many procedures as to how the statement and confession are to be recorded. Some of them also clear the air about the technicalities of recording and also as to how to give a statement and confession as far as the accused are concerned. In the case of State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad, it was held that a statement and confession of an accused cannot be sued to self-incriminate the accused under Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution only when the person makes the statement and confession as an accused, it would not be considered self-incriminating if the person becomes an accused after making a statement and confession.
The case of R M Malkani vs State Of Maharashtra dealt with the admissibility of a tape recording of the accused’s statements and confessions. The case of R M Malkani vs. Maharashtra concerned the admissibility of tape recordings of the accused’s statements and confessions. The tape recording of the accused’s statements and confessions is admissible since the accused was not asked to make a statement or confession, so it does not breach any law or the Indian Constitution. This case was overruled by Nagree vs. State of Maharashtra, which dealt with the validity of tape recordings of statements and admissions made without the accused’s knowledge. The recording was found to be invalid since the accused had the option of speaking or not speaking.
The courts in the case of State Of Kerala vs KK Sankaran Nair have ruled that an accused being ordered by a judge to produce a specimen writing under Section 73 of the IEA Act is not invalid and that an accused giving the court a thumb or foot impression is not an invalid form of confession because it is not considered to be within the scope of self-incrimination.
The involuntary administration of certain scientific methods or tests to the accused, such as a lie detector test or a narco-analysis test, infringes on his right to self-administration, which ensures that any admission or confession made as a result of these tests would not be considered credible, as it is an unwarranted invasion of privacy or personal liberty, as stated in the case of Selvi & Ors vs State Of Karnataka & Anr.
An accused’s conviction can’t be administered solely on the idea of his or her retracted confession; this ensures that the court must carefully examine the accused’s confession to confirm that the retracted confession is supported by some material information. The confession would not be ordinarily considered fundamental for conviction. However, it is admissible, and conviction might also be based upon it if it is found truthful and voluntary and during a given case some corroboration is critical. Confessions that are not retracted during the course of the trial and are also acknowledged by the accused in the declaration under Section 313 of Cr.P.C. will be entirely relied on. So, the conviction based thereon along with other indirect evidence is sustainable.
It may thus be illustrated :
A, B, and C face charges of robbery and murder in X’s home. A confesses that he, B, and C were involved in a criminal conspiracy that committed robbery and murder in X’s home. He also admits that he was busy stealing properties when B and C threw X to the ground, sat on his stomach, and buttered him with a knife in front of X’s wife. The prosecution presented plenty of proof to prove their robbery and murder claims. Now, under Section 30 of the Indian Evidence Act, the Court may consider accused A’s confession against B and C in determining the seriousness of their involvement and the manner in which they committed the murder. In this case, the Court may take a different approach to justice, and instead of imprisoning A for life, it may sentence B and C to death for the murder of X. In a different case, A, B, and C are all charged with the same crime. A admits that he, B, and C were the perpetrators of the crime. The prosecution is unable to establish the charge. Even if B and C are acquitted, the court can detain accused A based on his confession.
As a result, a confession cannot be used as evidence, even though it has greater meaning as an admission of guilt by the accused himself and a confession made by one accused cannot be used against the other to convict him.
Suggestions To Increase The Efficacy Of This Discourse
The current mechanism according to which the statement and confession of the accused are recorded or according to which the credibility of the statement and confession of the accused is determined is quite efficient but needs improvement. It can be improved by following amended regulations of recording statements and confession, many other amendments regarding the whole discourse can be effectuated. So, below are some suggestive changes that can be effectuated in this discourse to improve its functioning.
Firstly, an organization or an establishment shall be created by the government, which should see to that the statement or confession of an accused is recorded without any usage of duress by the police or any concerned authorities. Even if the statement or confession of the accused in front of the police is not capable of incriminating him, but still it can be used for the purpose of the investigation by the police. So accordingly, it becomes important that the statement and confession of the accused are free from all the encumbrances, which can be efficiently done by setting up an organization which shall primarily look into that the police or any concerned authorities shall not use improper methods to record statement or confession of an accused and also the accused shall not come across any duress whole making statement and confession during the investigation.
Secondly, the courts shall resort to a way which is more justice-oriented rather than procedural-oriented. The procedure to record a statement and confession of an accused which is enshrined in Cr.P.C. and IEA is sacrosanct and shall be adhered to, but when courts determine the validity or credibility of the statement and confession of the accused, they shall keep the procedure secondary and primary focus on whether the statement and confession of an accused is voluntary or not and whether or not on the face of it, it appears self-incriminating or not, these things should be the focus of courts and to meet these ends, courts shall use the procedure enshrined in the codes rather than getting encumbered by the procedures itself to meet ends of justice.
Thirdly, a cell needs to be created to educate the accused about their legal rights, so that they do not get swayed by the police or any other officials by assuring them that if they will give a statement or a confession, then they will be acquitted or their punishment would be lessened in future. This legal cell shall consist of educated legal officials and social workers. Which shall as part of their working hours help such accused persons with the interaction or interrogation with the police, so that the credibility of the statement and confession of the accused remain sacrosanct and reliable.
These are some of the suggestions that can be applied, other than that, an amendment or a law pertaining to only redressing the grievances of this discourse can act as a great resolve as it would directly address the problems of this discourse.
The recording of statements under sections 161 and 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code is crucial in criminal trials. The object of an inconsistency between a witness’s testimony before the court and a statement recorded under Section 161 and Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. is not to impugn the witness’s credibility; rather, it is to warn the court, causing it to scrutinize the facts with great care. As a result, all judicial officers have a responsibility to pay particular attention to the provisions of Section 161 and Section 164 of the Code, as well as Section 145 of the Evidence Act, in order to have a thorough understanding of all applicable provisions.
The object of recording the statement is to preserve the evidence, to get the account of the testimony of the witness at the first instance and while it is still fresh and to preserve retraction of the testimony at the later stage.
This article is written and submitted by Neha Haldhar during her course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Neha is a B.S.W LL.B (Hons.) student from Gujarat National Law University.