Extra Judicial Confessions I

In Gopal Sah, (2008) 17 SCC 128 Court held, an extra-judicial confession is, on the face of it, 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, 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 Court came to the conclusion, an extra-judicial confession cannot be treated as a substantive piece of evidence against the co-accused. The proper judicial approach is to use it only to strengthen the opinion formed by 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, 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].


Extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence and Court must ensure, 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 Court is satisfied, the extra-judicial confession is voluntary, it can be acted upon to base the conviction.

It is well settled, conviction can be based on a voluntarily confession but the rule of prudence requires, wherever possible it should be corroborated by independent evidence. Extra-judicial confessions 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, the law does not require, evidence of an extra-judicial confession should in all cases be corroborated. The rule of prudence does not require, 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].