Evidentiary value of extra judicial confession
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The needs of extra judicial confession actually creep in when the urgency of the matter exceed fair judicial process. These are made by the party elsewhere then before a magistrate or in the court. The word used by the accused in such a confession weight the higher value that such exact words would be necessary to give the court an impression of what the true confession was. It can be made before a Magistrate who is not especially empowered to record confession u/s 164 CrPC or before a private individual. However unlike other form of confession extra judicial confession u/s 26 has its own limitations. Extra judicial confession made before persons with whom the accused had no relationship could not be relied upon. In Tarseeem Kumar v. Delhi Administration, 1995 the accused was acquitted on the ground that the extra judicial confession, as claimed, was made before stock witness who was casually knowing the accused. Such a extra judicial confession lacks credibility before the court. In state of Haryana v. Ved Prakash 1994 it was alleged that the accused made extra judicial confession to a Doctor and another person, both the strangers and the same was tape-recorded as if it was anticipated and the tape-recorder kept ready. Such a statement was not a confession in nature because of denoted influence and involuntariness of the accused to state such fact whether true or not. The nature of the confession is always voluntary where accuse submit himself before the fair people in just belief. Where extra judicial confession was made to a stranger and the excat words were not recorded and corpus delicit i.e, substance or foundation of an offence was not available, it was held that the confession could not be relied upon.
In Gura Singh v. State of Rajasthan 2001 the evidentiary value attached to the extra judicial confession was explained:
“it is settled position of law that extra judicial confession, if true and voluntary, can be relied upon by the court to convict the accused for the commission of the crime alleged. Despite inherent weakness of the 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. Further, relying upon the judgment in Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh v. State of Vindhya Pradesh the has again in Maghar Singh v. State of Punjab held that the evidence in the form of extra judicial confession made by the accused to witness cannot be always termed to be a tainted evidence. Corroboration of such evidence is required only by the 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 found on the evidence alone. In Kishore Chand v. State of H.P. this court held that an unambiguous extra judicial confession possess 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 u/s 24 of Evidence Act or was brought about in suspicious circumstances to circumvent section 25 and 26. The court is required to look into 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.”
Thus, in examining the weight of evidentiary value of extra judicial confession it is necessary to check whether the accused was the free man while making such a statement which can in all the probabilities go against him and can criminalise him.