This article has been written by Satyanshu Kumari. The article explores the concepts of admission and confession under the Indian Evidence Act, of 1872, wherein both admission and confession act as the exceptions under the Act. In this article, different kinds of confessions have been discussed under Section 24 to Section 30 of the Indian Evidence Act, of 1872. 


The case of Sahoo vs. State of U.P. (1965) is an important legal matter that delves into the admissibility of a confession in criminal cases. This case falls under criminal law and evidence law, specifically focusing on interpreting and applying Sections 24 to 30 of the Indian Evidence Act (1872) (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Evidence Act’) The central issue is whether a self-incriminating statement muttered by the accused himself can be considered a confession, and if such a confession requires communication with another person to be admissible in court. 

Both admissions and confession are the exceptions to the hearsay rule of the Indian Evidence Act. It should be mentioned that the probative value of (probability of reaching its proof purpose of a relevant fact in issue) admission and confession are not dependent on the conduct of one another, but, like any other piece of evidence, it may only be considered as evidence if it is proven. This proof may only be provided by witnesses who heard the admission or confession, as the case may be. In this article, we will understand confession and admission, which are exceptions to the hearsay rule of the evidence.

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Details of the case

  • Case Name-  Sahoo vs. State of U.P. 1966 AIR 40
  • Equivalent Citations– 1966 AIR 40
  • Case Number: 248 of 1964
  • Acts involved: The Indian Penal Code, of 1860 (hereinafter referred to as “IPC”) and the Indian Evidence Act, of 1872.
  • Relevant statutes and provisions: Section 302 of IPC and Sections 24 to 30 of the Evidence Act.
  • Name of the Court– The Supreme Code of India
  • Bench– Subbarao. K, J.C. Shah and R.S. Bachawat
  • Petitioners– Sahoo
  • Respondents– State of U.P. 
  • Judgement Date– 16th February 1965

Facts of Sahoo vs. State of UP (1965) 

  • Sahoo, the appellant in the said case, is a resident of Pachperwa in the district of Gonda. He has two sons, Badri and Kirpa Shankar. He lost his wife years ago. His eldest son, Badri, married one Sunderpatti. Badri had taken up employment in Lucknow and hence his wife lived with his father, the appellant. It was commonly believed that Sunderpatti and Sahoo shared an illegitimate relationship which was intimate.
  • However, there were several quarrels between them and on 12th August 1963 Sunderpatti fled during one such quarrel, to the house of a neighbour, Muhammad Abdullah. 
  • The appellant brought her back after one such quarrel and after some worldly altercation, they both slept in the same room of the house. The appellant’s second son, Kripa Shankar, an 8-year-old boy, was the only other resident of the house. 
  • The next morning Suderpatti was found severely injured and was rushed to the hospital, however, she died soon after.
  • Early on the same morning, the appellant was seen muttering to himself, the fact that he had finished Suderpatti, he had put an end to daily quarrels. Sahoo was sent up for trial before the Court of Session, Gonda, on a charge under Section 302 of the IPC (Section 101 of Bharatiya Naya Sanhita, 2023, hereafter referred to as “BNS, 2023). 

Issues raised 

  • Whether muttering by the accused amounts to confession under the Indian Evidence Act and if so, is it admissible evidence under Section 17 of the Evidence Act?
  • Whether communication with another person necessary for an extra-judicial confession under Sections 24 to 30 of the Evidence Act?
  • What is the probative value of a confessional soliloquy?
  • Whether the consideration of circumstantial evidence alongside the confession establishes the guilt of the accused? 

Arguments of the parties


Petitioner argued that mere muttering cannot be considered a confession. Confession needs to be made by the offender to someone else. Further, the circumstantial evidence was insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused as there was no direct evidence.

It was contended that the muttering of the accused did not constitute a confession, arguing that a confession, whether judicial or extra-judicial, requires communication with another person. The petitioner raised arguments about the concept of confession in the present case and questioned the validity of a self-incriminating statement made by the accused.The petitioner challenged the admissibility and weightage of the confession as primary evidence in this case, therefore emphasising on the need for corroborative evidence to support its validity. 


In this case, the respondent argued that a valid confession does not necessarily require that such a statement be made to the authorities; they contended that mere muttering is sufficient. Further more, they argued that a series of circumstantial evidence point towards the guilt of the accused. The incident of Sunderpatti running into her neighbour’s house for seeking help established the enmity between the appellant and the deceased. Moreover, Kripa Shanker witnessed the appellant leaving the house murmuring something. 

Thus, respondents asserted that the confession made by the accused is admissible and constitutes valid evidence. They argued that the confession, along with other evidence presented, was sufficient to prove the appellant’s guilt and support the conviction under Section 302 of the IPC.

Law discussed in Sahoo vs. State of UP (1965)

The laws involved in this case are Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 24 to Section 30 of the Indian Evidence Act. 

Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code

Section 302 of the IPC provides about the “punishment for murder”. Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to a fine. However, Section 300 mentions that whoever ‘causes the death of any person to cause death, or intending to cause death or to cause such bodily injury as is liable to cause death, or with the knowledge that his act is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that his act is likely to cause death, is said to commit murder’. 

Punishment under Section 302 of IPC

Under this Section, murder is punishable by “life imprisonment or death”. The court has the discretion to determine the punishment depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. If the murder involves exceptional brutality or cruelty, the court may impose the death penalty on the accused. 

It is also important to understand the distinction between murder and culpable homicide, not amounting to murder. Culpable homicide is a ‘lesser offence’ than murder and is defined under Section 299 of the IPC. The difference between the two lies with the “intention of the accused”. In cases of culpable homicide, the accused “may not have had the intention of causing death but has acted with reckless or negligent behaviour that has led to the death of another person”. However, in the case of murder, the accused has the intention to cause the death of the person. 

Section 302 is classified as a ‘non-bailable and non-compoundable offence’, indicating that the accused cannot be released on bail easily and the case cannot be settled out of the court between the parties involved. The accused must stand trial and face the full consequences of his actions. 

‘Confession’ under the Indian Evidence Act

The word ‘confession’ has not been defined under the Evidence Act. Confession deals under the Evidence Act from Section 24 to Section 30. Further, it is provided under Sections 164 [Section 183 of Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (hereinafter referred to as ‘BNSS’)], 281 (Section 316 of BNSS) and 463 (Section 511 of BNSS) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973  (hereinafter referred to as “Code”). A confession can be defined as the admission or acknowledgement of the offence by the accused. 

Forms of confession

  1. Judicial confession

Judicial confessions, as the name suggests, are those confessions that are recorded in the presence of the magistrate or made in the court as prescribed by the law. The evidentiary value of the judicial confession is governed by Section 80 of the Evidence Act, in which it is provided that if the confession is made in the presence of the magistrate or the court recorded by the magistrate in due course of the legal proceedings, then such confessions shall be presumed to be true and genuine confessions upon which the accused can be duly tried.   

Section 164 of the Code empowers the magistrate to record the confession of the accused, thereby establishing that recording of the confessions is an exclusive domain of the judicial function, and the executive does not have the authority to record the confession. 

  1. Extra-judicial confession

An extra-judicial confession is made by the accused elsewhere in the absence of a magistrate or the court is considered an extra-judicial confession. When done during a conversation with a person other than the magistrate, a free and voluntary confession of guilt is termed an extra-judicial confession against a guilty plea on an arrangement made before a court by the person in a fit state of mind. The extra-judicial holds lower evidentiary values compared to the judicial confession. 

Relevancy of confession under the Evidence Act

Section 24 to Section 30 of the Evidence Act deals with the relevancy of the confession.

Section 24: Confession by inducement, threat or promise

Section 24 considers certain confessions to be irrelevant if they were obtained as a result of an incentive, threat, or promise, particularly when made to someone in authority, in the court’s opinion to give the accused person grounds, which would appear to be reasonable for supposing that by making it he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature about the proceedings against him. Confessions that are not voluntarily provided are assumed to be fake.

  • E.D. Smith vs. Emperor (8th November 1917)

In this case, Mr E.D. Smith, a tailor doing his business in Mount Road, Madras, is against a conviction by the Chief Presidency Magistrate for the dishonest possession of the stolen property under Section 411 of the IPC (Section 315 of BNS, 2023). The property consists of various articles alleged by the prosecution to have been stolen from the Army Clothing Factory situated close to the accused’s premises. In support of the conviction, the Chief Presidency Magistrate has largely relied on certain statements made by the accused at the time of the search of his shop by the officer of the Army Clothing Department, examined as the second prosecution witness. 

It was held that the statements are confessions and that their admission in evidence is barred by Sections 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act. The Chief Presidency Magistrate has held that there are no confessions within the meaning of these Sections, and it seems convenient to dispose of, the question of the admissibility of this evidence before proceeding further.

Section 25: Confession made to the police officer not to be proved

This Section provides that no confession made to a police officer shall be proved against the person accused of any offence. This provision provides a safeguard for the rights of the accused, in situations where the confessions are obtained under police custody and may be coerced or extracted through torture. 

  • Pakala Narayana Swami vs. King Emperor (1939)

In Pakala Narayana Swami v King Emperor, the Privy Council ruled that the statement obtained from the accused given to police before the arrest was improperly admitted into evidence under Section 162 of the Code, as amended and substituted by Section 34 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Amendment Act, 1923. The Privy Council, in this case, expressed their opinion that the statement of the accused was partly confession and partly explanation of his innocence.  In this particular case, it was determined that the processes did not fail to provide justice.

Despite the statement’s rejection, other evidence proved the deceased’s presence at the accused’s house, which was the statement’s entire purpose. 

Section 26: Confession by the accused while in custody of police not to be proved against him. 

Section 26 provides that no confession taken in police custody can be used against a person unless it was made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate. Additionally, this Section also specifies that “magistrate” excludes the head of a village discharging magisterial duties, in the Presidency of Fort St. Gorge or elsewhere, unless such headman is a magistrate exercising magistrate authority under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

  • Ram Narayan Singh vs. State of Bihar (2000)

In this case, the Supreme Court held that the confession made by the accused person to a police officer after being promised leniency was inadmissible, under Section 26. The court held the promise of leniency was a promise that was sufficient to give the accused person reasonable grounds for supposing that by confessing, he would gain the reasonable advantage. 

Section 27: How much information received from the accused may be proved

This Section acts as an exception to Sections 25 and 26, where both Sections protect the accused from self-incrimination and abuse of power by the police authority. Section 27 provides that, “when any fact has been discovered in consequence of the information from a person accused of any offence, in the custody of a police officer, whether that information amounts to the confession or not, as relates directly to the facts thereby, discovered, may be proved.” In other words, it states that if the accused has made any confession while in police custody that leads to the discovery of any relevant information or facts, such confession will be considered admissible in the court. 

In the case of Mohan Lal vs. Ajit Singh (1978), the accused disclosed the location of the stolen goods, leading to their recovery when he was arrested, and later on the things were discovered within a few days at the location mentioned by the accused. The court regarded the statement as important, and the accused was found guilty of murder and robbery based on the evidence presented. Further, the court states that the accused’s statement cannot be utilised against the co-accused.

Section 28: Confession made after removal of impression caused by the inducement, threat or promise, relevant. 

Section 28 addresses the admissibility of confessions made after the removal of inducement, with the admissibility of the confession made after removing inducement, threat, or promise. This section is an exception to the general rule provided under Section 24. 

  • State of Bihar vs. Ram Bahadur Rai (1958)

In this case, the Supreme Court reiterated that the prosecution has the burden of proving that the confession was made voluntarily after the removal of any inducement. The court also clarified that the test of admissibility is not whether the inducement was successful but whether it had a lingering effect on the accused at the time of the confession.

Section 29: Confession otherwise relevant not to become irrelevant because of the promise of secrecy, etc.

This section provides that, any confession that is otherwise relevant does not become irrelevant because of the promise of secrecy, etc. The main objective of this section is to ensure that the relevant confessions are not excluded solely based on how they were obtained. 

  • State of Kerala vs. Rajan (1981)

In this case, the Kerala High Court emphasised the importance of carefully examining the circumstances surrounding the confession. The court stated that “the court must consider all the facts and circumstances of the case to determine whether the confession was freely and voluntarily made.” The court also highlighted the need to consider the time gap between the inducement and the confession, the conduct of the accused, and the presence of any independent corroboration.

Section 30: Consideration of proven confession affecting the person making it and others jointly under trial for the same offence. 

This section applies in circumstances where multiple individuals are accused of the same offence. This provision makes an exemption to the common rule of confessions as evidence that can only be used against the person who made them and not the others. It states that when many people are tried together for the same offence, a confession given by one is admissible against all of them.  

  • Emperor vs. Nanhoo Singh (1930)

The court held that a confession made by one co-accused person is not sufficient to convict another co-accused person, but it can be taken into consideration as corroborating evidence.

Judgement of the case in Sahoo vs. State of UP (1965) 

In the case of Sahoo vs. the State of U.P. (1965), the judgement delivered by the court upheld the conviction and sentence imposed by the High Court. The appellant, Sahoo was found guilty of the murder of Suderpatti based on the evidence presented, including an extra-judicial confession. In the case of Sahoo vs State Of U.P. On 16 February 1965, the The oral statement made by the accused was admissible under Section 17 of the Evidence Act. The court further stated that confession need not be made by the accused to someone else, mere muttering is sufficient. 

Rationale behind the judgement 

The nature of the evidence in the present case is wholly circumstantial, except for the extra-judicial confession. Before applying the present circumstances to this rule, the Court examined the confession of the accused, which was extra-judicial. The two issues relating to the confession were identified by the Court as distinct- 

  • firstly, the admissibility of a confession where there has been no communication with another; and 
  • secondly, the probative values of such confessions. 

The common line of argumentation used is that the implicit idea of a confession is that it is communicated to another person. Hence, a confession made to one’s self is not a confession. Section 24 to Section 30 of the Evidence Act deals with the issue of the admissibility of the confession but does not define the word ‘confession’. The Court referred to the case of Pakala Narayana vs. R, in which the confession has been defined as ‘a statement made by an accused which must either admit in terms the offence or substantially all the facts which constitute the offence.’ However, that raised the question of the definition of a statement. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘statement’ is the ‘act of stating, reciting or presenting verbally or on paper’. Plainly from this definition, communication with another does not appear as a necessary ingredient of a confession. The Court further deliberated that there was no particular reason in law that communication with another would be held to be an essential ingredient. 

The Court further illustrated that an admission or confession can be admitted so long as it is proved. The illustration is of a person A, who kills person B and records the event in his diary without communicating it to another. In such a case, the statement of the accused can be proved and hence will amount to a confession made by him. The same principle applies in the case of an oral statement hence concluding that communication to another is not a necessary ingredient. 

The Court also referred to the case of Bhogilal Chunilal Pandya vs. the State of Bombay (1958), the issue in this case was whether a former statement made by a witness falling within the meaning of Section 157 of the Evidence Act had to be communicated to another before being used to corroborate the testimony of another witness. In this case, the Court concluded that the word ‘statement’ used in Section 157 refers only to ‘something that is stated’ and therefore held a statement which admits guilt, whether communicated or not amounts to a confession. The Court held that no matter the nature of a confession soliloquy it is a direct and relevant piece of evidence. It may be presumed that as it is a declaration against the interest of the person making it, it is likely to be true. However, before such evidence is accepted it must be established using clear and logical evidence what the exact words used by the accused were. Moreover, even if such is proven evidence of such nature, keeping in mind the principles of prudence and justice, the Court concluded that it cannot be the sole ground of conviction and holds only as a corroborative piece of evidence. Therefore, in the present case as the words of the accused were heard and his confession could be proved using the witnesses the Court held it to have corroborative value. 

The Court identified the circumstantial evidence to be the following-

  • The illicit connection between the accused and the deceased;
  • The quarrel between the accused and deceased on the evening of Janmashtami day when the deceased was persuaded to go back to the home of the accused by the persuasion of their neighbour, namely, Mohammed Abdullah;
  •  The deceased had last seen in the company of the accused;
  • During a crucial night, 3 persons namely the accused, the deceased, and the accused’s second son Kripa Shanker slept in the room inside the house;
  • The next morning when Kripa Shanker was asked by his father to go out of the house to attend nature’s call he heard a gurgling sound and saw his father leaving the house muttering something to himself; and
  • The rest of the witnesses saw the accused leaving the house at about 6 A.M. muttering that he finished Sunderpatti and hence ended their daily quarrels.

Considering the circumstantial evidence, the Court was led to the only conclusion that the accused must have murdered no reasonable alternative hypotheses were presented. Here, the Court reaffirmed the rule of circumstantial evidence which is that if the chain of circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn is so complete that it excludes any other possible hypotheses.  


By the end of this article, we learned about admission and confession under the Indian Evidence Act, especially confession. Both admission and confession play important roles in the legal system, especially in civil and criminal matters. While both admission and confession in the Evidence Act need relevant remarks, they have different features and ramifications.  

Admission, unlike confession, encompasses statements made in civil actions that either can be in favour of or against the person making them. Importantly, admission can be made in various settings, including encounters with the authorities or even during police custody. Admission may or may not be convincing proof and can be given by either the parties concerned or a third party. In contrast, confessions in criminal cases represent a direct acknowledgement of guilt and substantial admission regarding the events surrounding the crime, serving as pivotal evidence in legal proceedings. Furthermore, confessions not only implicate the confessing individual but also have implications for co-accused parties, underscoring their significance in establishing culpability and legal accountability. They hold a higher evidentiary value when compared, and are generally considered satisfactory proof of the accused’s guilt.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do you mean by admission under the Indian Evidence Act, of 1872?

Admission is a ‘statement, oral, or documentary or contained in electronic form, which suggests any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made by any of the persons, and under the circumstance’. Admission as specified in Sections 17 to 31 of the Indian Evidence Act, of 1872. Sections 17 to 23 address ‘general admission’, whereas Sections 24 to 31 address ‘confession’. Admission in evidence can be self-harming or self-serving’. Section 17 defines admission as ‘a statement, oral or recorded, which indicates any conclusion as to the fact in question or pertinent facts, and which is made by any of the people, and under the conditions, hereby indicated’. 

What is the relevancy of the confession?

A confession is a substantial piece of evidence against its maker, and if it is properly recorded, there are no legal problems. It would be sufficient to condemn the accused who has confessed, however, the court requires confirmation before acting on it, out of prudence.  

What is extra-judicial confession?

Extra-judicial confession means ‘a confession that is not made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate’. This type of confession is not specifically defined in the Evidence Act, of 1872 and therefore carries less weight as evidence. 



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