Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Comments:

Scope:

Section 25 lays down that a confession made by a person to the police officer is inadmissible and cannot be proved. The basic object of this section and Section 26 is to prevent practices of torture by the police officers for the purpose of extracting confessions from the accused persons. Although both sections seek to achieve same purpose they operate in different fields. It is well known that the police officer to secure confession uses short cut methods even by putting the arrested person into third degree so that the arrested person confesses. “The principle upon which the rejection of confession made by an accused to a police-officer or while in the custody of such officer (Section 26) is founded that a confession thus made or obtained is untrustworthy.” This is the reasons for which no confession made to a police officer shall be proved under section 25 as against person accused of an offence.

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The policy behind Section 25 is to exclude all confessional statements made by the accused to the police officer under in circumstances while he is in custody of the police except as is provided in Section 27. Section 25 was enacted to put a stop to the extortion of confession. It was, therefore, enacted to sub-serve a high purpose.

Alike Section 25 the Section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides that no statement made to a police officer investigating a case shall, if taken down in writing, be signed by the person making it, nor shall such writing be used as evidence. Statement made to police officer during investigation does not become admissible merely because he is dead.

Application:

This section does not exclude other statements of the accused made to the police officer except the confessional statement. What is confession has since 1938 been held by the Judicial Committee, that “to me a direct acknowledgement of guilt and not the admission of any criminating fact however grave or conclusive.” The confession made while in custody is not to be proved against accused unless it is made before a Magistrate.

A confession made before police party of the village, who is not a police officer under section 25 would be relevant. But the confession made to police officer during an illegal search and seizure leading to recovery of incriminating articles cannot be excluded merely on the ground that it was obtained under illegal order of remand to police custody.

A confessional statement made by the accused to the police officer during and after investigation under section 162, Cr. PC is not admissible. But if the statement is treated as one made by the accused to a police officer in the course of investigation, it is hit by Section 162, Cr. PC. A confessional statement was held to be inadmissible if it was made to the police officer after the start of investigation.

The First Information Report (FIR) is not a confession of the guilt. It is in sense admission by the accused and is relevant. Appellant accused whose name was mentioned only in one out of three dying declarations and motive ascribed against him also did not find place in FIR in entitled to acquittal.

The confession made by an accused to an officer of custom is not a confession within the meaning of Section 24 of the Evidence Act. This confessional statement made before custom officers is admissible as such officers are not police officers for the purpose of Section 25 of this Act. Any statement made before the authorities of the Narcotics Department under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985, is admission in evidence and is not hit either by Section 25 of the Evidence Act or by Section 161, Cr. PC. Under section 15 of the TADA Act, 1987 the confessional statement was regarded as substantive piece of evidence and could be used against the accused under police custody.

Confession made before officer under the NDPS Act must be subject to closer scrutiny than a confession made to private citizens or officials who do not have investigating power under the Act.

Police Officer:

Apart from the definition mentioned in the Police Act, 1861 the Supreme Court has laid down the test for determining whether a person is a police officer for purpose of this section, would be whether the powers of a police officer which are conferred on him or which are exercisable by him establish a direct or substantial relationship with the prohibition enacted by this section, that is relating to the recording of confession.

The ‘Police Officer’ in Section 25 is wider than the term in Section 1 of the Police Act. “A ‘Police Officer’ means a officer other than a Magistrate whose duty is to prevent and detect crime, the latter duty involving the duty of holding investigation; in other words, a person holding powers for effective prevention and detection of crime to maintain law and order.”

Confession made to police officer:

Under section 25 any confession made to the police officer can only be excluded and not a confession made for the police. If the confession made for police officer it is admissible. Hence, a confession made to the police officer is not relevant. Admissions or statements of incriminating facts, even a gravely incriminating fact, to the police not amounting to a confession are not barred under this section. Even in a recent case the Supreme Court did not agree to accept the argument in the matter of reception of confessional statement made to police in evidence as applicable in advanced countries. The Privy Council held that silent video-recording by police was inadmissible.

Confession in Civil suit:

Section 25 merely forbids the use of confession in criminal cases, but not in civil suit. Admission made to a police officer may be accepted as an admission in civil proceedings under sections 17, 18, 21 of the Evidence Act.

Confessional statement in TADA not to be used in Non-TADA Case:

Some offences under TADA Act were incorporated initially but later on the same were dropped. The trial was also conducted for offences under I.P.C. and not under TADA Act. It was held that the confessional statement made by the accused under the TADA Act cannot be utilised by the prosecution in instant case as charges were framed only for offences under I.P.C.