Confession in Criminal Trial


In spite of the fact that it is an unfamiliar reality that the term ‘confession’ is no place characterized or expressed in the Indian Evidence Act, however the derivation clarified under the definition of admission in Section 17 of Indian Evidence Act additionally applies to confession in a similar way. Section 17 expressly provides that any statement whether oral or in the form documentary which put forward for the consideration of any conclusion to the fact in issue or to the relevant facts.

The confession is something which is made by the individual who is accused of any criminal offences and such proclamations given by him will propose an end with regards to any reality in issue or as to important realities. The statements may infer any reasoning for concluding or suggesting that he is guilty of a crime. Admission by the accused in the criminal proceedings is a confession.


Confessions confessed by more than one person jointly for the same offence can be considered against other accused of the same crime under Section 30 of the Indian Evidence Act. Confession is the direct admission of matter or facts of the cases either in the form of a written or oral statement.

A confession may be of the different type according to the matter of the cases Comprehensively confession is separated into two distinctive statuses like-when the confession by the methods for articulations is given itself in the official courtroom then such confession will be considered as legal admission, though, when the confession by the method of proclamations is delivered at wherever other than court then such confession will lead towards extrajudicial confession.

The exceptional feature of confession is that a conversation to himself also leads toward a confession and this feature was lighted in the case of Sahoo v. The State of U.P. where the accused has murdered his son’s newly wedded wife as he usually has serious arguments with her, and when the accused killed daughter-in-law it was seen and heard by many people living there that he was uttering words while stating that “I finished her and now I am free from any daily quarrels”.

The court observed in this case that the statement or the self conversation made by the accused shall be considered as a confession to prove his guilt and such confession should be recognized  as a relevant in evidence in administering justice, and just being in the case that the statements are not communicated to any other person, other than him does not dilutes the relevancy of a confession. Therefore confession made to him is also quality evidence which will be considered as relevant evidence in a court of law.

Types of Confession

Formal Confession

Formal admission is otherwise called Judicial Confession and those statements which are made before an office of magistrate or in the courtroom during any criminal procedures are known as formal or legal admission.

 A judicial confession not much other than a “plea of guilty” as per the provision explained under Article 20(3) if Indian Constitution otherwise any confession made against the person who is making the confession will have no evidentiary value and he cannot be concluded guilty of any offence on the behalf of such confession.

Judicial admissions ought not be stirred up with informal confession however being a part  of a similar branch yet both have various qualities and importance in deciding the accused’s blame.

There might be a few contentions expressing that a conviction can be organized even based on an extra-judicial confession however then again we should likewise observe that there is no explanation in ignoring the game plan of conviction exclusively dependent on the judicial confession.

So a confession made by the accused where his statements are leading himself to the bar is probative evidence to prove his guilt but all such confessions shall be made in the presence of a magistrate or in a court of law. Also, the court must take care that the confession made by the accused to prove his guilt is voluntary and true so that no innocent is put behind the bars on account of self incrimination.

Informal Confession

Informal Confession is otherwise called extrajudicial confession and those statements which are made at any place other than the place where there is an absence of a magistrate or at any place other than the court is considered as an extra judicial confession.

In, State of Punjab v. Bhagwan Singh[1] the Supreme Court in this case held that an extra-judicial confession’s value only increases when it is clearly consistent and convincing to the conclusion of the case otherwise the accused cannot be held liable for the conviction solely on the basis of the confession made by him.

In, Balwinder Singh v. State[2]  the Supreme Court  mentioned some guidelines in the form of deciding the case that in the case of extrajudicial confession  the court must check  the credibility of the person who is  making the confession and all of his statements shall be tested by the court to conclude whether the person who made the confession is trustworthy or not, otherwise a person who is not trustworthy his statement cannot be used to prove someone guilty.

Judicial Confession

Section 80 of the Indian Evidence Act give the evidentiary value to the judicial confession and communicates that an confession made within the sight of judge or in the court which is recorded by the magistrate as prescribed by the law then such admission will be presumed to be valid and genuine confession and the accused can be tried with offence.

Section 164 of CrPC empowers the magistrate to record confession so it is not necessary that which magistrate recorded the confession unless he is restricted to record the confession. Hence, for raising the presumption the identity of the accused must be clear and proved in the confession to persecute him for the guilt of the offence he committed.

Extra Judicial Confession

Though extra-judicial confession doesn’t have much evidentiary value as compared to judicial confession but in the case of a written confession the writing of the accused itself is one of the best evidence available to the court to charge the accused of the offence.

In case written confession is not available then the court may test the oral confession of the accused which was made to any person whosoever On the court’s discretion and satisfaction, the statements of the accused to any other person may be admissible and thereafter the accused may be prosecuted for the offence on which he is charged.

Retracted Confession

Retracted Confession has circumstantial evidence that the cognizance of any offense the police investigate the case based on their investigation they inspect the witnesses, reality in issues, accused and a lot more things.  If in the opinion of investigation, police found that the accused is guilty of a particular offence then they submit a report to the concerned magistrate or the court.

During the court proceeding, the magistrate needs to take pieces of evidence and examines the accused and if on the behalf of investigation report the courts find someone guilty of any particular offence then the court shall direct the accused to confess the statements again.

When the trial begins the magistrate has to ask the accused that if he is guilty of an offence or not and if the accused don’t plead guilty then he may retract all the confession made to the police during the police investigation and must substantiate his retracted confession.

So the value of retracted evidence has circumstantial evidentiary value, therefore, the court has to make any inference very cautiously.

Confession to Police

Section 25 provides that “No statements made to a Police Officer will be considered as a confession for the purpose of proving that confession against that person who is accused of that offence.

The terms clarified under Section 25 of this Act have imperative significance which ensures that any confession made by the accused to the police under any conditions until provided, is absolutely not permissible as proof in an official courtroom against the accused to prove his guilt.

Section 26 prohibits the judicial bodies to prove the guilt of the accused by his confession which is made to police in police custody. Section 26 imposes a partial ban on provisions stated in Section 25 that confession made to the police officer in police custody may be admissible if the confession recorded in the immediate presence of a magistrate.


All in all the concept of confession usually deals with the criminal proceedings and there is no such specific section defining confession, the confession is something which is made by the individual who is accused of any criminal offenses and such statements may infer any reasoning for concluding or suggesting that he is guilty of a crime.

The various sets of confession don’t have indistinguishable evidentiary value as of others and subsequently their qualities degrade and overhaul by the situation that how what and where these confessions are made.


  • Confession under Indian Evidence Act at

  • How confession characteristics impact juror perceptions of evidence in criminal trials

[1] State of Punjab v Bhagwan Singh  1952 AIR 214

[2] Balwinder Singh v. State AIR 1996 SC 607

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