Supreme Court of India
Ajay Singh vs State Of Maharashtra on 6 June, 2007
The expression 'confession' is not defined in the Evidence Act, 'Confession' is a statement made by an accused which must either admit in terms the offence, or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitute the offence. The dictionary meaning of the word 'statement' is "act of stating; that which is stated; a formal account, declaration of facts etc." The word 'statement' includes both oral and written statement. Communication to another is not however an essential component to constitute a 'statement'. An accused might have been over-heard uttering to himself or saying to his wife or any other person in confidence. He might have also uttered something in soliloquy. He might also keep a note in writing. All the aforesaid nevertheless constitute a statement. It such statement is an admission of guilt, it would amount to a confession whether it is communicated to another or not. This very question came up for consideration before this Court in Sahoo v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1966 SC 40: (1966 Cr1 U 68). After referring to some passages written by well known authors on the "Law of Evidence" Subba Rao, J. (as he then was) held that "communication is not a necessary ingredient to constitute confession". In paragraph 5 of the judgment, this Court held as follows:
...Admissions and confessions are exceptions to the hearsay rule. The Evidence Act places them in the category of relevant evidence presumably on the ground that as they are declarations against the interest of the person making them, they are probably true. The probative value of an admission or a confession goes not to depend upon its communication to another, though, just like any other piece of evidence, it can be admitted in evidence only on proof. This proof in the case of oral admission or confession can be offered only by witnesses who heard the admission pr confession. as the case may be.... If, as we have said, statement is the genus and confession is only a sub-species of that genus, we do not see any reason why the statement implied in the confession should be given a different meaning.
Supreme Court of India
Tarseem Kumar vs Delhi Administration on 18 August, 1994
The only remaining circumstance to be dealt with is the alleged disclosure made by the appellant and recovery of blood stained clothes belonging to the appellant at his instance. In view of Section 27 of the Evidence Act, there was no difficulty in accepting this evidence and to consider the same along with other circumstances if proved beyond all reasonable doubt. But the unfortunate feature of the present case, which has also been noticed by the Trial Court, is that many witnesses who can be said to be the stock witnesses to the police, have been produced on behalf of the prosecution to prove important circumstances. In this back-ground the Court has to be very cautions about the investigation done by the police in this case. The circumstance regarding the recovery of the blood stained clothes belonging to the appellant, on the disclosure made by him, has to be examined in the background of the witnesses like PW9, PW8 and 30, PWs2 and 3, on whom it is difficult to place any reliance for the reasons mentioned above. It is not possible to hold that the vital links of the prosecution case which are necessary to be proved before a finding can be recorded, that the chain of evidence is complete, have been proved beyond reasonable doubt. If the evidence of PWs2 and 3 are rejected, then the main circumstantial evidence that the appellant was in exclusive pos-sesion of the room in question and he had got the pit dug by PWs2 and 3 in which the dead body of the victim was found in the night of 18.10.1974, shall be deemed to have not been proved.
Apart from that the other two important circumstances, which connection the appellant, with the murder of Gulshan Rai i.e, he was seen with Gulshan Rai on 16.10.1974 and that he made extra judicial confession before PW8 and PW30, having been rejected, his conviction cannot be sustained merely on recovery of some of the articles belonging to the appellant in one of the rooms in question and alleged recovery of his clothes with blood stained from the residence of the appellant.
Supreme Court of India
State Of Haryana vs Ved Prakash on 21 February, 1992
It is one of the stated principles of law that a witness may lie but not the circumstances. But this Court through a number of pronouncements has repeatedly cautioned that the Court must adopt cautious approach while basing its conviction purely on circumstantial evidence. Therefore, our endeavour has been to find out whether the circumstances in this case would establish the crime attributed to the accused. The three important circumstances as the High Court has pointed out are (i) the deceased going towards the sugarcane field during which time also the accused was seen going in the same direction with the spade, (ii) the extra-judicial confession made to Dr. Raj Kumar in the presence of Lal Chand and (iii) the matching of the crime moulds found near the dead bodies. On a careful perusal of the judgment under appeal and on hearing the learned counsel for the appellant and the respondent, we are unable to persuade ourselves that the High Court has gone wrong. The fact the accused was going in the direction of the sugarcane field from where the bodies were recovered is hardly a circumstance which would ever establish the crime attributed to the accused. The prosecution has failed, in our opinion, to prove in conclusive manner the presence of the accused and the deceased in the same area before they met with death.
We fully concur with the finding of the High Court in relation to extra-judicial confession. First and foremost P.W. 31, Dr. Raj Kumar, had not seen the accused earlier nor did the accused know P.W. 31 earlier. Therefore, it sounds strange that the accused could have made an extra-judicial confession that too in the presence of P.W. 31 Lal Chand when both of them were strangers to the accused. It is equally surprising that Doctor kept ready a tape recorder anticipating his confession. It is clear this is an evidence brought out by influence; may be perhaps when the accused was in police custody. The medical evidence also does not support the extra-judicial confession when the Doctors and the post-mortem examination could not fix the cause for death.
Supreme Court of India
State Of Karnataka vs M.N. Ramdas on 5 September, 2002
With regard to the extra judicial confession, the trial Court neither discarded nor relied upon it apparently for the reason that according to the decision cited before him - Rahim Beg and Another Vs. State of U.P. (1972 (3) SCC 759) such confession is a weak evidence especially when it is made before a person with whom the accused had no previous contacts. The learned Sessions Judge observed that even if the extra judicial confession is eschewed from consideration the other circumstances referred to supra are sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused.
The learned Sessions Judge concluded that the circumstances form a complete chain and rule out reasonable likelihood of innocence of the accused.
Before we proceed to the consideration of the High Court's judgment, we deem it appropriate to refer to a recent decision of this Court in Gura Singh Vs. State of Rajasthan (2001 (2) SCC 205) wherein the evidentiary value to be attached to the extra judicial confession has been explained thus :
"It is settled position of law that extra-judicial confession, if true and voluntary, it can be relied upon by the court to convict the accused for the commission of the crime alleged. Despite inherent weakness of extra-
judicial confession as an item of evidence, it cannot be ignored when shown that such confession was made before a person who has no reason to state falsely and to whom it is made in the circumstances which tend to support the statement. Relying upon an earlier judgment in Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh V. State of Vindhya Pradesh this Court again in Maghar Singh V. State of Punjab held that the evidence in the form of extra-judicial confession made by the accused to witnesses cannot be always termed to be a tainted evidence. Corroboration of such evidence is required only by way of abundant caution. If the court believes the witness before whom the confession is made and is satisfied that the confession was true and voluntarily made, then the conviction can be founded on such evidence alone. In Narayan Singh V. State of M.P. this Court cautioned that it is not open to the court trying the criminal case to start with a presumption that extra-judicial confession is always a weak type of evidence. It would depend on the nature of the circumstances, the time when the confession is made and the credibility of the witnesses who speak for such a confession. The retraction of extra-judicial confession which is a usual phenomenon in criminal cases would be itself not weaken the case of the prosecution based upon such a confession. In Kishore Chand V. State of H.P. this Court held that an unambiguous extra-judicial confession possesses high probative value force as it emanates from the person who committed the crime and is admissible in evidence provided it is free from suspicion and suggestion of any falsity. However, before relying on the alleged confession, the court has to be satisfied that it is voluntary and is not the result of inducement, threat or promise envisaged under Section 24 of the Evidence Act or was brought about in suspicious circumstances to circumvent Sections 25 and 26. The court is required to look into the surrounding circumstances to find out as to whether such confession is not inspired by any improper or collateral consideration or circumvention of law suggesting that it may not be true. All relevant circumstances such as the person to whom the confession is made, the time and place of making it, the circumstances in which it was made have to be scrutinized."
Examined in the light of the enunciation of law as above, we are of the view that the testimony of PW 2 as regards the confession made by the accused at the earliest point of time is such as to inspire confidence in the mind of the Court. PW 2 may be a stranger to the accused but it should also be noted that there is absolutely no reason why he should unnecessarily implicate the accused. Without any loss of time he brought to the notice of PW 3 and the police the factum of confession made by the accused soon after the crime. His version in this regard is supported by PW 3 who, being the father of the proprietor of the lodge, came to the lodge immediately after receiving the phone call from PW 2. The conduct of the accused in committing the murder and immediately revealing this fact to a stranger like PW 2 may not be consistent with the ordinary human conduct. It may be difficult to speculate as to what prompted the accused to confess the commission of crime before PW 2 and to remain in the lodge after the incident. But, on that account, there need not be astute reluctance on the part of the Court to accept the extra- judicial confession. The unnatural conduct on the part of the accused will not necessarily shake the veracity of PW 2's testimony but it will put the Court on guard to get the assurance of truth in the prosecution case by corroborative evidence including circumstantial factors. We have before us the evidence of PW 3 who corroborates the version of PW 2 and both these witnesses have no reason to falsely implicate the accused. That apart, the circumstances referred to by the trial Court are almost clinching and lend assurance to the correctness of the version of PW 2.
Supreme Court of India
Sakharam Shankar Bansode vs State Of Maharashtra on 2 April, 1993
It is well-settled now that a retracted extra-judicial confession, though a piece of evidence on which reliance can be placed, but the same has to be corroborated by independent evidence. That apart, the court must be satisfied that the confession alleged to have been made to P.W-11 was true and voluntary one and in judging the same, the conduct of P.W-11 and the circumstances which impelled the accused to make such a statement to P.W- 11 should be above suspicion. P.W-11 deposed that he and the accused studied together some years ago and thereafter they left the school and P.W-11 was working as a labourer. P.W- 11 further admitted that 7 or 8 years back, the accused and the father left the village and two years prior to this occurrence he met him and during the period, the accused did not even visit his house. P.W-11 further admitted that he did not inform anybody and he did not even think of informing the police even after coming to know that the accused committed the murder. Though he has stated that he informed his mother but no statement of the mother has been recorded as such. P.W-11 further deposed that on 8-5-77 the accused was living in the village on which date he was arrested. But he has not stated so before the police. This conduct of P.W-11 throws any amount of suspicion on his veracity. Unless we are satisfied that the extra-judicial confession itself is true, voluntary and reliable we cannot proceed further to examine whether there is any other independent corroboration evidence. There are many suspicious features in the evidence of P.W-11. It becomes highly doubtful as to why the accused should cover such a long distance and go all the way to P.W-11 to confess his crime and then immediately leave his house. This is a retracted extra judicial confession which is the sole basis on which both the courts have relied and based the conviction. We are not satisfied with the evidence of P.W-11 and his conduct also throws any amount of doubt about the truthfulness and the version given by him. If P.W 11 's evidence becomes unreliable, then there is no other circumstance to connect the accused with the crime. In the result, the appellant is given benefit of doubt and the conviction and sentence awarded against him are set aside. The appeal is accordingly allowed.
Supreme Court of India
Heramba Brahma And Anr. vs State Of Assam on 4 November, 1982
There was no history of previous association between the witness and the two accused as may justify the inference that the accused could repose confidence in him. In the circumstances, it seems highly improbable that the two accused would go to Mohmed Nasim Khan and blurt out a confession.