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This article is written by Abhilipsa Kar of 10th Semester of Birla Global University, Bhubaneswar, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


This article briefly discusses about the impact of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 on the admissibility of confession in criminal trials. Confession is an important part of the Indian Evidence Act in order to declare the accused guilty of an alleged crime. And confession must be made by the accused with his consent without any coercion otherwise it will not be admissible in a court of law. There are different forms of confession, like Judicial Confession, Extra Judicial Confession and Retracted confession. Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act briefly describes what constitutes a confession. There are various cases relating to confession in criminal trials. And there are other instances where confession is not admissible like a confession made before the police. There are other important Sections related to its which are Section 26, Section 27, and Section 30 under the Evidence Act.


Confession, Evidence, Criminal, Police, Accused, Admissible


A confession is an important piece of evidence under the criminal law in our country. It can be in the form of an acknowledgment or an admission made by an accused person, mentioning that they committed the said offence with which they are charged. It is a vital component of criminal trial, often being described as the proverbial ‘smoking gun’ that proves a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.[1] However, if the requirement of confession in the justice system must be carefully regulated to ensure individual rights protection and fairness in the legal system. But word ‘Confession’ is not defined under the act. All the provisions relating to confessions are mentioned under the heading of ‘Admission’ in the act. The definition of ‘admission’ which is mentioned under Section 17 of Indian Evidence Act is also applicable in cases of confession. According to Section 17, if a statement either in the form of oral or documentary which suggest any inference as toa any fact is issue or relevant fact will be termed as admission. The basic difference between admission and confession is that if such statement is made in case of civil proceedings it will call as an admission but if those statement made by a party charged with a crime it will be termed as confession. Another difference between admission and confession is a statement which may not amount a confession may still be relevant as an admission. Accordingly, a confession under the Act is a declaration made by a party facing criminal charges that raises questions about pertinent facts or raises issues regarding any facts at all. It should be implied by the statement that he is guilty of the offence.[2]


In our country, the laws related to govern the admissibility and requirement of confession are provided under the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. This act provides the standard laws and guidelines for what are the important statements which constitutes a valid confession under the Act, and the circumstances under which confession can be admissible in the court of law. Confession is defined under Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act. It defines that a confession as a statement which is made by an accused person or defendant which admits any facts in issue or relevant fact in the ongoing case and the statement provided by that person will be admissible as evidence against him.[3] This definition of ‘Confession’ provided under the act highlights the crucial points of an admission by the accused person regarding a fact that is relevant to the case. In other word, a confession is a statement of acknowledgment provided by the accused person in his involvement in the alleged criminal activity.


There can be various reason behind a confession made by an accused person. Confession could be made occasionally if the case’s facts and issues are phrased incorrectly. This is typically the outcome of questioning and the decision made by law enforcement. A confession can help eliminate any remaining questions and ambiguities surrounding the criminal act. Finding out the facts about the crime and how it occurred is helpful. Additionally, it facilitates the collection of information about the incident and helps detectives reach a conclusion based on analysis. To escape heavier punishments, an accused person may, nevertheless, occasionally acknowledge a crime.


Confessions might take several forms, and each situation is unique. Confession, however, tends to be classified into two categories: extrajudicial and judicial. Confessions vary depending on how, when, and where they are made. They also vary in terms of their evidentiary importance. In a court of law, a confession that is made to oneself is also regarded as being relevant evidence. And they are;

  • Judicial Confession
  • Extra Judicial Confession
  • Retracted Confession

Judicial Confession

A confession made in court or before a magistrate while legal proceedings are taking place is known as a judicial confession. Another term for it is an formal confession. If an accused person makes a confession in front of a magistrate or a court demonstrating his guilt—as long as the confession is “voluntary” and “true”—it will have substantive significance. It’s crucial to remember, though, that it would be tremendously difficult to condemn someone based only on such a confession. The confession must be sincere, free, and voluntary. Additionally, the accused’s guilt of committing the crime must be confirmed by the court. There should be no issue of any other corroboration appearing in the case and only when the court is certain then the court shall record the conviction of the offence to him. Although it might seem that a court confession should be sufficient to find someone guilty, it would be extremely risky to find someone guilty without sufficient evidence and only on the basis of that confession. In a court of law, an accused person may confess for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones may be impatience or a desire for the interrogation to end. Hence, a court’s confession cannot be used to convict someone in certain cases.

Extra Judicial Confession

Confessions made outside of a courtroom or in front of a magistrate are known as extrajudicial confessions. Another name for it is informal confession. Even if an extrajudicial confession is made in secret or to oneself, it still counts as one. Like with judicial confessions, though, the court must ensure that such confessions are sincere, voluntary, and free from undue coercion. Nobody should ever accuse themselves, and all confessions must be verified. The court will need to test the judicial and extrajudicial confessions in order to establish a fact because they have distinct evidentiary values. Extrajudicial confessions are typically seen as weak and unfavourable evidence. It requires a great deal more logic, precision, and persuasion. The court must make sure that no witness misinterprets any statement because there is a great deal of flexibility for interpretation. The court must confirm that a confession was made, that it is true, and why it was made to a specific witness. Cross-examination of the witnesses is therefore necessary. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that extrajudicial confessions have little value as evidence; nevertheless, if they are accompanied by other similar pieces of evidence, their value increases.

Retracted Confession

This kind of confession is one that the subject makes prior to the trial but later retracts. Following a criminal incident, the police look into the case and question the accused as well as any witnesses. A report is given to a magistrate by the police if they believe that the accused has committed any crimes. The police will take the accused to the magistrate to record his statement if he is ready to acknowledge his guilt. After being satisfied, the magistrate must record the statement that could be used as evidence in the court of law. When the accused is asked if he has done the crime or not during the trial, he may, however, respond negatively, claiming that he has not committed the crime. In addition, he has the option to retract any comments he made to the magistrate and claim that the police had an improper influence on him. The confession that the accused made to the magistrate prior to the trial in this kind of situation is referred to as a retracted confession.


In a situation where various people are accused of a crime and one of them makes a voluntary confession that would show his guilt, the court has the authority to find the other accused parties guilty as well. According to Section 30 of the IEA, a confession made by a co-accused may be used against both of him and the other co-accused if the confessor is one of the parties to the joint trial for the same offense, the confession is properly established, and it must have an impact on both of him and the other parties involved in the trial.[4] For the court to rely on co-accused testimony in order to find them guilty, there must be some form of corroboration.


Under Sections 26 and 27 of the IEA, confessions made to police officers are usually not admissible, with the exception of information about significant matters. Under Section 26 of the IEA, a confession delivered in front of a magistrate while the accused is in the police officer’s custody is admissible.[5]


A confession given to a police officer about the accused’s weapons or material things becomes relevant and admissible in evidence if it is verified (by subsequent facts) through the finding of those objects. According to Section 27 of the IEA, information about material objects relevant to the alleged crime an accused person is being held for that is discovered as a result of the accused person’s statement to the police while in custody is admissible and relevant. The court may therefore accept a declaration of this kind that is later verified by the finding of the objects. This section describes how the confession statement, which discloses information, is the source of discovery and how the fact that is discovered is the outcome. The fact and the information ought to be related to one another. A proviso to Sections 25 and 26 of the IEA, Section 27 serves as an exception. Additionally, this Section reduces the operation of Section 24 and qualifies it. The rationale behind the Section’s provision is the belief that information provided by the accused is important and admissible when it leads to the discovery of a fact. The discovery does not establish the accused’s guilt; more evidence must be presented in order to find the accused guilty.


Any confessional statement included in the accused’s filed FIR is not accepted as evidence. However, under Section 8 of the IEA, the confessional element may be used against him as proof of conduct. However, because the confession was written outside of the police officer’s presence, a letter that the accused delivered to the officer containing the confession was accepted.


If a weapon that was allegedly used in a crime is found, but there is no proof of the accused telling the police officer about it beforehand, the discovery is not admissible as evidence and has no bearing at all.   In a case where the accused took the investigating officer to a location and indicated where he had thrown away the Knife, which was later found there. However, because there was no previously recorded information, the court determined that the recovery was unlawful under Section 27 of the IEA. The accused’s account of events is not supported by the mere allegation that he showed the police and witnesses where he had hidden the recovered object. The Doctrine of Confirmation by Subsequent Events is the fundamental theory underlying Section 27 of the IEA. [6]


Section 27 clarifies the idea of the applicability of information obtained from the accused through unrelated confessions given to the police or while they are in their custody, which could aid in the subsequent investigation of case facts. According to Section 27, any fact that is forcefully uncovered when gathering information from an accused person for a police inquiry or while the person is in police custody, as well as any information that leads to the discovery of further pertinent facts, may be conclusively proven.[7]


The conditions under which a confession can be irrelevant are covered in Sections 24, 25, 26, and the pertinent portion of Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
The same Act’s Section 24 lists certain situations in which a confession based on one of these situations is no longer relevant. A confession made by someone accused of a crime is irrelevant, according to Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act, if the confession resulted from any inducement, threat, or promise, and the case involved a person in authority such as the police, magistrate, court, etc. Another requirement of this section is that the inducement, threat, or promise must be related to the charge of any crime, and all such inducements, threats, or promises must provide the benefit of temporal nature. [8]

It can be divided into 4 essential parts and they are;

  1. The confession ought to be free from coercion, threats, promises, etc.
  2. Such a confession ought to come from someone in a position of authority.
  3. It ought to be pertinent to the disputed charge.
  4. It ought to have either a temporal nature advantage or disadvantage.


In Pakala Narayana Swami v King Emperor,[9] the Privy Council decided that Because of Section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was revised and replaced by S. 34 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Amendment Act, 1923, the statement that the police had acquired from the accused prior to the arrest was not legally admissible into evidence. The statement was rejected, although additional evidence clearly demonstrated the deceased’s presence in the accused’s residence—the only point the statement attempted to show. It was determined that the proceedings in this case did not fail to uphold justice. In addition, the Council confirmed that the deceased’s statement about his trip to the accused’s home and meeting the accused’s wife, who lived there, was legitimately included in Pakala Narayana Swami v. King-Emperor. This was regarded as a statement that came under the jurisdiction of Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, describing some of the events leading up to the transaction that resulted in his death.

In Suresh Chandra Bahri v. State of Bihar, the finding and confiscation of items used to wrap the deceased’s body as well as fragments of her sari were done at the request of one of the accused. The recovered items were buried beneath the earth and were not visible or reachable by the public. The prosecution did not call any witnesses in public in this regard. Nonetheless, there was no uncertainty or flaw in the investigation officer’s evidence. The witness correctly recognised the items that were found. It was decided that the Investigating Officer’s failure to record the disclosure of the statement in these circumstances was not decisive.[10]

The Supreme Court lifted the rule in Pyare Lal v. State of Rajasthan[11] that a retracted confession only has sufficient significance to form another legal basis for establishing a conviction if the Court is satisfied that the confession was made voluntarily and truthfully. However, the court must attest that until and until these confessions are verified, the conviction cannot be based only on them.[12]


To ensure that confessions are only admitted into evidence when they are truthful and trustworthy and that they were not obtained by torturing the accused, appropriate standards must be established. These processes are necessary to safeguard the accused’s right to obtain reliable statements. Additionally, there is a dilemma around the presumption of the evidentiary value of extrajudicial confessions, which has led to a wide range of inconsistent court rulings, and it is thought that a set rule regarding the subject is required.


  1. Indian Evidence Act, no 1, Acts of Parliament, 1872 (India).
  2. https://lawctopus.com/clatalogue/clat-pg/types-and-admissibility-of-confession-under-indian-evidence-act/, last visited on 11th February,2024.
  3. https://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1547/Confession-under-Indian-Evidence-Act.html, last visited on 12th February,2024.
  4. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1689792/, last visited on 12th February,2024.
  5. https://blog.ipleaders.in/confessions-under-the-indian-evidence-act/, last visited on 12th February,2024.
  6. https://lawbhoomi.com/pakala-narayana-swami-v-king-emperor/#:~:text=Pakala%20Narayana%20Swami%20v%20Emperor%20%281939%29%20is%20a,the%20judgment%20of%20the%20High%20Court%20of%20Pana. last visited on 20nd February,2024.
  7. Dr. Avtar Singh, Principles of The Law of Evidence 294 (CENTRAL LAW PUBLICATIONS 2020).
  8. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/516808/, last visited on 20nd February,2024.

[1] https://lawctopus.com/clatalogue/clat-pg/types-and-admissibility-of-confession-under-indian-evidence-act/, last visited on 11th February,2024.

[2] Dr. Avtar Singh, Principles of The Law of Evidence 146 (CENTRAL LAW PUBLICATIONS 2020).

[3] Indian Evidence Act,1872, § 24, No 1, Acts of Parliament, 1872 (India).

[4] Indian Evidence Act,1872, § 30, No 1, Acts of Parliament, 1872 (India).

[5] Indian Evidence Act,1872, § 26, No 1, Acts of Parliament, 1872 (India).

[6] Indian Evidence Act,1872, § 27, No 1, Acts of Parliament, 1872 (India).

[7] Indian Evidence Act,1872, § 27, No 1, Acts of Parliament, 1872 (India).

[8] https://blog.ipleaders.in/confessions-under-the-indian-evidence-act/, last visited on 20nd February,2024.

[9] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/516808/, last visited on 20nd February,2024.

[10] https://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1547/Confession-under-Indian-Evidence-Act.html, last visited on 12th February,2024.

[11] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1689792/, last visited on 12th February,2024.

[12] https://blog.ipleaders.in/confessions-under-the-indian-evidence-act/, last visited on 12th February,2024.

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