Relevancy of Confession, Information & Admission

# Section 24 of the Evidence Act reads as follows:-

# “24. Confession caused by inducement, threat or promise, when irrelevant in criminal proceeding.–

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, 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.”

# Section 25 says as follows:-

# “25. 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.”

# Section 26 reads as follows:-

# “26. Confession by accused while in custody of police not to be proved against him.–

No confession made by any person whilst he is in the custody of a police officer, unless it be made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate, shall be proved as against such person.”

# Section 27 reads as follows:-

“27. How much of information received from accused may be proved.–Provided 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.”

Thus, on a reading of the above sections of the Evidence Act, it can be seen that Section 24 of the Evidence Act deals about the situation when the confession caused by inducement, threat or promise is irrelevant in a criminal proceedings.

Similarly, under Section 25 of the Evidence Act, the confession made by a person to a Police Officer, shall not be proved against such person accused of any offence.

But, on a reading of Section 26 of the Evidence Act, it can be seen that even if an accused, while in the custody of a Police Officer, makes a confession, the same can be proved as against him if such a confession was made in the immediate presence of the Magistrate.

So Sections 24 to 26 of the Act deal with confession. It is now a settled position of law that Section 27 is an exception to Sections 24, 25 and 26.

On a close reading of Section 27 of the Evidence Act, it can be seen that what made exempted or excepted is an information, whether the same is in the nature of confession or not, on condition that on the basis of such information, if any fact is deposed to as, discovered in consequence of the information received from a person accused of any offence, even if he is in the custody of the Police Officer and the same relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered can be proved against such accused.

On a scrutiny of the provisions of Sections 24 to 27, it can be seen that nowhere particularly in any of these sections, no distinction is drawn by the legislature with respect to the confession or information, as the case may be made or furnished, before or after the arrest. So the prohibition clause envisaged by Sections 24, 25 and 26 is applicable irrespective of the fact whether the accused is arrested or not.

Therefore, the exception under Section 27 is applicable and the information or confession saved is irrespective of the fact whether the person furnished or made the same, accused of any offence is arrested or not.

In the light of the decision reported in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Deoman Upadhyaya, AIR 1960 SC 1125, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act is one of a group of sections relating to the relevancy of certain forms of admissions made by persons accused of offences.

Sections 24 to 30 of the Act deal with admissibility of confessions i.e. of statements made by a person stating or suggesting that he has committed a crime.

By S.24, in a criminal proceeding against a person, a confession made by him is inadmissible if it appears to the court to have been caused by inducement, threat or promise having reference to the charge and proceeding from a person in authority.

By S.25, there is an absolute ban against proof at the trial of a person accused of an offence, of a confession made to a police officer. The ban which is partial under S.24 and complete under S.25 applies equally whether or not the person against whom evidence is sought to be led in a criminal trial was at the time of making the confession in custody. For the ban to be effective the person need not have been accused of an offence when he made the confession.

The expression, “accused person” in S.24 and the expression “a person accused of any offence” have the same connotation, and describe the person against whom evidence is sought to be led in a criminal proceeding.

As observed in Narayan Swami v. Emperor, 66 Ind App 66: AIR 1939 PC 47, by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, “S.25 covers a confession made to a police officer before any investigation has begun or otherwise not in the course of an investigation.”

The adjectival clause “accused of any offence” is therefore descriptive of the person against whom a confessional statement made by him is declared not provable, and does not predicate a condition of that person at the time of making the statement for the applicability of the ban.

Section 26 of the Indian Evidence Act by its first paragraph provides “No confession made by any person whilst he is in the custody of a police officer, unless it be made in the immediate presence of a magistrate, shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence.”

By this section, a confession made by a person who is in custody is declared not provable unless it is made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate. Whereas S.25 prohibits proof of a confession made by a person to a police officer whether or not at the time of making the confession, he was in custody, S.26 prohibits proof of a confession by a person in custody made to any person unless the confession is made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate.

Section 27 which is in the form of a proviso states “Provided 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.”

The expression, “accused of any offence” in S.27, as in S.25 is also descriptive of the person concerned, i.e., against a person who is accused of an offence, S.27 renders provable certain statements made by him while he was in the custody of a police officer.

Section 27 is founded on the principle that even though the evidence relating to confessional or other statements made by a person whilst he is in the custody of a police officer, is tainted and therefore inadmissible, if the truth of the information given by him is assured by the discovery of a fact, it may be presumed to be untainted and is therefore declared provable in so far as it distinctly relates to the fact thereby discovered.

Even though S.27 is in the form of a proviso to S.26, the two sections do not necessarily deal with evidence of the same character. The ban imposed by S.26 is against the proof of confessional statements. Section 27 is concerned with the proof of information whether it amounts to a confession or not, which leads to discovery of facts.

By S.27, even if a fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received, only that much of the information is admissible as distinctly relates to the fact discovered. By S.26,a confession made in the presence of a Magistrate is made provable in its entirety.

Again paragraph 18 of the very same judgment, the Apex Court has held that the expression “accused of any offence” is descriptive of the person against whom evidence relating to information alleged to be given by him is made provable by S.27 of the Evidence Act. It does not predicate a formal accusation against him at the time of making the statement sought to be proved, as a condition of its applicability.”

[The above discussion on Confession is extracted from a significant rulings of the Kerala High Court in Andichami @ Adiappan Vs. Sub Inspector of Police dated 24 August, 2011 in which Justice V.K. Mohanan opined that exception under Section 27, against the prohibition contemplated under Sections 24, 25, 26, is applicable and attracted, notwithstanding the fact that the information or confession, recorded from the person mentioned in Section 27, is arrested or not.

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