Criminal Law-Supreme Court Reiterates Important Tenets of Confession and Admission of Statement


April 26, 2019

Case name: Dipakbhai Jagdishchandra Patel v. State of Gujarat And Another

In the instant appeal, the Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court was hearing challenge High Court of Gujarat’s judgment dismissing the appellant’s application for quashing of criminal proceedings against him under Sections 489B and 489C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Bench’s Verdict

In view of the facts and circumstances in the case, the Supreme Court was confronted with the opportunity to reiterate some essential tenets of criminal law pertaining to framing of charge and admissibility of confession.

Framing of Charge- That at the stage of framing the charge in accordance with the principles which have been laid down by this Court, what the Court is expected to do is, it does not act as a mere post office. The Court must indeed sift the material before it. The material to be sifted would be the material which is produced and relied upon by the prosecution. The sifting is not to be meticulous in the sense that the Court dons the mantle of the Trial Judge hearing arguments after the entire evidence has been adduced after a full-fledged trial and the question is not whether the prosecution has made out the case for the conviction of the accused.

It was also noted by the Court that the Court must be satisfied that with the materials available, a case is made out for the accused to stand trial. A strong suspicion suffices. However, a strong suspicion must be founded on some material. The material must be such as can be translated into evidence at the stage of trial. The strong suspicion cannot be the pure subjective satisfaction based on the moral notions of the Judge that here is a case where it is possible that accused has committed the offence. Strong suspicion must be the suspicion which is premised on some material which commends itself to the court as sufficient to entertain the prima facie view that the accused has committed the offence.

Law relating to ConfessionA confession, which is made to a Police Officer, would be inadmissible having regard to Section 25 of the Evidence Act. A confession, which is vitiated under Section 24 of the Evidence Act would also be inadmissible.

Bar of Admissibility- Confession is subject to the bar of admissibility of a statement under Section 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure. Therefore, even if a statement contains admission, the statement being one under Section 161, it would immediately attract the bar under Section 162 of the CrPC.  Bar under Section 162 CrPC, no doubt, operates in regard to the statement made to a Police Officer in between two points of time, viz., from the beginning of the investigation till the termination of the same. In a case where statement containing not a confession but admission, which is otherwise relevant and which is made before the investigation commences, may be admissible.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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