Judicial Dictionary

Confession valid

Now the law is clear that a confession cannot be used against an accused person unless the Court is satisfied that it was voluntary and at that stage the question whether it is true or false does not arise.

It is abhorrent to our notions of justice and fair play and is also dangerous, to allow a man to be convicted on the strength of a confession unless it is made, voluntary and unless he realises that anything he says may be used against him; and any attempt by a person in authority to bully a person into making a confession or any threat or coercion would at once invalidate it if the fear was still operating on his mind at the time he makes the confession if it “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”: S. 24, Indian Evidence Act.

That is why the recording of a confession is hedged around with so many safeguards and is the reason why Magistrates ordinarily allow a period for reflection and why an accused person is remanded to jail custody and is put out of the reach of the investigating police before he is asked to make his confession.

But the force of these precautions is destroyed when, instead of isolating the accused from the investigating police, he is for all practical purposes sent back to them for a period of ten days. It can be accepted that this was done in good faith and we also think that the police acted properly in sending the appellant up for the recording of his confession on the 21st; they could not have anticipated this long remand to so-called “jail custody”. But that is hardly the point.


Ref: AIR 1956 SC 217 : (1955) 2 SCR 1285 : (1956) CriLJ SC 421

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