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Report No. 69

Section 29

I. Introductory

11.61. Introductory.-

According to section 29, if 'such a confession' is otherwise relevant, it does not become irrelevant merely because it was made under a promise of secrecy, or in consequence of a deception practised on the accused person for the purpose of obtaining it, or when he was drunk, or because it was made in answer to questions which he need not have answered, whatever may have been the form of those questions, or because he was not warned that he was not bound to make such confession, and that the evidence of it might be given against him.

II. Meaning of "Such Confession"

11.62. The section begins with the words: "if such a confession is otherwise relevant; it does not become irrelevant " These words raise an important question, because they are capable of different interpretations:-

(i) They might be taken as referring to the confession referred to in section 24. This is on the reasoning that the preceding section-section 28 contains the words "such a confession as is referred to in section 24."

(ii) In the alternative, they may be taken as referring to confessions, not contemplated in sections 24 to 28, that is to say, extra-judicial confessions not made to the police or other person in authority.

11.63. It has been observed in a Patna case,1 that the section is meant to dispel doubts with regard to extra-judicial confessions made under circumstances similar to those which make judicial confessions inadmissible. According to this view, repugnancy between sections 24 to 28 on the one hand, and section 29 on the other hand, has to be avoided, and such repugnancy "can be avoided only if section 29 is construed not so as to cover the field occupied by sections 24 to 28 of the Act. Section 29 must, therefore, refer to such confessions only as are not governed by or contemplated in the preceding sections, i.e., confessions made not to Magistrates or police officers, or to persons in authority having some relation to the charge against him."

1. Emperor v. Jamuna Singh, AIR 1947 Pat 305: ILR 25 Pat 612 (635, 636, 637) (Ray, J.).

11.64. This view, which was elaborated in detail by Ray, J. in the Patna case, ites in its support the following discussion contained in the Law of Evidence by 'hamberlain:1

"The rule (rejecting confessions induced by threats and promises by those in authority) assumes that those in authority over legal proceedings ought, in the public interest, to refrain from placing pressure upon the free will of their prisoners. What injury he may suffer at the hands of private persons2 is none of its concern. So long as the accused is not influenced by a person in authority in certain specified ways, he may be deceived, flattered, whittled, tricked or betrayed into a perfectly admissible confession".

1. Chamberlain Law of Evidence.

2. Emphasis added.

11.65. In a Bombay case,1 it was observed that the opening clause 'if such a confession', refers to confessions which have been dealt with in the preceding sections. The clause 'postulates that they are admissible under the said sections and that it is with such confessions that section 29 deals'.

It was also observed that before the provisions of section 29 could be invoked, it must appear that the confession in question is admissible under the preceding sections. In other words, it must not have been caused by inducement, threat or promise. The confession, if made by a person while in police custody, must have been made in the immediate presence of the Magistrate, and if any inducement, threat or promise was held to the confessor, the confession must have been made after the impression has been removed.

Section 29, there-fore, assumes that there is no bar to the admissibility of the confession in question arising from the earlier provisions, and the section then proceeds to negative other possible objections and bars that may be raised against its admissibility. This, in effect, means that section 29 applies only to confessions which have not become irrelevant under sections 24 to 28.

1. Rangappa v. State, AIR 1954 Born 285 (289), right hand column (Gajendragadkar, J.).

11.66. Questions for consideration.-

In view of the different shades of view expressed on the subject, two questions arise for our consideration-

(a) What is the correct interpretation of the section?

(b) How should that interpretation be incorporated, in the opening words of the section, which seem to have caused difficulty?

11.67. Bombay view preferred.-

It is considered that the approach in the Bombay case,1 just now referred to, is the correct one, namely, that section 29 comes into operation only in respect of a confession which is 'otherwise relevant'-that is to say, which is not excluded by sections 24 to 27 or by any other provisions of law, and which is made by an accused person. This interpretation gives accurate and full meaning to the words "such a confession" (which are the equivalent of "a confession, made by an accused person"), and to the words "otherwise relevant" (which are the equivalent of "a confession not excluded by sections 24 to 27 or by any other provision of law").

It is in harmony with the policy of the exclusionary rules contained in the other sections. At the same time, it tells us what are the non-vitiating factors of a confession, in general. Apart from the special situation of confessions made before Magistrates,2 this view helps us to bear in mind that the factors enumerated in the section are not to be considered as vitiating factors in themselves.

1. Rangappa v. State, AIR 1954 Born 285, para. 11.65, supra.

2. See discussion as to section 164, Cr. P.C., infra.

11.68. Recommendation as to earlier half.-

In conformity with the interpretation for which we have indicated Recommendation our preference above,1 the words 'if such a confession is otherwise relevant' as to miler halt should be replaced by some such words as-"If a confession made by an accused person is not irrelevant or incapable of being proved under sections 24 to 27". Or, a simpler course would be to omit the word 'such'. We recommend that the section should be suitably amended, by adopting either of the two alternatives just now mentioned. We prefer the second alternative, being the simpler of the two.

1. Para. 11.67, supra.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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