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Difference Between Extra-Judicial Confession and Infra-Judicial Confession

The differentiation between extra-judicial and infra-judicial confessions is of utmost importance in the legal field, significantly impacting their admissibility and credibility during court proceedings. This contrast primarily revolves around the recipients of these confessions and the circumstances in which they are made.

An extra-judicial confession refers to an accused person's voluntary admission of guilt to individuals outside the formal legal process, such as friends, acquaintances, relatives, or the media. If these confessions are genuine and not obtained through coercion, they may be presented as evidence in court. However, their admissibility depends on various factors, including the reliability of the source and the absence of duress or inducements. Courts carefully scrutinize the credibility of extra-judicial confessions, examining the circumstances surrounding their disclosure to determine their probative value.

In contrast, an infra-judicial confession is made to individuals within the legal system, such as law enforcement officers, lawyers or legal representatives, but outside the formal courtroom setting consisting of magistrates or judges. While these confessions may seem more credible due to their disclosure to individuals within the legal framework, their validity is not automatically guaranteed. There is a concern that these confessions may be coerced, manipulated, or influenced, compromising their voluntariness and reliability. As such, the admissibility of infra-judicial confessions hinges upon meeting strict requirements to ensure their voluntary nature and authenticity.

There is a critical distinction to be made between extra-judicial and infra-judicial confessions, as this distinction has far-reaching implications for the legal system. Essentially, extra-judicial confessions involve disclosures made to non-legal parties, which may lack the necessary safeguards and procedures that are inherent in interactions within the legal system. On the other hand, infra-judicial confessions occur within the legal framework, ostensibly under the supervision of legal professionals excluding magistrates and judges. However, their reliability may be compromised by factors such as coercion or inducements.

The admissibility and credibility of both types of confessions are contingent upon various factors, including voluntariness, the source's reliability, and the absence of coercion or manipulation. It is the responsibility of the courts to carefully evaluate the circumstances surrounding the disclosure of a confession and determine its admissibility and probative value. This includes considering any potential factors that may undermine its reliability.

In essence, while both extra-judicial and infra-judicial confessions take place outside the courtroom, their recipients and the circumstances under which they are made significantly impact their validity and credibility as evidence in legal proceedings. Striking a balance between upholding the integrity of the legal process and protecting individual rights requires a careful examination of the nuances involved in the disclosure of confessions outside the formal courtroom setting.

However, the term infra-judicial confession is not commonly used nowadays in legal parlance and instead the term extra-judicial confession is used which includes infra-judicial confession also.

According to a ruling by the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of Moorthy v. State of Tamil Nadu, a bench comprising of Justices Abhay S Oka and Sanjay Karol stated on 18 August, 2023 that an extra-judicial confession is typically considered a weak form of evidence, but its credibility is strengthened when supported by other evidence.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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