Extra Judicial Confessions I

In Gopal Sah, (2008) 17 SCC 128 the Court held that an extra-judicial confession is, on the face of it, a weak evidence and should not be relied upon to record a conviction, in the absence of a chain of circumstances. In Pancho, (2011) 10 SCC 165 as well, the Court refused to convict the accused on the basis of an extra-judicial confession, in the absence of other evidence of sterling quality on record, establishing his involvement. In Haricharan Kurmi, AIR 1964 SC 1184 the Court came to the conclusion that an extra-judicial confession cannot be treated as a substantive piece of evidence against the co-accused, holding that the proper judicial approach is to use it only to strengthen the opinion formed by the Court after perusing other evidence placed on record. In Sahadevan, (2012) 6 SCC 403 this Court culled out certain principles regarding the reliability of an extra-judicial confession. The proposition that extra-judicial confessions are a weak type of evidence and should not be relied upon in the absence of corroborative evidence has also been affirmed by this Court recently in Satish v. State of Haryana, (2018) 11 SCC 300.

Hon’ble Justice N.V. RamanaKusal Toppo v. State of Jharkhand, [Criminal Appeal Nos. 1691-1692 of 2010].

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Extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence and the Court must ensure that the same inspires confidence and is corroborated by other prosecution evidence. In order to accept extra-judicial confession, it must be voluntary and must inspire confidence. If the Court is satisfied that the extra-judicial confession is voluntary, it can be acted upon to base the conviction.

It is well settled that conviction can be based on a voluntarily confession but the rule of prudence requires that wherever possible it should be corroborated by independent evidence. Extra-judicial confession of accused need not in all cases be corroborated. In Madan Gopal Kakkad, (1992) 3 SCC 204 this Court after referring to Piara Singh, (1977) 4 SCC 452 held that the law does not require that the evidence of an extra-judicial confession should in all cases be corroborated. The rule of prudence does not require that each and every circumstance mentioned in the confession must be separately and independently corroborated.”

– Hon’ble Justice R. BanumathiRam Lal v. State of Himachal Pradesh, [Criminal Appeal No. 577 of 2010].