Relevancy of Extra-Judicial confession


Author: Santoshi karasi


In a general sense, the term “Confession” refers to acknowledgment or admission of any statement made by any person who is guilty or in charge of any criminal act.  However, in legal terms, it is nowhere defined in any act or statute but the law relating to “Confession” is found in Section 24 to 30 of Indian Evidence Act and Section 162 to 164 of Code of Criminal procedure. According to Sir James Stephen in his “digest of the Law of Evidence” confession is defined as “As an admission made at the time by a person charged with the crime stating or suggesting the inference that he committed a crime” and the same accepted by the Indian courts”. 

 In Pakala Narayan Swami V. Emperor[1] Confession is defined as “A statement will be considered as confession only when the entire part of that statement indicates the guilt of accused, otherwise, it will not amount to confession”. 

Further, In Palvinder kaur v. State of Punjab[2] Supreme Court approved the decision of Privy Council in Pakala Narayan Swami Case and state that a statement that contains self exculpatory matter which if true, would negative the matter or offence cannot amount to a confession. The Supreme Court also stated that one can rely on a part of the confessional statement and can reject the rest[3]. Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act makes those confessions irrelevant which are made out of inducement threat or nonvoluntary. A confession untainted by any legal disqualification may be accepted as conclusive in itself of the matters confessed[4]


The confession is divided into two parts the first one is judicial Confession and another one is Extra-Judicial confession.

Judicial confessions refer to confessions that are made before the magistrate or in court during the legal proceeding and this can be also called Formal confession. Section 164 of CrPC empowers the magistrate to record confession whether or not he has jurisdiction in the case. And it must be given by the person with free will.

Extra-judicial confessions are those which are made outside the Court or a magistrate. The Extra-judicial confession must be voluntary and genuine. In other words when the confession is made to the court itself then it will be judicial confession, now the question may arise that How Extra-Judicial confession is relevant and admitted as evidence if it made out of court?


Confession is governed by Section 24 of Evidence act and the Extra-judicial confession has emerged from the same, this can be made to the private person which even includes the judicial officials in their private capacity. As held in the case Bhisheshwar Dhani Ram v. State[5], the Extra-Judicial confessions embrace those made as well to private individuals as to the officers of justice such as constable police officers, etc.

The evidence of Extra-judicial confession is a week piece of evidence and the court can rely upon it only when it is not ambiguous and convincing. It is up to the court to decide whether a person before whom the confession is said to have been made is a trustworthy witness. In the case State of Madhya Pradesh v. Paltan Mallah[6] it was held that Extra-judicial confession is a good piece of evidence but it has to be passed through the stringent test of corroboration and proof.

The court also has to satisfy[7]:

  • Voluntariness of the confession
  • Truthfulness of the confession
  • Corroboration (verification)

It is not at all necessary that the confession made to others will be considered as Extra-judicial confession, however, the confession can be made by talking own self. In, Sahoo v. the State of U.P[8], newly wedded women joined the new house of her husband and after some time the accused murdered his daughter-in-law, and after murdering her daughter-in-law he screamed “I have finished her” and in the course of his statement many of his neighbors heard his statement stating “I have finished her”. In this case, the court observed that the statements made by the accused should be considered as confession and they shall be regarded as confessionary in nature.

The Extra-Judicial confession may be in writing or oral. If in case it was found a written confession the writing itself will be considered as evidence and the same will be admitted in the court but if it is not available and the confession has not been recorded or not produced, then they should prove the statement.

The Extra-Judicial is a week piece of evidence, in spite of that, it can be the basis of Conviction if it found to be reliable. In Sahadevan Vs. State of Tamil Nadu[9], the Supreme Court observed as Wherever the court, upon the appreciation of the entire prosecution evidence, intends to base a conviction on an extra-judicial confession, it must ensure that the same inspires confidence and is corroborated by other prosecution evidence.


The Extra-Judicial Confession should be truthful and made voluntary without any suppression. Since it is week evidence so it must be examined by the court with proper care and caution, the proper scrutiny is required for the establishment of evidence. Thereby, its main feature is that it must be verified, in addition, it is pertinent to note the above relevance and admissibility need to be applied in deciding the other cases for the sake of justice. The accused person should not be forced to make a self incriminatory statement and also not to be compelled to be a witness against himself. Thus, the constitutional rights of a person must not violate while confessing.

[1] ILR7A11.646

[2] AIR 1952 SC 354

[3] Nishi Kant Jha v State of Bihar1969 AIR 422

[4] (1907)32 Bom iii(FS)

[5] 1963) ILJ 645

[6] 2005, 3 SCC 169

[7] Aloke Nath Dutta Vs. State of WB (2007) 12 SCC P.230

[8] 1966 AIR 40, 1965 SCR (3) 86

[9] AIR 2012 SC P.2435.