PCS (J) Notes: Law of Evidence, Sec 25, Confession to police officer not to be proved

The principle behind it is to avoid the danger of admitting a false confession. A police officer on receiving information of the occurrence of a dacoity or other offence of a serious character, failing to discover the real culprits often implicate an innocent person lest they be accused of neglect. The police often put the person to severe torture and makes him to confess a guilt without having committed it and when such steps are taken there is impunity for real offender and encouragement to crime. A police officer is generally armed with large powers and is capable of exciting terror and extort false and involuntary confession. The section makes no distinction between a confession made before investigation and a confession made after investigation.

Person Accused of any offence

This expression used in the section means the person against whom evidence is sought to be in criminal proceeding, whether or not he was charged when he made the statement. A murder is committed in a locality. The sub-inspector investigates. During investigation B makes a confession to the police that it is he who murdered. Later on he is arrested and charged. Though the confession was made by B to the police officer when he was not an accused, his confession will be admissible at the trial because at the time of proving the case in the Court he was an accused.

Only Confession is excluded

All statements made to a police officer are not excluded. The statements that do not amount to confession are not excluded by section 25 and can be brought on record and proved against any accused. There was fight between two parties in which death was caused. Several persons of one party drove several cattle belonging to the deceased to the cattle-pound. Two of them made a statement to the police that the cattle of the deceased damaged their crops. While they were bringing cattle to the pound, the deceased interfered with the carrying of the cattle and so  there was a fight. They were charged with murder. It was held that  since the statement to the police did not amount to confession, in as much as it was only an exculpatory statement of the circumstances under which the cattle had been seized and was not an admission of guilt but  rather in the nature of a complaint against the deceased and therefore not admissible.

Made to Police Officer

                 A confession which is not made to police officer will not be excluded. The statement tobe excluded must be made to the police officer. The mere presence of the police officer will not make the statement irrelevant if it was made to some other person. In the case of Sitaram v. State of UP, AIR 1966 SC 1906; the accused wrote a letter as follows “My dear Darogaji, I have myself committed the murder of my wife Smt. Sindora Rani. Nobody, else perpetuated this crime. I would appear myself after 20 or 25 days and then will state everything. One day the law will extend its hand and will get me arrested. I would surrender myself.” The letter was kept near the dead body of Sindora and found by the S.I. it was held admissible.”

Who are police officers

                The important quantity of a police officer is that he must not only have the power to prosecute the criminal but to file a report against a criminal and to have the power to prosecute the criminal. Unless and until a person has power to make investigation and frame charge against the accused under section 173 of CrPC he cannot be called a Police officer within the meaning of section 25. In case of an officer not belonging to Police Force, the test is whether he has been conferred with all the powers of investigating offences including the power to initiate prosecution by submitting charge sheet. The prohibition of section applies only to confessions which are to be proved against the accused that is in support of prosecution case, and does not apply to statement on which the accused himself wishes to rely for his defence.

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