Self-Incrimination and Confession: Differences in Law


Self-incrimination, confessions, and presumption are all integral concepts in criminal law. They are linked closely to the rights against self-incrimination and the presumption of innocence. The privilege against self-incrimination guarantees that an accused cannot be forced to testify against himself. At the same time, the presumption against innocence demands the prosecution prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In India, the right against self-incrimination is enshrined in

What is the right against self-incrimination in India?

This principle protects people from giving evidence that may incriminate them. This right is saved in India by Article 20(3) of the Constitution, which states: “No one accused of a crime shall be forced to be a victim against themselves.”

The English common law tradition gave rise to the right against self-incrimination, which was then incorporated as a fundamental Indian right into India’s Constitution. The right to self-incrimination is comprehensive, as it applies to all criminal proceedings, including investigations, trials, and appeals. The accused cannot be forced to testify against themselves during any phase of the criminal justice system.

There are some exceptions in India to the right not to self-incriminate. An accused person may be forced to submit a sample from their blood, handwriting, or other bodily liquids if the investigator or judge deems it necessary. The accused can also waive the right voluntarily. This means they can provide self-incriminating proof if that is what they want to do.

In some instances, the right to self-incrimination may also be restricted by other laws. For example, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act allows the seizure of assets acquired through criminal activity. An accused person could be asked to reveal information about their investments even if this incriminates them.

In India, the right against self-incrimination protects people from having to give evidence that may incriminate them. There are some exceptions, but the scope of this right is broad, and it applies to all criminal cases. The Indian legal system must strike a balance in protecting victims’ rights and justice while protecting the rights of those accused.

What is Confession?

According to Indian Evidence Act, confessions are statements made by an accused admitting the commission of a crime. In India, confessions are essential in criminal law because they can be used to prove the guilt of an accused.

There are two types of confessions in India: voluntary and coerced. Voluntary confessions occur when the accused makes them of their own accord, free from any duress or coercion by law enforcement authorities. Coerced confesses are those made under pressure, intimidation, or threats.

In India, only voluntary confessions can be used as evidence. Coerced confessions cannot. The admissibility of a confession is determined by several factors, including the circumstances in which it was made.

Confessions may be made during any phase of the criminal justice system, such as the investigation, the trial, or the appeal. For an admission made by a person to be admissible in court, the individual must have done so voluntarily and without coercion from authorities. The accused must know their right to self-incrimination and confess their own.

Indian law prohibits the admission of confessions obtained by coercion, duress, or threats. This is because they violate an accused’s right to self-incrimination. Indian courts also developed several tests that determine whether a confession is admissible, such as the ” voluntariness” test, the ” totality test,” or the ” credibility test.”

In India, confessions are an essential part of criminal law. They can be used in court as evidence to convict the accused. The admissibility depends on several factors, including whether the confession was given voluntarily or under duress and whether the confession violated the accused’s right to self-incrimination. The Indian legal system must ensure that confessions are obtained legally and fairly and that the rights of the accused are always protected.

Differences between Self-Incrimination in India and Confession

In Indian criminal law, the right against self-incrimination and confession have different implications and legal consequences. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between confession and self-incrimination. It is possible to interpret a statement by a person accused as a confession or even an admission of guilt.

A confession is an admission by the accused of committing an offense. Confessions may be written or oral and obtained during the investigation or trial. Conversely, self-incrimination is the act of giving evidence that could incriminate yourself and is protected under Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution. It means a person cannot be forced into providing evidence that may incriminate themselves.

If an accused person makes incriminating statements, they may be taken as a confession. If an accused person said, “Yes, the crime was mine,” that would be considered a confession. If the accused person does not answer a question when asked, this is considered self-incrimination.

Some can interpret a statement intended to assert your right against self-incrimination as a confession. If an accused says, “I use My Right against Self-incrimination,” this statement can be interpreted as an admission or confession.

In an Indian context, the distinction between confession and self-incrimination can be a bit unclear. The context and intent of the accused determine whether a statement should be considered a confession or an assertion against self-incrimination. The court will interpret the information to decide whether it is a confession.

The two concepts are also related in several ways. For example, a confession by an accused person can be interpreted as a waiver against self-incrimination. A confession by an accused of committing an offense can be viewed as a declaration against the person’s interests. A confession must be voluntary and free from coercion. A confession obtained by force or pressure is not admissible as proof because it violates an accused’s right to self-incrimination.

Self-incrimination has played a significant role in Indian courts. In the case of Nandini Satpathy against P.L., The Supreme Court ruled in Dani that an accused person’s rights against self-incrimination include the right to remain quiet during police questioning. In this case, the accused was asked to submit handwriting samples, and the police questioned him during the investigation. The Supreme Court ruled that the accused had the right not to give handwriting samples and to remain silent when questioned by police.

In another case, State of Bombay V. Kathikalu Oghad, the Supreme Court ruled that a confession gained through mental or physical torture was not admissible in court. In this case, an accused was physically tortured and made to confess to the commission of a crime. The Supreme Court ruled that the confession obtained by coercion was inadmissible evidence.

While the Indian criminal code has two concepts, one is the right not to be incriminated, and another is a confession, both are interrelated and impact each other. The Indian legal system must ensure that both concepts are respected and that the rights of an accused person are always protected. The Indian legal system must ensure that confessions are given voluntarily and that an accused person’s rights against self-incrimination are respected. Both concepts are crucial in ensuring that justice is served.

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