Updated: May 20, 2020

An accused who makes a confession under section 164 CrPC, may go back or withdraw his statements. This is called a retracted confession. To solve this the courts have evolved certain principles :

1- A confession statement duly recorded by the magistrate under section 164 CrPC is not to be regarded as not voluntarily merely because there was retraction by the accused.

2- As against the accused, the retract confession may form the basis of a conviction, but as a rule of prudence and caution the retraction should be looked with suspicion, and corroboration is necessary to convict him.

3- Against, the co-accused, the value of retracted confession is nil, and hence substantial corroboration is necessary, to convict the co-accused.

4- The accused may show satisfactory evidence to establish that the confession was made out of fear, duress, police torture, inducement or promise of some person in authority. Mere retraction is of no value.

In an English case, A in 1905 confessed that he had murdered 20 years ago.

He retracted in the trial. He said that after reading a story, he had fancied that he had murdered and made this confession. The court held that his confession was accurate.

It rejected the retraction and convicted him.