Recording of Confessions and Statements - CRPC 164

Recording of Confessions and Statements - CRPC 164

Date : 24 Aug, 2021

Post By Bhupender Tanwar

Confession is the act of an accused person admitting guilt or saying or implying guilt while in custody. A "confession," according to Justice Stephen, is an acknowledgment made by a person charged with a crime at any moment expressing or implying that he committed that act.

The Supreme Court stated in State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu that confessions are very credible since no logical individual would make an admission against himself unless compelled to do so by his conscience.

The statements recorded by the Magistrate are governed by Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC):

  1. Empowers a Magistrate to record a person's testimony or confession regardless of whether or not he has jurisdiction over the case. Subsection (6) will apply if he does not have such authority. The term "statement" refers to anything that isn't a confession and isn't just a witness's statement. Any Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate, whether or not he has jurisdiction in the case, may record any confession or statement made to him in the course of an investigation under this chapter or under any other law currently in force, or at any time thereafter before the start of the inquiry or trial.

  2. A warning appears in Section 164, subsection 2. The Magistrate is required by law to first inform the accused that he is not obligated to make a confession and that if he does, it may be used against him. For a confession to be recorded, this is a must. The Magistrate must further ask the accused questions to ensure that the confession was voluntary so that he can issue the certificate required by subsection (4). The Magistrate warned the accused that he was under no obligation to confess, but he did not ask any questions to ensure that the confession was voluntary.

  3. Subsection 3 ensures that if a person refuses to make a confession, they will not be subjected to police coercion. When the accused has been in judicial custody for more than two days prior to providing a confession, it has been decided that the time is adequate to remove the accused's fear and influence from the police, if any, and that the confession can be delivered voluntarily. It is not necessary to wait 24 hours between preliminary questioning and confession recording. A confession was upheld because the Magistrate failed to promise the accused that if he failed to make the confession, he would not be sent back to police custody. 

  4. The confession must be documented in accordance with section 281 and signed by the person who made it, according to subsection (4). The Magistrate will then write a memorandum on the confession's ground. The Magistrate is not allowed to simply sign a printed directive that has been given to him. This is a violation of the law. An irregularity might be defined as a voluntary confession that was correctly recorded in a different language. It is necessary to document the complete confession. Before it may be acted upon, the confession must be demonstrated to be voluntary. The accused must sign his confession. If it isn't, the confession won't be acceptable in court, the commission won't have any power over it, and the irregularity will be rectified under section 463. When a confession is given in court to the officer presiding over the case at the time of trial, the accused's attestation is no longer required. Without a note stating that the confession was voluntary, it is unlawful and cannot be used in court. 

  5. The way in which a statement should be documented is outlined in subsection (5). Even after the charge sheet in the case has been submitted, the witness's statement might be recorded under this clause. Section 5A of the CrPC requires the Magistrate to record the prosecutrix's statement pursuant to Section 164(5A). The police officer is obligated to accompany the victim to the nearest Judicial Magistrate to record her statement as soon as the incident is brought to his attention. The victim comes to court to have her statement recorded because she is upset and aggrieved by the investigation agency's attitude. As a result, it is the Magistrate's responsibility to take down her testimony. 

  6. The Magistrate who records a confession or statement under this section is required by paragraph(6) to submit it to the Magistrate who will investigate or try the case.

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What is its evidentiary value? 

A confession is a poor form of evidence, it must be corroborated with other evidence as well as facts and circumstances of the cases. It can be used to support or refute a statement made in court in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act sections 157 and 145. The statement cannot be used as substantial evidence, but it can be used for corroboration and to refute the person who made it by cross-examining them.

Types of confession: 

Inculpatory and exculpatory confessions: An inculpatory confession is one that admits to doing something wrong or admits that the accused is guilty. Also known as exculpatory confession, it is a confession that clears the accused of any wrongdoing.

Confessions can take many different forms. They can be made to the court, which is known as judicial confession, or to anyone outside the court, which is known as extrajudicial confession. It might even be self-preservation, which could be used as proof of another's overhearing. In Pakala Narayan Swami v. Emperor, the court found that where the accused confirmed his guilt to the police and then refused to identify himself in front of the magistrate, and during the trial, it did not amount to confession because there was no direct admission of guilt by him.

In the case of Sahoo vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1966 SC 40, the accused, who was charged with the murder of his daughter-in-law with whom he was often at odds, was spotted leaving the house on the day of the murder, stating, "I have terminated her and with her the daily quarrels." The statements were found to be a confession that was admissible in court because it is not essential for a confession to be communicated to another person for it to be significant.

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Judgment: Guruvind Palli Anna Roa and others v. State of Andhra Pradesh: A statement made under section 164 CrPC by a Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate is a public document under section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Section 80 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, allows for the admission of this evidence. The Hon'ble High Court declared in Guruvind Palli Anna Roa and others v. State of Andhra Pradesh that "the statement of witness recorded under section 164 Crpc is a public document that does not require any formal evidence and there is no necessity to summon the magistrate who records the same".

This article on CRPC Section 164 is written by Mr. Abhinav Kumar, a Final year student at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.

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