Question: A and B, master and servant, respectively, are being jointly tried for the murder of X and also thereafter for having made away with the dead body to hide the crime (Sections 302 and 201 I.P.C.) A confession is made by B, the servant to the effect that, without any previous knowledge of the crime, B was… Read More »

Question: A and B, master and servant, respectively, are being jointly tried for the murder of X and also thereafter for having made away with the dead body to hide the crime (Sections 302 and 201 I.P.C.) A confession is made by B, the servant to the effect that, without any previous knowledge of the crime, B was taken to the house of X by A and suddenly asked to throw light from a torch as a serpent had come out; at that time X came out of the house at the call of A, and A killed him...

Question: A and B, master and servant, respectively, are being jointly tried for the murder of X and also thereafter for having made away with the dead body to hide the crime (Sections 302 and 201 I.P.C.)

A confession is made by B, the servant to the effect that, without any previous knowledge of the crime, B was taken to the house of X by A and suddenly asked to throw light from a torch as a serpent had come out; at that time X came out of the house at the call of A, and A killed him without any complicity of B. The two together then disposed of the body. Is this confession relevant against A? Give reasons for or against. [D.J.S. 1989]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [A and B, master and servant, respectively, are being jointly tried for the murder of X and also thereafter for having made away with the dead body to hide the crime (Sections 302 and 201 I.P.C.)…. Is this confession relevant against A?]

Answer

As a general rule of confession may be used against the person who has made it. However, under section 30 of the Indian Evidence Act, the confession of one of two or more accused jointly tried for the same offence can be taken into consideration against the co-accused.

It is to be noted that the word 'confession’ has not been defined in the Indian Evidence Act. The most acceptable definition of the term 'confession’ was given by the Privy Council in the case of Pakala Narain Swamy v. Emp. AIR 1939 PC 47 wherein the court observed:

“No statement that contains a self exculpatory matter can amount to confession if exculpatory statement is of some fact which if true would negative the offence alleged to be confessed… a confession must either admit in terms the offence or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitute the offence.”

Therefore, the points which have to be taken into consideration while appreciating any confession alleged to be made by an accused are as follows:

  1. Statements, in which facts admitted give only inferences that the accused might have committed the crime, cannot be used as a confession.
  2. A statement that exculpates the maker of it cannot be a confession.
  3. Confession must either in terms admit the offence or
  4. Substantially admitting all facts which constitute the offence.

Section 30 reads as under:

“When more persons than one are being tried jointly for the same offence and a confession made by one of such person affecting himself and some other of such persons is proved, the court may take into consideration such confession as against such other person as well as against the person who makes such confession.”

So before a confession of one accused may be taken into consideration against other under section 30, it has to be shown that

Under this section, a confession by one person may be taken into consideration against another—

  1. if both of them are tried jointly;- There should be a joint trial of the accused. The joint trial should be legal. If from any cause the accused who made the confession cannot be legally tried with the accused against whom the confession is to be used, the court should not attach any value to the confession.
  2. If they are tried for the same offence; and same offence” means an identical offence and not an offence of the same kind. To make a joint trial legal, the accusation must be a real one and not merely an excuse for joinder of charges which otherwise cannot be joined.
  3. If the confession is affecting the confession and the other and is legally proved

Section 30 comes into play when more than one person is jointly accused of the same offence. Here, if one of the co-accused makes a confession regarding himself and some other such persons, the court will take that confession into account against the accused and his co-accused. However, the Supreme Court has observed that the confession of a co-accused if legally proved cannot be elevated to the status of substantive evidence which can form the basis of the conviction of co-accused.

One of the essential requirements for the application of Section 30 is that the accused making confession must have inculpated himself to the offence alleged, along with other co-accused. In 1972 Criminal Law Journal 1433 (Delhi) it was observed that a self exculpatory statement of the accused should not be taken into consideration against the co-accused because such statement could not be treated as confession and it could not be used as evidence at all against other accused.

In the present case at hand, the statement made by one of the accused B i.e. servants cannot be termed as ‘confession’ as under the Indian Evidence Act for the reason that the main part of the statement of B is exculpatory and cast the entire doubt or blame of the accused A i.e. the master for the commission of murder of X.

Therefore, it shall be held that the exculpatory part of the statement of B cannot be made relevant and hence cannot be used against A by virtue of section 30 of the act.

However, the latter part of the statement of B that he and his master together disposed of the deceased body of X will amount to confession as far as an offence punishable under section 201 of IPC is concerned. In the later part of the statement of B, he equally inculpates himself to be a partner in crime with A who is being tried jointly with him for the commission of murder of A.

Thus, confession of B is relevant only to the extent that A and B together disposed of the deceased body which is an offence punishable under section 201, IPC but the same statement cannot be used for proving the charge of murder under section 302 of the Penal Code.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-10-01T10:34:53+05:30
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