CONFESSION MADE TO A POLICE OFFICER

Section 25 clearly provides that confession made to a police officer cannot be proved against the accused.

Reason: Confessions to police officers are made inadmissible to prevent the torture of the accused at the hands of police in order to extract confessions. Confession obtained by torture and by using third degree methods would be involuntary.

Section 25 makes no distinction between a confession made before an investigation and confession made after the investigation. If a confession is made to the police officer it will be hit by Section 25 straightaway .

Police officer: Section 25 provides a healthy protection against torture in the hands of police officers in order to extort confession. This section is thus, interpreted widely and is extended to every police officer who not only possess the power to make investigation of crime but also to file a report against the criminal and to prosecute him in trial. Supreme Court in Raja Ram Jaiswal v. State of Bihar, AIR 1964 SC 828, has held that expression ‘police officer’ should not be contrued in a narrow sense and it would include any person who is clothed with the powers of a police officer.

Power of investigation is considered to be most important power which establishes a direct relationship with prohibition enacted in Section 25. Supreme Court in State of Punjab v. Barkat Ram, AIR 1962 SC 276 and Surjeet Singh Chhabra v. Union of India, (1977) 1 SCC 508, has held that ‘custom officers’ are not police officers for the purpose of Section 25.

In Balkrishnan v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1981 SC 379, Supreme Court has held that member of Railway Protection Force is not a police officer. The test for determining whether an officer is a police officer or not is whether the concerned officer has been conferred the powers of investigation of offences including the power to initiate prosecution by submitting charge sheet under CrPC. In Ram Singh v. Central Bureau of Investigation, AIR 2011 SC 2490, Supreme Court has held that officers under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 are not police officers. In Raj Kumar Karwal v. Union of India, AIR 1991 SC 45 Supreme Court held that nomenclature is not important, the content of the power exercised is a determinative factor.

Position in English law: As a matter of rule English law does not discredit the statements made to the police officers. If the Judge thinks that the statement is voluntary, free, fair and inspires confidence then he may admit it.

Other statements not barred: Section 25 makes only confessional statements made to a police officer as irrelevant. Other non-confessional statements are not hit by Section 25 even if made to a police officer. If such statements are made during the course of investigation, then Section 162 of Cr. P.C. will come into play and it can only be used for the purpose of contradiction under Section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act or under Section 27 and 32 of the Evidence Act.

Statements made before investigation: As regards statements made before investigation, as in case of F.I.R., such statements, if confessional in nature, will be hit by Section 25 and if they are non-confessional in nature and only an admission of certain facts having a bearing on question to be determined by the court, they will not be hit by Section 25 and will be admissible in court. [Aghnoo Nagesia v. State of Bihar, AIR 1966 SC 119].

For example, where a person ‘A’ kills his aunt and himself lodges F.I.R. narrating the facts to the police officer, only non-confessional statements can be admitted in evidence and not the inculpatory part. So, the conviction of the accused ‘A’ merely on the basis of his confession made in the F.I.R. is erroneous and bad in the eyes of law if not supported by other evidences.

Statements made before accusation: It is not necessary that at the time of making confession, the maker must be an accused. But he must be an accused at the time when such confession is sought to be proved against him. Thus even if accusation is subsequent to the statement, the statement cannot be proved. [Bheru Singh v. State of Rajasthan, (1994) 2 SCC 467]

Author & Former Judge

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