Confession Under Indian Evidence Act, 1872- A Critique

Published On: 25th March, 2024

Authored By: Manya Sethi
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES)


“A confession, if freely and voluntarily made, is proof of the maximum quality character.”

-Eyre C. B.

The pursuit of a criminal prosecution, the basis of which is on truth and accuracy, depends critically on confession. It is an act of contrition at the part of the accused. The veracity of the confession is to the accused’s advantage because, according to logic, it must be given the most credit. After all, it stems from the strongest sense of guilt. Therefore, confession is crucial in determining the course of the trial. There are many different types of confessions, including extra-judicial, judicial, and retracted confessions. To prevent smudged evidence from being used in court, the courts must consider whether such confessions are admissible.

This essay makes an effort to evaluate the admissibility of the accused’s confession in light of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The question of how much of the confessions the accused provided to the police may be used against them in determining whether or not they were conclusive has also been addressed.


“Confession is an admission made at any time via way of means of someone charged with against the law pointing out or suggesting the inference that he devoted that crime?”

                   -Justice Stephen (Digest of the Law of Evidence)

Confession conspicuously adds impetus to the determination of criminal trials. It isn’t always explicitly described in the Indian Evidence Act and looks below the heading of admission. According to Lord Atkin, a confession have to be admitted in phrases of guilt or substantially all of the statistics visa-vis the offense.  However, the admission of a gravely incriminating truth is not, consistent with se, a confession.

Confession cannot be viewed as the only foundation for a conviction because it is an undeniable fact that confessions should be used as supporting evidence. Confessional testimony presents a special set of issues for the court to handle, nevertheless.It is pertinent to note that confessional statements have a powerful probative value that could afford the investigating wing an opportunity to fabricate and deploy unjust means to obtain Confessions ensuing inside the mistreatment of the subject.


The Indian Evidence Act offers a confession from Section 24 to Section 30. Further, confession is dealt with under Sections 164, 281, and 463 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.  A confession is an admission or acknowledgment of the offense via way of means of the accused. Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act refers back to the relevancy of a confession and it is right here that the period confession seems for the primary time inside the Act.  Therefore, confession implies recognition of statements proving the guilt of the accused and it takes much paperwork viz., judicial confession, extra-judicial confession, formal and retracted confession et cetera.

However, it should be emphasized that confession is the subset of admission and they are not the same; the former goes into criminal proceedings and the latter into civil proceedings. Further, the presumption as to confessional statements runs that an accused would not admit untrue statements as it always goes against the person making it, thus, confession is regarded as the best form of evidence.


(i) Judicial Confession: Meaning & Statutory Provisions

This essay as the term implies, judicial confessions are those that are made in court as required by law or documented in front of a magistrate. The following ideas decide the admissibility of courtroom docket confessions: Section eighty of the Indian Evidence Act; wherein if the confession is made withinside the presence of a Justice of the Peace or the court recorded by the magistrate in the due course of legal proceedings, then such confession shall be presumed to be true and genuine confession upon which the accused can be duly tried.

Under Section 164 of CrPC Justice of the Peace is empowered to report the confession of the accused thereby organising that the recording of confessions is an one of a kind area of the judiciary and the executive lacks authority to record confessions.

(ii) Extra Judicial Confession: Meaning & Evidentiary Value

Confessions that are made by the accused elsewhere in the absence of a magistrate or in the court are considered as an extra-judicial confession.  A free and voluntary confession of guilt when done during a conversation with any person other than a magistrate is termed as an extra-judicial confession as against plea of guilty on an arrangement which is made before a court by the person in a fit state of mind.  Therefore, the extra-judicial confession lacks evidentiary value as against judicial confession.

Relevancy and Admissibility of Judicial and Extra Judicial Confession

The Indian Evidence Act addresses the admissibility and relevance of both extrajudicial and judicial confessions in Sections 24 to 27.

As in keeping with Section 24 if the courtroom docket is of the view that the confession has been made via way of means of inducement, threat, or promise regarding the price that the accused character faces To having a few gain to break out evil of a temporal nature vis-a-vis court cases towards him at the example of someone in authority or sufficient, then such confession could be irrelevant in the court of law.

Therefore, the following circumstances are essential under Section 24:-

  1. The confession must not be made out of inducement, threat promise, etc.
  2. Confession should relate to a charge in question upon the accused.
  3. It has to continue on the example of someone in authority or sufficient.
  4. Should provide sufficient temptation of escape from evils of temporal nature.

First and foremost, it is believed that judicial confessions may be used as support for a conviction, but extrajudicial confessions should not be used as support for a conviction, as stated in the ruling in Balwinder Singh v. State of Punjab.[1] The rationale behind this jurisprudence lies in the rationale that extra-judicial confession requires the support of other supporting evidence as held in Pakkirisamy vs. State of TN.[2]

However, reliance can be placed on judicial confession as proof of guilt if the same is made voluntarily and appears true to the court as held by the Supreme Court in Narayan Singh &Ors vs. State Of M.P.[3]

Evidentiary Value of Confession

It is fundamental to note that a confessional statement made before a magistrate by the accused is considered as a piece of good evidence and conviction can proceed on the basis of such a confessional statement. However, it is to be noted that the same could be used against the accused for that would be sufficient to support the conviction. Thus, the confession given by an accused person is regarded as substantive evidence upon which conviction can happen.

This essay According to legal precedent concerning the value of a conviction’s evidence, a conviction can only be reached on the basis of a confession that can be shown to have been freely given and to be totally true, along with general corroboration to support the evidence.

Furthermore, extra-judicial confession is not regarded as a strong piece of evidence, therefore, requires great caution from the courts as held in State of Karnataka v. A.B.Nag Raj.[4] It requires corroboration which connects the accused with the crime in question. Furthermore, if reliable evidence isn’t present to support a retracted confession, it’s risky to build a case around it. Retracted confessions shouldn’t be used as the foundation for a conviction unless they are well supported, according to common sense and caution.[5]

Statements of the Accused made before the Police

Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act provides that statements made to a police officer shall not be considered as a confession vis-a-vis proving of the confession against the person accused as held in Dagdu v. State of Maharashtra.[6] It restricts the court from establishing the guilt of the accused based on the confession made in police custody as laid down in V. Murugan Ramasay.[7]

Therefore, Section 26 acts as the safety valve that protects the accused because such confession is not admissible as evidence until provided to prove the accused’s guilt. It also provides that confessions made to the police officer could be admissible if it is duly recorded in the immediate presence of a magistrate. However, if the statements are not confessional and do not substantially admit all the facts of the offense, then such a statement would be inadmissible if made to a policeman.

Therefore, the conundrum arises how far can the statements of the accused made before the police can be used against the accused? Section 27 comes into play here which provides that any fact that is discovered in consequence of information given by the accused to the police officer provided that the discovered fact does not relate to the information provided may be proved.[8]


According to the researcher, proper standards must be in place to guarantee that acceptance of a confession as evidence is only admissible if it is true and trustworthy and was not gained by abusing the accused. These steps are necessary to protect the accused’s right to corroborated statements. A established legislation on the matter is urgently needed since, according to the researcher, there is a conundrum about the assumption of the evidential value of extrajudicial confessions, which has been the subject of numerous conflicting court rulings.

Consequently, the researcher supports the position that the exclusion of confessions gained through oppression is permitted by law, as the aforementioned analysis has duly noted.

The justification for supporting this rule is based on the understanding that the accused has the right to be free from police abuse and torture, even when those tactics are employed to coerce a confession. These cruel and unfair tactics are sometimes covered up under the pretense of exercising authority.




  1. Diva Rai, Confessions under the Indian Evidence Act, IPLEADERS BLOG, (March 27, 2020)
  2. Dr. M. Sarda, Extra Judicial Confession – Relevancy and Admissibility: A Study, (March 27, 2020),
  3. Extra Judicial Confession, SCC ONLINE BLOG, (March 27, 2020),
  4. Shaheen Banoo, Analysing Section 164 of CrPC vis-a-vis Smt Seema Devi vs. the State of U.P. 2016, (March 27, 2020),
  5. Jiby J., Making Confessions in Police Custody Admissible as Evidence is a Terrible Idea, (March 28, 2020),
  6. Police Diaries and Statements Before the Police, (March 28, 2020),



  1. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  2. The Evidence Act, 1872.
  3. The Indian Penal Code, 1860.


[1] Sahadevan vs. State of TN, AIR 2012 SC 2435

[2] AIR 1998 SC 107.

[3] 1985 AIR 1678.

[4] (1994) ILLJ 851 SC

[5] Analysis Of Various Aspect Of Law Relating To Confessions, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS AND ALLIED ISSUES, 2017.

[6] A.I.R. 1977 S.C. 1579.

[7] (1964) 64 C.N.L.R. 265 (P.C.).

[8] Police Diaries and Statements Before the Police, (March 28, 2020), COURTRULEFILE_STQI6VXX.PDF,

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