The term ‘Confession’ is not defined in the Indian Evidence Act. Mr. Justice Stephen’sDigest of the law of Evidence’ defines confession as “an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime stating or suggesting the inference that he committed that crime.” The inference that the statement should suggest should be that he is guilty of the crime. The word "confession" appears for the first time in Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act. This section comes under the heading of Admission so it is clear that the confessions are merely one species of admission.

In the case of Palvinder Kaur v. State of Punjab AIR 1952 SC, Supreme Court approved the Privy Council’s decision in Pakala Narayana Swami v. Emperor AIR 1939 over two points:

~That the definition of confession is that it must either admit the guilt in terms or admit substantially all the facts which constitute the offence.

~That mixed up statement which even though contains some confessional statement will still lead to acquittal, such statements cannot be considered as a confession.

Nishi Kant Jha v. State of Bihar 1959 SC in this case, Supreme Court held that court can reject the exculpatory part of statement and for the punishment of accused. Court can take any corroborated evidence to support the statement. Also, Supreme Court highlighted that there is no wrong on relying some part of statements confessed by the accused and neglecting the other part, the court has traced out this concept from English Law and when court in its capacity understood that it has enough evidence to neglect the exculpatory part of the confession, then it may rely on the inculpatory part such confession.

Forms of Confession:

~Judicial confession:

These are those which are made before a magistrate or in court in the due course of legal proceedings. A judicial confession has been defined to mean “plea of guilty on arrangement” made before a court if made freely by a person in a fit state of mind.

~Extra-judicial confessions:

These are those which are made by the accused elsewhere than before a magistrate or in court it is not necessary that the statements should have been addressed to any definite individual. It may have taken place in the form of a prayer. It may be a confession to a private person. An extra-judicial confession has been defined to mean a free and voluntary confession of guilt by a person accused of a crime in the course of conversation with persons other than judge or magistrate seized of the charge against himself.

~Retracted confession:

The English meaning of retraction is ‘the action of drawing back something’ retraction confession is a type of confession which is previously voluntarily made by the confessor but afterwards it is revoked or retracted by the same confessor. Retracted confession can be utilised against the person who is confessing some retracted statements if it is substantiated by another independent and corroborative evidence.

Confession caused by Inducement, Threat or Promise, when irrelevant in criminal proceeding (Section- 24):

A confession made by an accused person is irrelevant in a criminal proceeding, if the making of the confession appears to the Court to have been caused by any inducement, threat or promise,1 having reference to the charge against the accused person, proceeding from a person in authority and sufficient, in the opinion of the Court, to give the accused person grounds, which would appear to him reasonable, for supposing that by making it he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceedings against him.

Confession to police (Section 25):

Confession to police officer not to be proved. Reasons for exclusion of confession to police-another variety of confessions that are under the evidence act regarded as involuntary are those made to a personnel. Section 25 expressly de dares that such confessions shall not be proved.

In R v. Murugan Ramasay, (1964): Police authority itself however, carefully controlled carries a menace to those brought suddenly under its shadow and the law recognises and provides against the danger of such persons making incriminating confessions with the intention of placating authority and without regard to the truth of what they are saying making incriminating confessions with the intention of placating authority and without regard to the truth of what they are saying.

Confession of an Accused in Police Custody to anyone else (Section 26):

Section 26 provides that a confession which is made in custody of a police officer cannot be proved against him. Unless it is made before a magistrate.

How much of information received from accused may be proved (Section 27):

Section 27- Provide 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.

Confession made after removal of impression caused by Inducement, Threat or Promise (Section 28):

Section 28 provides that if there is inducement, threat or promise given to the accused in order to confess the guilt from him but the confession is made after the impression caused by any such inducement threat or promise has, in the opinion of the court been fully removed, the confession will be relevant becomes pre and voluntary.

Confession otherwise relevant not to become irrelevant because of Promise of Secrecy (Section 29):

In such a confession is otherwise relevant, it does not become irrelevant merely because it was made under a promise of secrecy, or in consequence of deception practiced on the accused person for the purpose of obtaining it, or when he was drunk, or because it was made in answer to question which he need not have answered, whatever may have been the form of those questions, because he was not warned that he was not bound to make such confession and that evidence if it might be given against him.

Consideration of Proved Confession affecting person making it and others jointly under trial for the same offence (Section 30):

When more persons than one is being tried jointly for the same offence and a confession made by one such persons affecting himself and some other such persons is proved, the court may take into consideration such confession as against such other person as well as against the person who makes such confession.

Evidentiary Value of Confession:

Confession is considered highly reliable because no rational person would make an admission against himself unless promoted by his conscience to tell the truth.

Shankaria v state of Rajasthan AIR 1978 SC

Judicial confession is substantive evidence but it should be voluntarily. Extra judicial confession is weak evidence as compare to judicial confession.

Under Section 80 of the Indian Evidence Act 1862, a confession recorded by magistrate according to law shall be presumed to be genuine. It is enough if the recorded judicial confession is filed before the court. It is not necessary to examine the magistrate who recorded it to prove the confession (Kashmira Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 1952) but identity of accused has to be proved.

Difference between Admission and Confession:

Sr. No

Admission

Confession

1.

Admission usually relates to civil transaction and comprises all statements amounting to admission defined under section 17 and made by person mentioned under section 18, 19 and 20.

Confession is a statement made by an accused person which is sought to be proved against him in criminal proceeding to establish the commission of an offence by him.

2.

Admissions may be used on behalf of the person making it under the exception of section 21 of evidence act.

Confessions always go against the person making it.

3.

Admission by one of the several defendants in suit is no evidence against other defendants.

Confessions made by one or two or more accused jointly tried for the same offence can be taken into consideration against the co-accused (section 30).

4.

Admission is statement oral or written which gives inference about the liability of person making admission.

Confession is statement written or oral which is direct admission of fact.

 

5.

Admissions are not conclusive as to the matters admitted it may operate as an estoppel.

Confession if deliberately and voluntarily made may be accepted as conclusive of the matters confessed.

6.

An admission is genus.

Confession is specie hence all confessions are admissions but all admissions are not confessions.