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Confession of Co -Accused

  1. Confession of Co-Accused is not a substantive peace of evidence.
  2. First, the Court has to look into the other evidence tendered by the prosecution.
  3. If the Court finds the prosecution evidence acceptable, then it can turn towards the confession of the Co-Accused.
  4. The confession of the Co-Accused can be utilized by the Court only to assure itself about it's conclusion as to the guilt of the accused it has drawn from the other evidence.
  5. But if the evidence led by the prosecution is itself unsatisfactory, then the confession of the co-accused can not be taken into account to hold the accused guilty.
  6. The principle is that in dealing with the case against an accused person, the Court can not start with the confession of a co-accused person;it must begin with the other evidence adduced by the prosecution.

Case Law

Dipakbhai Jagdishchandra Patel Vs. State of Gujarat and Ors.,AIR 2019 SC 3363:-

“49.We also notice the following statement in judgement rendered by seven learned Judges in Haricharan Kurmi v. State of Bihar MANU/SC/0059/1964 : AIR 1964 SC 1184 (quoted portion at page 1184):

As a result of the provisions contained in Section 30, Evidence Act, the confession of a co-accused has to be regarded as amounting to evidence in a general way, because whatever is considered by the Court is evidence; circumstances which are considered by the Court as well as probabilities do amount to evidence in that generic sense.

Thus, though confession may be regarded as evidence in that generic sense because of the provisions of Section 30, the fact remains that it is not evidence as defined by Section 3 of the Act.

The result, therefore, is that in dealing with a case against an Accused person, the Court cannot start with the confession of a co-accused person; it must begin with other evidence adduced by the prosecution and after it has formed its opinion with regard to the quality and effect of the said evidence, then it is permissible to turn to the confession in order to receive assurance to the conclusion of guilt which the judicial mind is about to reach on the said other evidence.

Thus, the confession of a co-accused person cannot be treated as substantive evidence and can be pressed into service only when the Court is inclined to accept other evidence and feels the necessity of seeking for an assurance in support of its conclusions deducible from the said evidence.

In criminal cases where the other evidence adduced against an Accused person is wholly unsatisfactory and the prosecution seeks to rely on the confession of a co-accused person, the presumption of innocence which is the basis of criminal jurisprudence assists the Accused person and compels the Court to render the verdict that the charge is not proved against him, and so, he is entitled to the benefit of doubt.”

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