LEGAL DOSE Details
CONFESSION TO POLICE OFFICER IS IRRELEVANT IN THE EYE OF LAW
A confession is a statement made by the person charged with crime suggesting an inference as to any fact in issue or as to relevant facts. A confession may be defined a statement by a suspect in which he or she voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently acknowledges that he or she committed or participated in the commission of a crime and which makes it clear that there is no defence in law that would make his or her conduct lawful. A confession must be defined as an unequivocal admission of guilt by an accused person. Confessions and admissions remain proper elements in law enforcement and it has been shown in some reported decision that some criminal cases are capable of solution only by means of confessions and/or admissions.
There are three phases that are important in determining whether a confession is admissible in evidence.
- The first phase is when a suspect is interrogated by the police. This is a phase of our predominantly accusatorial system of criminal procedure. There is a need to protect a suspect against untoward conduct by the police during his interrogation.
- The second phase is when a confession is recorded either by a magistrate or a justice of the peace. This is a crucial stage because the “YES” and “NO” answers of a suspect on a roneod confession form and additional questions put to him may satisfy a court of law that a confession was made freely and voluntarily be an accused in his sound and sober senses and without having been unduly influenced thereto.
- The third phase is when the admissibility of a confession is challenged in court in a trial within a trial. If a suspect is undefended, he may not adequately exercise his procedural rights. But, if he or she made a confession to a magistrate, a suspect is presumed to have acted freely and voluntarily etc. and a confession is admitted in evidence on its mere production if his or her name corresponds to the name of the person who has signed the confession and if it appears on the document containing the confession that it was made freely and voluntarily and without his or her having been unduly influenced thereto the admissibility of confessions.
CONFESSION TO POLICE
According to SECTION-25 OF INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT 1872– Any confession made to the police officer is totally inadmissible in evidence. If the confession to police were allowed to be proved in evidence, the police would torture the accused and tus force him to confess to a crime which he might not have committed. A confession obtained would naturally be unreliable. It would not be voluntary such confession will be irrelevant whatever may be it form.
In other words the police is not considered trust worthy. It is apprehended that any power given to police to record confession or statement is more likely to me misused and overzealous police officer might extort or fabricate confession or manipulate statement.
STATEMENTS DURING INVESTIGATION AND BEFORE ACCUSATION
A confessional statement made by a person to the police even before he is accused f nay offence is equally irrelevant. A statement cannot be proved against any person accused of any offence means that even if the accusation is subsequent to the statement the statement cannot be proved.
A confession is considered involuntary if it is made during an investigation which by its nature, duration or other attendant circumstances creates hopes or fears or sp affects the mind of the suspect that his will crumbles.
CONFESSION IN POLICE CUSTODY
No confession is made to anybody while the person making it is in police custody is provable. The person in police custody is in conversation with any person other than a police officer and Confesses to his guilty. The same fear, namely that police the police would torture the accused and force him to confess. Statements made on TV and press reporters by the accused person in the presence of police and also in police custody held to be inadmissible.
SECTION 25 OF THE EVIDENCE ACT: CONFESSION TO POLICE OFFICER NOT TO BE PROVED
“No confession made to a police officer, shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence.”
The object of this rule is to prevent the extortion of confessions by police officers who in order to gain credit by securing convictions go to the length of positive torture.
A series of conflicting suggestions as to the rational underlying this inflexible statutory bar emerges from the decided cases:
(1) An objective and dispassionate attitude cannot be confidently be expected from police officers.
(2) The privilege against self incrimination has been thought to lie at the root of the principle.
(3) Importance has been attached to the discouragement of abuse of authority by the police that could erode the fundamental rights of the citizen.
Section 25 is an inflexible and a very wide provision disallowing any confessional statement made to a police officer.
This provision needs to be made a little flexible. Some confessions should be allowed to be proved against a person accused of any offence which are made to a police officer. Where a person is a proclaimed offender, confessions made by the accused to the police officer should be allowed.
The provision should be reworded in such a manner where the confessional statements made by a proclaimed offender to a police officer should be made relevant but these statements are to be made by the accused without any threat or violence.
Care must be taken to stop the torture by the police officers to extract confession but confessions made by an accused who is a proclaimed offender to a police officer without threat or violence being committed on the accused by the police officer should be made valid.
The rationale behind allowing confessions of a proclaimed offender is that, these criminals already have a history of committing crimes and they should not enjoy the immunity given to a common man that any confessional statement given to a police officer is not valid. These are dangerous criminals who should not be allowed to go scot-free due to a provision of law but be put behind bars and save the society from crimes.
ACCORDING TO SECTION 164 OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE lay down that the Magistrate is empowered to record any confession or statement of a person made during investigation by the police or at any time afterward, but before commencement of inquiry or trial. The confession recorded after the investigation has concluded and inquiry has commenced is not admission. The magistrate has been discretion to record the confession. But if he chooses to record t he has to comply with the following provisions-
- It should be recorded and shall be signed in the manner provided in section 281 of Cr.PC and shall be signed by the person making confession.
- The Magistrate should give a warning to the accused that he is not bound to make the confession
- The Magistrate should be satisfied that the confession is made voluntarily.
- The Magistrate shall make a memorandum at the foot of the confession so recorded