False Confession- under Indian evidence act and study of false confessions in few other countries


Securing and creating adequate evidentiary material under the steady gaze of the court is without a doubt the most basic fragment of a proceeding. Confession is one of the methods through which an individual’s blame is set up in a courtroom, and conviction is as a rule the result of it. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which is the brief, codified version of the English law of Evidence, except for a couple of adjustments, possibly sets down guidelines in regards to when an admission can be allowed. The term confession has not been defined anywhere under the act; it makes its first appearance in Section 24 that operates as a rule of exclusion. Confessions, when made deliberately, are considered as well as can be expected be taken as definitive confirmation as it fulfils the norm of verification needed for a criminal suit, ‘past sensible’ doubt. However, the danger of conceding a deceitful confession as convincing evidence is difficult to disregard, as the aftereffect of the same would be unjust conviction of an honest person. False confession is a business-like lacunae that has been tormenting the cycle of criminal equity framework since days of yore, yet its anticipation has not been tended to sufficiently yet. It impacts the members of the jury and above all, lets the genuine guilty party get away from the grasp of the law. This article seeks to discuss the false confessions under the Indian Evidence Act and study of false confession in few other countries.

Confession Meaning

The term “Confession” means- to admit, own up or accept blame. In other words, we can say that confession means to acknowledge some personal fact that an individual would ostensibly prefer to keep secret.
Under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the term has not been defined but has been mentioned under the heading of “Admission”, which implies that confessions are a subset of admissions (to guilt). Section 17 of the Indian Evidence Act, defines admission as any statement made in either form such as oral, documentary or in electronic form which has enough probative value to suggest or conclude a relevant fact.
A confession is the suspect’s admission of guilt. This implies that the best proof against him utilized in such bodies of evidence was a confession against a blamed.
In Pakala Narayan Swami v. Emperor1 it was observed that a confession must be accepted either in relation to the offence or  all the facts constituting the crime are relevant at any point. 
In Palvinder Kaur v. State of Punjab2 SC supports the decision of the Privy Council in Pakala Narayan Swami case over the explanation that, confession must either confess the guilt or that it fully acknowledges all the evidence. Furthermore, a blended assertion, that will bring about exoneration, including any confessional contentions, is no confession. The Court can’t eliminate the exculpatory part of a contention and will give the judgment based on the assertion’s inculpatory segment.

When an individual or a person confesses to be guilty of a crime which they have not committed it is termed as false confession. There can be different reasons behind a false confession. A person sometimes for a short-term benefit of false confession may outweigh the long-term loss that he is going to incur. False confession can be divided into three different categories.

Causes of false confession
There is no single cause of false confession, and there is no single logic or type of false confession. Police-prompted false confessions result from a multistep cycle and succession of impact, influence, and consistence and normally include mental coercion.
Police are bound to evoke false confessions under specific states of cross examination, nonetheless, and people with certain character attributes and airs are all the more effortlessly compelled into giving false confessions. To comprehend why criminal suspects, give false confessions, we should initially see how police agents target criminal suspects and how police cross examination fills in as a mental cycle, before elicit inga suspect’s affirmation and in the postadmission phase of interrogation. There are three consecutive mistakes, which happen during a police-inspired false confession, that lead to an unfair conviction.
Investigators first misclassify a blameless individual as blameworthy; they next subject him to a blame possible, accusatory cross examination that constantly includes lies about proof and frequently the rehashed use of Once they have evoked a false confirmation, they constrain the suspect to give a postadmission story that they mutually shape, regularly providing the guiltless suspect with the (public and non-public) facts of the crime. These have been referred to as the misclassification error, the coercion error, and the contamination error.

Under The Indian Evidence Act, 1872
Section 24

This section says that in criminal proceedings, confession made by an accused person is meaningless if confession appears to have been induced by any incitement, threat or pledge, relating to the accused person, coming from an authorized person and, in the opinion of the court, sufficient to give the accused person reasons, which would seem fair to him for that he would increase any bit of leeway or break some brief poor comparable to the procedures against him by making it. A explanation made by a suspect is useless in criminal procedures if the court finds that the confession is brought about by any actuation, danger or promise to the blamed, proceeding from an individual in power and adequate, in the court’s conclusion, to give reasonable grounds to the charged individual for accepting that, in the event that he got any favourable position or forestalled some evil of an impermanent sort regarding the procedures against him, it would do so.

Section 25
This section says that the confession given to a cop isn’t admissible. It can likewise be not demonstrated on the grounds that the object of this segment is to forestall the acts of torment made by cops to a denounced so they cannot force that person to give a false confession. If the confession is made before some other individual it will be significant just if the cop is available at that moment. The specific segment applies to confessional articulations just in the event that they are made orally or as First Information Report (F.I.R) introduced by a denounced.

In The Queen v. Murugan Ramasay,3 the Court distinguishes the way that Police authority is equipped for making threat for those under its examination, this segment is outlined to shield individuals from such an authority. A confession when written in a letter, marked by the denounced was conveyed to a cop was viewed as permissible as it was not written in the presence

Section 26
This section expresses that no confession of an individual, in police guardianship, is provable
It applies in the context that a false confession could be extracted in through fear or torture.  It not only applies to confessions to a policeman but to any other person. The only exception to this rule is that if the confession is made by an accused in front of a magistrate, it will be admissible.

Section 27
In Mohan Lal v. Ajit Singh (AIR 1978 SC 1183)4, the accused was held liable for murder and robbery. He stole goods that he kept with himself which were found within six days. A judgement made in Satish Chandra Seal v. Emperor  5 held that a statement made by the accused cannot be used against other co- accused because the nature of offence committed by them can be different.

Section 28
A confession is important when the terms of the incentive, threat or commitment stated in section 24 are removed. The confession here is protected and free.

Section 29
This section expresses that if a confession is pertinent, it won’t be viewed as superfluous in the event that It is made under the guarantee of mystery, in result of a duplicity practiced on the charged, when the denounced was flushed, in answer to an inquiry the blamed need not have replied and in outcomes of the denounced not getting an admonition that he was will undoubtedly make it and that it very well may be utilized against him. Evidence gave by a cop who caught a denounced individual’s assertion made in another room and in obliviousness of cop’s region and uninfluenced by it was viewed as permissible.6 When a confession was recorded with giving warning as per Section 164 of Crpc, it was considered admissible.7 In the case of Rex v. Derrington, it was held that a letter written by the accused was admissible regardless of how it was obtained.8

Section 30
This section expresses that when a charged admits his own blame, and a similar time embroils someone else who is being attempted with him for a similar offense, his confession may be mulled over against such individual just as himself. Confession of a co-accused cannot be used as a basis for conviction.9  This section is only applicable for confessions, not for statements which do not admit the guilt of the confessing party. Confession is however only one element of consideration, other circumstances and factors should also be considered.10 This section is an exception to the rule that confession of one person is entirely inadmissible against others. Where accused retracts his statement, no reliance can be placed on the same, as far as co-accused is concerned.11


An assortment of systems is utilized by the court to bargain and identify false confessions. A set of rules commonly utilized for this intention are known as ‘confession rules. If an individual is identified giving a false confession the accompanying moves may make place against him-

  • Contempt of court- If any such false confession made by a suspect cause or tends to cause disruption in proceeding of courts and leads to lack of cooperation from the opposing party. The Judge has complete power to hold the confessor in contempt.
  • Criminal Charges can be pressed- Any person making a false confession can be held guilty of additional crimes depending upon when and where such statement has been made and furthermore to whom it has been made. A person guilty of making a false confession is charged with-
  • Perjury
  • Lying to a police officer
  • It can also lead to huge monetary fines or sentence to jail for obstruction of Justice.

In other countries

In UK technique named as the ‘investigative interview’ was introduced in early 1990s i.e. The UK is known as an innovator in moral interviewing. In the UK proof delivered is high calibre and suspects are given a more pleasant treatment instead of a cruel one. Usage of threat or force collectively termed as coercive is strictly not permitted in the United Kingdom. Throughout the long term the UK has altogether improved meeting practice and gives more consideration on gathering data instead of acquiring a confession Furthermore, in order to safeguard the interest of the suspect it has been made mandatory to record the interview. Two important factors more likely to cause a false confession are low self-confidence and sleep deprivation.

One of a classic example of this is the UK case of BIRMINGHAM SIX where people respond to pressure in terms of confessing while interrogation was different. It is concerned with the bomb attack held at 2 pubs of Birmingham which led to the death of almost 200 people and at least 21 people were badly injured in this. This led to interrogating 6 suspects who were deemed to be Irish Catholic immigrants however the attack was attributed to the provisional terrorist group Irish Republican Army (IRA). Later on, these suspects who were given life sentences were released after 16 years of jail reason being that they were wrongfully convicted. It came to observation that during their investigation period they were severely abused and harshly interrogated. Also, when their personality tests were taken it showed that 4 suspects who confessed were more suggestible and compliant than the two that didn’t.

False confessions are no longer unique to any state; they have spread their reach worldwide including the USA. Countries like the USA also make use of Reid technique to interview suspects. Saul Kassin a psychologist at John Jay College of criminal justice in New York City is one of the world’s leading experts on interrogation played a very important role in explaining the concept of false confession and opened the eyes of several prosecutors to the emerging signs of interrogation and false confession. This was first found in Huwe Burton situation where a youth was purportedly on the edge of killing his mom and after unforgiving police examination he was turned in jail after spending there 20 years he came free from jail, but still under supervision, all endeavours were made by his lawyer to demonstrate him as guiltless however when nothing worked in his help Burton’s lawyer called Kassin who clarified this idea of false confession, a half year later Judge abandoned Burton’s thirty years old conviction. Like this concept of false confession came into consideration in the USA.

One of the widely accepted practises in Brazil is torture inflicted by police officers on those suspects which are either poor or criminal suspect. Police severity can be so ordinarily observed there. Suspects are gone to cruel and such crazy treatment that false confession is their lone way out to ensure themselves.
Tiana rape case (2013)
In this case 4 suspects were captured for severely assaulting and slaughtering a young lady before an amusement park and who later on likewise admitted to be liable of crime. But on doing a definite examination police discovered that the young lady was not assaulted and confession given by young men was a result of torment dispensed upon them.
Later on, 13 policemen were arrested and the police chief fled.

One thing common among all these countries is that in order to avoid situations of false confession they have adopted an ‘investigative interview’ approach which aims at collecting more data and information from the suspect instead of a confession without use of adversarial and coercive techniques.

In countries like China, chances of false confession are higher because of lengthy detention of suspects and usage of highly coercive questioning techniques. However, one positive step that this country has taken is videotaping of interviews.

The most enticing and implicating proof that a state can raise against a guiltless respondent is false confession. Such false confessions by suspects tend to infringe the evidence on the basis of which decision is to be delivered by Jury. As we have just talked about what precisely does false confession implies, it’s sorts and the genuine outcomes it can prompt and suggestions it can cause I would like to enclose somewhere near saying that a solitary false confession can obliterate the life of a guiltless individual and extra the real lawbreaker.

End note

  • (1939) 41 BOMLR 428
  • 1952 AIR 354, 1952 SCR 94
  • R v. Murugan Ramasay, (1964) 64 C.N.L.R. 265 (P.C.) at 268
  • 1978 AIR 1183, 1978 SCR (3) 823
  • AIR 1945 Cal 137
  • Queev v. Sageena, 1868 7 (WR) (Cr) 56.
  • State of Mizoram v. Lalrinawma, 2000 Cri Lj 2358 (Gau).
  • 1826 2 (C&P) 418.
  • Bhaluka Behera v. State, 1957 Cut 200.
  • Kashmira Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, A.I.R 1952 SC 159.
  • [32] Baboo Singh v. King Emperor, 1934 10 (Luck) 131.


  • http://www.lawjournals.org/download/393/4-4-50-439.pdf
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_confession
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254702958_Interrogation-Induced_False_Confession
  • https://courses2.cit.cornell.edu/sociallaw/student_projects/FalseConfessions.html
  • http://lawtimesjournal.in/false-confessions-and-the-way-of-dealing-with-them-in-different-countries/
  • https://ccjarmlnlu.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/false-confessions-the-truth-behind-bars/
  • http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1547/Confession-under-Indian-Evidence-Act.html