Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in India pertains to the recording of confessions and statements by a Judicial Magistrate or Executive Magistrate. This section is an essential safeguard in criminal proceedings to ensure that confessions and statements made by accused persons or witnesses are recorded accurately and voluntarily. Let’s delve into the key aspects of Section 164 CrPC:
Section 164 CrPC: Recording of Confessions and Statements
- Authority to Record Statements: Section 164 CrPC empowers a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or any Metropolitan Magistrate or Executive Magistrate to record confessions and statements made by accused individuals or witnesses during the course of a criminal investigation.
- Voluntary Nature of Statements: The section emphasizes that any statement or confession recorded under this provision must be made voluntarily. The Magistrate must ensure that the person making the statement does so without any inducement, threat, or promise, and that the statement is not a result of coercion or undue influence.
- Confessions and Statements Before the Police: Section 164 CrPC provides a safeguard against the use of statements made before the police, as such statements are generally considered to be more susceptible to coercion. Statements made before the police are not admissible as evidence in court. Only statements recorded by a Magistrate under this section can be used as evidence in the trial.
- Right to Legal Counsel: Before recording a confession from an accused, the Magistrate must inform the accused of their right to consult a lawyer. If the accused wishes to have a lawyer present, the Magistrate must provide a reasonable opportunity for the accused to do so.
- Recording the Procedure: The Magistrate is required to record the entire procedure of recording the confession or statement in writing. This includes recording the questions put to the accused or witness and the answers given by them.
- Identification of Accused: If the accused is unknown or there is doubt regarding their identity, the Magistrate must take reasonable measures to ensure the correct identification of the accused.
- Signature or Thumb Impression: Once the recording is complete, the person making the statement must sign it, and if the person cannot sign, they shall provide their thumb impression. The Magistrate must also endorse their certificate on the record, mentioning the date and time of recording.
- Copies of Statements: The Magistrate must furnish copies of the recorded statements to the police officer conducting the investigation and to the accused or their counsel, if any.
The recording of statements under Section 164 CrPC is critical in criminal cases as it helps in ensuring the admissibility of confessions and statements as evidence during the trial. It acts as a safeguard against potential police misconduct, coercion, or false confessions. The provision reinforces the principle of fair and just criminal proceedings, protecting the rights of both the accused and witnesses.