Admission And Confession – A Homogenous?


Before proceeding towards the definition given in the legal enactment(s) one must know its literal meaning. The term ‘Admission’ means stating something or admitting something other than guilt. So now the question is does confession also meant the same. The answer is no, as there is a very thin life difference between confession and admission. The word ‘confession’ means acknowledgment of guilt made by a person after an offense has been committed.

ADMISSION {Sec. 17-23, 31}

According to sec. 17 of Indian Evidence Act,

“An 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 circumstances, as described under Indian Evidence Act.”

Admission is a substantive piece of evidence but not conclusive proof also it waives or dispenses the production of evidence by concealing that the fact asserted by the opponent is true. In the case, Raja Pratap Bahadur Singh v. Raja Rajgan Maharaj Jagatjit Singh [1936 Lucknow] it was held that admissions are a very weak kind of evidence and the court may reject the same if it is satisfied from other circumstances that they are untrue. Hence it shifts the onus to the maker on the principle that what a party himself admits to be true may be reasonably presumed to be true so that until the presumption is rebutted the fact admitted must be taken to be true.

In English Law, the term ‘admission’ is used only in civil cases but in Indian laws, it is used in both civil as well as criminal cases. The statement is a genus; admission is the species and confession is the sub-species. Admission will lose its effect if not made voluntarily.


Sec. 18 of the Indian Evidence Act allocates classes of person who all can make an admission-
• Party to the proceeding
• Agent authorized by such party [but the statement of agent will be binding only during the term of agency and before proving admission by the agent he has to prove his agency]
• Party suing or sued in a representative character making admission while holding such character [it will include trustees, executors, administrators, managers, etc.]
• Person who have a proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject matter of the proceeding
• Person from whom parties have derived the interests in the subject matter of the suit
Admission of a fact made by a pleader in the conduct of the suit on his client’s behalf is binding on the client. But a party is not bound by a pleader’s admission in an argument on what is a pure question of law.

An exception to Sec. 18-

Sec 19 – Admissions by persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit
Sec. 19 states that any third party gives such a statement that proves the liability and right against any party to the suit will be admissible. The object of this section is not to lay down that certain statements are relevant or admissible but merely to add the category of a person by whom a statement made before considered to be an admission within the terms of the act.

Sec. 20- Admissions by persons expressly referred to by party to suit
When the party expressly refers to the third person for some information in reference to the subject matter which is in dispute then the statement made by the third person will be admissible.
Sec. 19 and Sec 20 are exceptions to the rule that statements made by strangers to a proceeding are not admissible within the terms of the act.

It is a general rule that admission cannot be proved on or on behalf of a person who makes it but sec. 21 is an exception to this general rule. Sec. 21 has three clauses which state that-
• Person making the admission was dead and hence his admission made earlier during his lifetime will be admissible (Sec. 32)
• When the statement is about the existence of any state of mind, body, or about the time when such state of mind or body existed and accompanied by the conduct then that statement will be held admissible (sec. 14)
• When the fact is not otherwise relevant to become relevant (Sec11)


Admission can be made either orally, documentary or in electronic form as mentioned in Sec.17. But sec. 22 and Sec. 22 A deals with when oral admission as to contents of document or electronic form will become relevant.
Oral admissions as to the contents of a document are not relevant, unless and until the party proposing to prove them shows that he is entitled to give secondary evidence of the contents of such document under the rules hereinafter contained, or unless the genuineness of a document produced is in question.

For Example- Atul executed a deed of the mortgage against Deeba. Later Deeba files a suit for possession of the property but during the trial, Atul denied the existence of any such deed. So in this case Deeba Can’t prove by oral evidence that she has before some men admitted that Atul mortgaged a deed. She has to produce the original deed in a court of law.


In civil cases if it appears to the court that parties to the suit have mutually agreed together that evidence should not be given or made upon an express condition the evidence not to be given then any admission made related to it will be irrelevant. But this section will not discharge any barrister, advocate, attorney, pleader from giving evidence which he is compelled to give u/s 126 of Evidence Act.
This section gives effect to the maxim ‘interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium’ which means it is for the interest of the state that there should be an end to litigation.


Sec. 31 of the Indian Evidence Act states that Admissions are not conclusive proof but they act as estoppel.
Estoppel has been defined in Sec. 115 of the evidence act. The bare reading of section 115 of the said act is-

“When one person has, by his declaration, act or omission, intentionally caused or permitted another person to believe a thing to be true and to act upon such belief, neither he nor his representative shall be allowed, in any suit or proceeding between himself and such person or his representative, to deny the truth of that thing”


Confession has not been defined anywhere in the Act. A ‘confession’ is an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime, stating or suggesting the inference that he committed the crime. It is also said that every confession is an admission but every admission is not a confession. The substantive law of confession is contained in Sec. – 24 to 30 of the evidence act and the procedural laws in Sec. 164, 281, 463 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It is presumed that a person will not make an untrue statement against his own interest. It has been held in Palvinder Kaur v. State of Punjab[ AIR 1952] that confession must either be accepted or rejected as a whole and the court is not competent to accept only the inculpatory part while rejecting the exculpatory part as incredible. Moving towards the further procedures of confession, let’s see what are the laws related to it.


Sec. 24- Confession caused by inducement, threat or promise, when irrelevant in a criminal proceeding.
Sec. 24 of the Indian Evidence Act states that—A confession made by an accused person will become irrelevant in a criminal proceeding, if it appears to the Court that the confession has been caused by any inducement, threat or promise, having reference to the charge against the accused person and such inducement, threat, promise has proceeded from a person who is in authority and is sufficient, in the opinion of the Court, to give the accused person grounds, which would appear to him reasonable, for supposing that by making it he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceedings against him.
Here authority is not merely a police officer or a judicial magistrate but every such person who reasonably holds sway over investigation or trial.
Sec. 28 make this section relevant only if the threat, promise, or inducement is fully removed before recording the confession.

Sec. 25 – Confession to a police officer

A confession made to a police officer shall not be proved against an accused who made it and this confession will be held as inadmissible. The reason behind this is police officers are often regarded as untrustworthy.
But in the case Sita Ram v. State of UP [AIR 1966 SC], a confession was written to a letter and signed by the accused and addressed to a police officer was held to be admissible as the letter was not written in the presence of police officer.
Sec. 162 of CrPC also enacts that no statement made by any person to the police officer in the course of an investigation shall if taken down in writing, be signed by the person making it, then such writing will not be used as evidence.

Sec. 26 – Confession in police custody

A confession made by any person in the custody of police will be held inadmissible unless it shall be recorded in the immediate presence of the Magistrate.
The object of Sec. 25 and 26 is to prevent the practice of torture by the police for the purpose of extracting a confession from the accused person. A confession made by any person in the custody of police is held inadmissible in law because it is against the rule of natural law. The presence of the Magistrate secures the free and voluntary nature of confession.


Sec. 27 of the act states that if the confession of the accused is supported by the discovery of a fact then it may be presumed to be true and not to have been extracted and it comes into operation only if-
• When certain facts are deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from an accused person in police custody.
• If the information relates distinctly to the fact discovered.

This section is an exception to Sec. 25 and 26. The object of this section is to admit the evidence which is relevant to the matter under inquiry namely the guilt of the accused and not to admit the evidence which is not relevant to that matter. The very first condition to bring sec. 27 into operation is the discovery of a fact in pursuance of information received from the accused. Where the accused made the disclosure statement leading to the discovery of offense then the statement of the accused will be admissible.


Sec. 29 of the Indian Evidence Act states that, if the confession is made under a promise of secrecy or in consequence of deception which has been practiced on the accused, or when he was drunk, or when it was made as an answer for a question which the person making it is not supposed to answer or if he was not warned that he was bound against his confession, for the purpose of obtaining it then such confession will not become irrelevant.

Sec. 164 of CrPC provides the formalities to be undergone by a Magistrate in recording confession. The magistrate has a duty to explain the pros and cons. Of confession to a person making it. But the abovementioned section does not make a confession irrelevant because the accused was not warned that he was not bound to make it.

Sec. 30 of the act states that when more than one person is jointly accused of the same offence and if one of the co-accused makes a confession regarding himself and some other such persons, the court will take that confession into account against the accused and his co-accused. In Kashmira Singh v State of MP (AIR 1952 SC159), the court held that the confession of an accused person against a co-accused will not run evidence as it does not come within the meaning of evidence contained in sec.3 of the evidence act.


After all the terms “confession and admission” were coined for evidentiary use, courts have endeavored to draw clear distinctions between them. Conclusively, it can be said that the admission has a vast scope than confession, as the hindmost comes under the ambit of the former. Hence, every confession is an admission, but the reverse is not true.
The major difference between these two is that in the case of confession, the conviction is based on the statement itself, however, in the case of admission, additional evidence is required, to support the conviction.

The distinction between a confession and an admission is not based upon a practical clarification but is based upon the substantive differences of the character of the evidence extrapolated from each. This is to say, a confession is a direct acknowledgment of guilt, on the part of the accused, and by the very definition of it, ostracized an admission which of itself is a statement, oral or documentary, that enables the court to recollect a conclusion as to any relevant fact or fact in issue. It will be meticulously to say that every confession, is an admission but every admission doesn’t necessarily amount to a confession. In other words, a confession is an admission provided that a person charged with a crime, standing or suggesting the inference that he committed the crime, makes it at any time.

This Article is Written by Deeba Faryal, The author has completed her law degree in 2020 and has enrolled as an Advocate under Maharashtra and Goa. Currently, she has been preparing for judicial services.

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