Table of Contents
Confession in a criminal case goes on the same footing as an admission does in a Civil case i.e. a person who makes the confession will not make an untrue statement against himself. He would be of sound mind and competent age. His confession statement shall be made with free will and not by inducement, threat or malpractices. Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 states that, the confession is irrelevant when it is made by the accused through inducement, threat or a promise. In addition to this, the inducement threat or a promise made must have a reference to the “charge against the accused”, they must have come from an “authority” and they should give a “reasonable ground” to the accused to think that, he will be benefitted or he may escape from the clutches of Law. Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 precisely tells that a confession made to a police officer is inadmissible in Law. But Section 27 deviates a bit and tells to what extent a statement of the accused can be proved. This article focuses on Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
The term “confession” remains undefined in the act. It is the admission made at any time by a person who is charged with a crime. In Pakala Narain Swami vs. Emperor, AIR 1939 PC 47 it was held that “A confession must either admit in terms the offence, or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitute the offence”.
It is of paramount importance to note that, in order to decide whether a statement is confessional or not, reading it as a whole is important.
Relevancy of Confession
Confession in a criminal case becomes relevant when:
- It is made, after the impression caused by any inducement, threat or promise, has been fully removed,
- It is not made to a Police officer,
- It is made in the presence of a Magistrate when the accused is in the custody of the Police.
Section 27: Discovery of Fact
Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 states that, a confession made to a police officer is inadmissible. It is noteworthy to mention the principle laid down by section 27.
It says, if a confession of the accused leads to a discovery of a fact it may be presumed to be true. If any part of the confession leads to a discovery of a fact, that part of the confession is admissible and may be proved against the accused making it. The remaining portion of the confession stands inadmissible.
Since the provision begins with the term “Provided” it is a proviso which acts as an exception to Sections 25 and 26.
If a fact is actually discovered in consequence of an information given, the prosecution is guaranteed a bit that the information was true and can be admitted in evidence. The prosecution in order to adduce the Discovery statement as an evidence under Section 27 must produce a written record of the statement which led to the discovery.
In Parduman Singh vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 1992 SC 881 it was held that, “The broad ground for not admitting confessions made under inducement, threat or promise to a Police officer is, the danger of admitting false confessions, but the necessity for the exclusion disappears in a case provided by for this section when the truth of the confession is guaranteed by the discovery of facts in consequence of the information given”.
The Supreme Court in Jaffer Hussein vs. State of Maharashtra, AIR (1969) 73 Bom LR 26 while talking on the objective of Section 27 stated that “For the application of this section, the prosecution must establish that, the information given by the accused led to the discovery of some fact deposed to by him. The discovery must be of some fact which the Police had not previously learnt from other sources and that the knowledge of the fact was first derived from information given by the Accused”.
The information becomes admissible only to the extent of the part leading to the discovery of a fact. The facts discovered are required to be within the purview of the knowledge of the accused only. Admissibility will come into effect only when these are present.
If the Investigating officer is unable to state the details of the information given by the accused, it makes the information inadmissible.
To bring the “Discovery” within the ambit of Section 27, the place from which the incriminating article was recovered must be the place of concealment which would be difficult for the police to discover without the assistance of the accused.
Disclosure Statement: Substantive or Corroborative Evidence?
In Dharam Pal vs. State of HP, 2015 Cr LJ 4598 it was held that, “Disclosure statement is not a substantive evidence to convict the accused persons but it is only a corroborative evidence”.
Recovery of Incriminating Articles and alleged Crime
Recovery of incriminating articles at the instance of the accused merely cannot incriminate the accused. It is required that the recovered articles should connect the accused with the crime alleged to have been committed by him. The important elements like evidentiary value, admissibility, etc. will be effective only when the nexus as mentioned above is established.
Accused of any Offence
It was held in Sarabjit Singh vs. State, 1998 Cr LJ 2231 (P & H) that, “The Statement should come from a person who is an accused. If the person, at the time of making a statement, is not an Accused then such statement is inadmissible.
Custody of a Police Office
The meaning of “Custody” does not confine itself to the boundaries of detention or confinement. A person making a voluntary statement to a Police officer which tells that an act was committed that the Law considers as an offence, submits himself to the custody of the Police officer.
The statement of the accused to a Police officer which leads to a discovery of a fact becomes admissible in evidence. But it is the duty of the Court to ascertain whether it was voluntary or not.
A person who makes a confession will not make an inaccurate statement against himself. His confession statement must be given voluntarily, without coercion, threats, or other unethical tactics. The Indian Evidence Act of 1872, a confession given by the accused under duress, threat, or promise is irrelevant. A confession given to a police official is specifically stated to be inadmissible in court in Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. However, Section 27 deviates a little and specifies the scope of an accused person’s statement’s admissibility. If an accused person’s confession results in the discovery of a fact, that information may be taken as true. Any portion of the confession that results in the revelation of a fact is admissible and may be utilized as evidence against the person who made it. The remaining confessional passage is inadmissible. A small chunk of relief is available to the prosecution when they adduce an evidence under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
Mr. S. Sriram, is a student of LL.B (3 years), B.M.S. College of Law, Bangalore
 LL.B (3 years), B.M.S. College of Law, Bangalore
 Pakala Narain Swami vs. Emperor, AIR 1939 PC 47
 Jaffer Hussein vs. State of Maharashtra, AIR (1969) 73 Bom LR 26
 Dharam Pal vs. State of HP, 2015 Cr LJ 4598
 Sarabjit Singh vs. State, 1998 Cr LJ 2231 (P & H)
 Ashish Batham vs. State of MP, AIR 2002 SC 3026
 Rammi vs. State of MP, AIR 1999 SC 3544