Confessions in Pakistan: Understanding Section 164 Cr.PC

Confession means admitting you did something wrong. It’s when someone accused of a crime says they’re guilty. If a person admits to a crime they’re accused of, it’s called a confession. Confessions are a type of admission. So, while all confessions are admissions, not all admissions are confessions. In this article, you will learn about the confession and section 164 Cr.PC. in detail. So lets get started.

Meaning of Confession

Confession basically means admitting something. It comes from the word “confess,” which means accepting or acknowledging something. In the context of law, confession means admitting to committing a crime.

Confessions are important because they can prove someone is guilty. In Pakistani law, the term “confession” isn’t defined, but in the UK law, it’s defined broadly. According to UK law, a confession includes any statement, whether made to an authority figure or not, that goes against the person who said it.

Unlike Pakistani law, where there’s a specific process for recording confessions before a Judicial Magistrate, UK law accepts confessions in various forms and to different people. We’ll discuss this more later in the paper.

Definition of Confession

According to Sir James Stephen, an admission is when someone accused of a crime says or implies that they committed it. In civil cases, this is called an admission. But in criminal cases, when the accused person says something suggesting they committed the crime, it’s called a confession. So, a confession is when the person charged with a crime says something that implies they’re guilty. Basically, it’s the accused admitting to the offense in a criminal case.

Kinds of Confession

There are four kinds of confession under law:

Judicial confession

A confession made in court before a Magistrate during a legal proceeding is known as a judicial confession. This confession is often used as evidence and is recorded according to Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Before recording such a confession, the Magistrate must warn the accused that they have the right to choose whether or not to confess. The accused must be given time to consider their decision before the confession is recorded.

Extra-Judicial Confession

An extra-judicial confession is when someone admits to a crime outside of court proceedings, like to the police during an investigation or while in police custody. However, this type of confession is not considered relevant in court. In the past, a voluntary confession could lead to a conviction, but now, according to the rule of prudence, it must be supported by other independent evidence. If the court believes the confession wasn’t properly examined or investigated, it may not be accepted. To be considered valid, this type of confession must be supported by other evidence and should seem trustworthy and voluntary.

Retracted Confession

Sometimes, before a trial starts, a person accused of a crime admits to it. However, when the trial begins, they deny it. This often occurs, especially in criminal cases. It happens because there’s not enough police protection or systems in place to safeguard witnesses. In high-profile cases, the status of the opposing party can also influence the accused or witnesses.

Confession by co-accused

When multiple people are being tried together for the same crime, if one of them confesses and implicates themselves and others, the court can use that confession as evidence against both the person who made it and the others involved.

For example, if two people, E and F, are accused of murdering C, and E confesses, saying “F and I murdered C,” the court can consider this confession as evidence against F as well. However, if only E is being tried for the murder and there’s evidence that both E and F were involved, but F confesses saying “E and I murdered C,” the court cannot use F’s confession as evidence against E because F is not being tried alongside E.

I hope you have completely understand the various kinds of confession under law, lets learn about the method of recoding of confession.

Manner of Recording of Confession

Before recording a confession, the magistrate has to explain to the person confessing that:

  1. he is not bound to make such confession and
  2. if he makes such a confession, it can be used against him as evidence.

Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code is like a safety net to prevent forced confessions. To make sure a confession is given willingly, the magistrate must follow certain steps:

  1. The magistrate must make it clear to the person being questioned that they don’t have to confess and that if they do, it can be used against them.
  2. The person must be given time to think about whether they want to confess or not.
  3. The confession should only be taken if the person decides to do it voluntarily after considering everything.

By following these steps, the magistrate helps make sure any confession made is genuine and not forced.

Understanding Section 164 Cr.PC

Before going deep to understand section 164 Cr.PC you must know what section 164 Cr.PC is:

What is Section 164 Cr.PC.

Section 164 is about the Power to record statements and confessions.

As per law any Magistrate of the First Class or any Magistrate of the Second Class authorized by the Provincial Government can record any statement or confession made to them during an investigation or afterwards, before the inquiry or trial begins, as long as they’re not a police officer.

Section 164 Cr.PC Explained

Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows a Magistrate to record a person’s statement or confession, even if they don’t have jurisdiction over the case.

The Magistrate can record such statements in front of the accused, who also gets a chance to question the person making the statement.

The Magistrate will record the statement in the best way they think is suitable for the case. Confessions will be recorded and signed as per Section 364, and then sent to the Magistrate handling the inquiry or trial.

Before recording a confession, the Magistrate must tell the person that they don’t have to confess and that if they do, it can be used against them. The Magistrate can only record the confession if they believe it was made voluntarily. They must also make a note at the end of the record stating this:

“I have explained to (name) that he is not bound to make a confession and that, if he does so, any confession he may make may be used as evidence against him and I believe that this confession was voluntarily made. It was taken in my presence and hearing, and was read over to the person making it and admitted by him to be correct, and it contains a full and true account of the statement made by him.”

Regarding the status of a Magistrate, it is not necessary that the Magistrate receiving and recording a confession or statement should be a Magistrate having jurisdiction in the case.

Difference between Section 164 and Section 364 Cr.PC

Section 164 and Section 364 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) in Pakistan address various aspects of the legal procedures concerning the recording of statements and confessions by Magistrates:

Section 164 of Cr.P.C deals with the recording of statements or confessions by a Magistrate. It delineates the Magistrate’s authority to document an accused individual’s statement, ensuring that the process is conducted correctly and in compliance with legal protocols.

Statements or confessions recorded under this section are admissible as evidence in court proceedings. Specifically, the section specifies that either a Magistrate of First Class or a Magistrate of Second Class authorized by the provincial government can undertake this task.

On the other hand, Section 364 of Cr.P.C outlines the procedure for recording confessions by a Magistrate. It defines the method of recording and signing confessions, emphasizing the importance of these recorded confessions as evidence in criminal cases. The section mandates the forwarding of recorded confessions to the Magistrate in charge of the subsequent inquiry or trial, ensuring meticulous and legally compliant recording practices.

In essence, although both sections pertain to the recording of statements and confessions by Magistrates, Section 164 focuses on the Magistrate’s authority in recording statements, while Section 364 specifically details the procedure for recording confessions.

Statutory law of Pakistan

In Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 8, the concept of confessional statement is elaborated, with the procedure for recording it outlined in Section 364 of the same code. The section specifies that only a Magistrate of First or Second Class authorized by the provincial government can record an accused person’s statement, excluding police officers from this task. The Quanoon-e-Shahadat Order of 1984 stipulates conditions for admitting a confessional statement made by the accused.

Article 37 of the Quanoon-e-Shahadat Order of 1984 states that a confession obtained through threats, promises, or coercion is deemed invalid in court. Unlike the United Kingdom, Article 38 of the law in Pakistan restricts the admissibility of confessions made to police during investigations. While the UK allows voluntary statements made to police in court, Pakistan does not consider such confessions.

Under current Pakistani law, an accused’s statement made before an authorized Judicial Magistrate of First or Second Class can be used as evidence. According to Article 16 of the Quanoon-e-Shahadat Order of 1984, an accused can testify as a witness except in Hudood cases. However, Article 129 Illustration (b) adds that an accomplice’s testimony is unreliable without supporting evidence. Sections 337 and 338 of the Criminal Procedure Code explain the acceptance procedure for an accomplice’s statement during a trial.

In certain instances, the prosecution can pardon an accomplice under specific conditions if they provide a complete and truthful account of the crime. Failure to provide accurate information may lead to the accomplice’s conviction based on their own statement.

So, now I hope you have learn enough about confession and section 164 Cr.PC. under law. If you like this post then following posts will be beneficial for you.

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