Vinod Solanki vs. UOI (Supreme Court)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 13, 2009 (Date of publication)

Effect of retraction of statement of confession.

Where during FERA search proceedings the accused-appellant allegedly confessed to violations of the law and later filed an affidavit retracting his confession and the Tribunal and the High Court rejected the retraction on the basis that the onus was on the accused to show that the confession was obtained from him by threat, coercion or force, HELD reversing the lower authorities that:

(i) It is trite law that evidences brought on record by way of confession which stood retracted must be substantially corroborated by other independent and cogent evidences, which would lend adequate assurance to the court that it may seek to rely thereupon;

(ii) The initial burden to prove that the confession was voluntary in nature would be on the Department. The special or peculiar knowledge of the person proceeded against would not relieve the prosecution or the Department altogether of the burden of producing some evidence in respect of that fact in issue. It may only alleviate that burden to discharge and very slight evidence may suffice;

(iii) A person accused of commission of an offence is not expected to prove to the hilt that confession had been obtained from him by any inducement, threat or promise by a person in authority. The burden is on the prosecution to show that the confession is voluntary in nature and not obtained as an outcome of threat, etc. if the same is to be relied upon solely for the purpose of securing a conviction.

(iv) With a view to arrive at a finding as regards the voluntary nature of statement or otherwise of a confession which has since been retracted, the Court must bear in mind the attending circumstances which would include the time of retraction, the nature thereof, the manner in which such retraction has been made and other relevant factors. Law does not say that the accused has to prove that retraction of confession made by him was because of threat, coercion, etc. but the requirement is that it may appear to the court as such.

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