Daily Practice Quiz #5 (Relevancy of Facts - Section 6, 7, 8 & 9 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872)
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Relevancy of Facts
Section 6: Facts forming part of the Same Transaction:
“Facts which though not in issue are so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction are relevant, whether they occurred in the same time and place or at different times and places”
(a) A is accused of the murder of B by beating him. Whatever was said or done by A or B or the by-standers at the beating, or so shortly before or after it as to form part of the transaction, is a relevant fact
(b) A is accused of waging war against the 1Government of India by taking part in an armed insurrection in which property is destroyed, troops are attacked and gaols are broken open. The occurrence of these facts is relevant, as forming part of the general transaction, though A may not have been present at all of them.
(c) A sues B for a libel contained in a letter forming part of a correspondence. Letters between the parties relating to the subject out of which the libel arose, and forming part of the correspondence in which it is contained, are relevant facts, though they do not contain the libel itself.
(d) The question is, whether certain goods ordered from B were delivered to A. The goods were delivered to several intermediate persons successively. Each delivery is a relevant fact.
This section is based on the English Law of Evidence Doctrine of Res Gestae which means, things done or words spoken. Indian Evidence Act doesn’t use the word Res Gestae but holds that whenever any fact in issue all the facts which form the part of the same transaction becomes relevant.
Sec. 6 read in the light of illustrations appended to it makes the following points clear:
1. Acts including statements which form the part of the transaction of which a fact in issue is also a part are relevant.
2. Such acts and statements may be of the parties to the case or of third persons.
3. They must be contemporaneous with the fact in issue or must be so soon before or after it that it may be considered as part of the same transaction of which the fact in issue is a part.
4. Such acts or statements may take place at the same time and place or at different times and places.
The statement must be a spontaneous statement and not a narrative of the past. This is because if the statement is a spontaneous statement there is no chance of concoction and hence it is reliable. If there is some time gap between the occurrence of the fact and the statement, there is enough time to fabricate facts or to distort the fact, and its reliability is lost. Such statement becomes hearsay. Similarly, an act accompanying the fact in issue is a relevant fact if it is a spontaneous reaction. An act which is done at a later time is a premeditated act and hence is not a relevant fact.
R v Christie
The accused was charged with indecent assault on a five year old boy. Shortly after the assault the boy and his mother came up to the accused and the boy told his mother, “Mom, this is the man.” The evidence of the statement of the boy identifying the accused was admitted as forming the part of the same transaction, but evidence of the boy’s explanation of assault was rejected as hearsay.
R v. Beddingfield
Here, a woman with a cut throat came running out of a house. She was crying continuously but did not say a word about how the injury was caused. However, as soon as her aunt came she told her, O Aunt, see what Beddingfield has done to me.
Cockburn CJ delivering the judgment explained:
Such statements in order that they may be admissible as res gestae should be contemporaneous with the transaction in issue, so as to give no time/opportunity for concoction or fabrication. The statements should not amount to a mere of a past occurrence.
Ratten v Reginan
The accused was prosecuted for committing the murder of a woman by shooting her. His defence was that the gun fired accidentally and that he did not intend to kill her. There was evidence to show that the victim had tried to call the police shortly before her death. Her call and the words she spoke were held to be relevant under s. 6. Her call showed that the shooting was intentional and not accidental because no victim of accidental shooting can think of calling police.
Sawal Das V. State of Bihar.
The cry of the children from the house when their mother was being killed by their father became a part of the same transaction and therefore fell under section 6 and became admissible as valid evidence.
Resgaeste is qn exception to the rule of exclusion go hearsay evidence. For example in R v Foster he deceased was killed in an accident by a speeding truck. The witness had only seen the speeding vehicle towards the deceased and not the actual accident, his view being blocked by another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. Immediately after the accident the witness went to the deceased and he explained to him the nature of the accident
The witness was allowed to give evidence of what the deceased said, it being a part of the transaction.
Section 7 : Occasion, Cause, Effect, State of things and Opportunity
facts which are the occasion, cause, or effect, immediately or otherwise, of relevant facts, or facts in issue, or which constitute the state of things under which they happened, or which afforded an opportunity for their occurrence or transaction, are relevant
(a) The question is, whether A robbed B. The facts that, shortly before the robbery, B went to a fair with money in his possession, and that he showed it, or mentioned the fact that he had it, to third persons, are relevant.
(b) The question is, whether A murdered B. Marks on the ground, produced by a struggle at or near the place where the murder was committed, are relevant facts.
(c) The question is, whether A poisoned B. The state of B’s health before the symptoms ascribed to poison, and habits of B, known to A, which afforded an opportunity for the administration of poison, are relevant facts.
Under this section the following facts are relevant:
1. Facts which are the occasion, cause or effect of a fact in issue or relevant fact.
2. Facts which constitute the state of things under which a fact in issue or a relevant fact under which they happened.
3. Facts which afforded opportunity for the happening of a fact in issue or a relevant fact.
4. Facts which constitute the state of things under which a fact in issue or a relevant fact under which they happened.
5. Facts which afforded opportunity for the happening of a fact in issue or a relevant fact.
Evidence can always be given of the set of the circumstances which constituted the occasion for the happening of the principal fact. For example in R v Richardson that fact that the deceased girl was alone in her cottage at the time of her murder constituted the murder. Illustration (a) is also on the same point.
Evidence can be given of the set of the circumstances which constitute the cause for the happening of the principal fact. Cause explains why a particular act was done that helps the court to connect a person with act. For example, in a case where the question is whether a person has taken a loan, the fact that he was running short of money can be shown as evidence as the cause loan.
Every act leaves behind certain effects which not only records the happening of the act but also throw light upon the nature of the act. Illustration (b) is on the same point. Such facts may be either immediate or otherwise are relevant. R v Richardson, where a young girl was killed in her cottage, the foot prints , the scattered things explain the nature of the act.
Circumstances which afford opportunity for the happening of a fact in issue are relevant. Illustration (c) is on the same point.
State of things
The facts which constitute the state of things for the happening of a fact in issue are relevant under this section.
Section 8: Motive, Preparation, Conduct Previous or Subsequent
"Any fact is relevant which shows or constitutes a motive or preparation for any fact in issue or relevant fact.
The conduct of any party, or of any agent to any party, to any suit or proceeding, in reference to such suit or proceeding, or in reference to any fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, and the conduct of any person an offense against whom is the subject of any proceeding, is relevant, if such conduct influences or is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact, and whether it was previous or subsequent thereto.
The word “conduct” in this section does not include statements unless those statements accompany and explain acts other than statements; but this explanation is not to affect the relevancy of statements under any other section of this Act.
When the conduct of any person is relevant, any statement made to him or in his presence and hearing, which affects such conduct, is relevant.
Motive, generally means that which moves or induces a person to act in a certain way. A desire, fear, reason etc. which influences a person’s volition. Motive is productive of physical or mechanical motion. Motive is often used as meaning, purpose, something objective and external as contrasted with a mere mental state. Motive by itself is no crime, however heinous it be. But once the crime is committed, the evidence of motive become important. Helps the court to connect the person with the crime.
A is tried for the murder of B.
The facts that, A murdered C, that B knew that A had murdered C, and that B had tried to extort money from A by threatening to make his knowledge public, are relevant.
According to illustration A has committed a murder of which B has knowledge and B tries to extort money from A by threatening to make his knowledge public. A in consequence kills B also. B’s Knowledge of A’s earlier murder and threatening him are relevant to show the motive on the part of A for killing B.
Acts of preparation are relevant under this section. Again preparation by itself is no crime. But once an offence is committed the evidence of preparation becomes important. For example in R v Palmer, where the death is caused by poisoning, the a fact shortly before the accused procured the poison similar to the one administered is relevant
Facts constituting the Conduct are also relevant under this section. The conduct of the party before or after the transaction is also very relevant as circumstantial evidence.
To be relevant under s. 8, conduct must satisfy the following conditions:
1. The conduct must be
(a) of any party to any suit or proceeding, or
(b) of any agent to any party to any suit or proceeding, or
(c) of any person an offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding.
2. The conduct must be in reference to
(a) such suit or proceeding, or
(b) any fact in issue in such suit or proceeding, or
(c) a fact relevant to any fact in issue in such suit or proceeding.
3. The conduct must
(a) influence any fact in issue or relevant fact; or (b) be influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact.
4. The conduct may be
(a) previous conduct, or
(b) concurrent conduct, or (c) subsequent conduct.
A is accused of a crime
The facts, either before or at the time of, or after the alleged crime, A provided evidence which would tend to give to the facts of the case an appearance favourable to himself, on that he destroyed or concealed evidence, or prevented the presence or procured the absence of persons who might have been witnesses, or suborned persons to give false evidence respecting it, are relevant
2. A is accused of a crime.
The facts that, after the commission of the alleged crime, he absconded or was in possession of property or the proceeds of property acquired by the crime, or attempted to conceal things which were or might have been used in committing it, are relevant
Explanation 1 to Section 8
Statements may be classified into two categories.
1. Mere statements, which do not do anything more than giving information of or narrating a fact.
2. Statements which are themselves an act.
Statements falling under the second category are relevant as conduct, inasmuch as they are themselves acts.
As to the first category of the statements, Explanation 1 to sec. 8 provides that they are not relevant except under the following two circumstances:
1. The statement accompanies and explains acts other than statements.
2. The statement is relevant under any other section of this Act.
Section 9; Facts Necessary to Explain Or Introduce Relevant Facts
Sec. 9 deals with relevancy of facts which are introductory or explanatory in nature, or supports or rebuts a fact in issue or a relevant fact, or which establishing identity of a person or thing.
Under sec. 9 the following facts are relevant:
1. facts which explain a fact in issue or relevant fact,
2. facts which introduce a fact in issue or relevant fact,
3. facts which support an inference suggested by a fact in issue or relevant fact,
4. facts which rebut an inference suggested by a fact in issue or relevant fact,
5. facts which establish the identity of anything or person whose identity is relevant, 6. facts which fix the time or place at which any fact in issue or relevant fact happened,
7. facts which show the relation of parties by whom any such fact was transacted.
There are many pieces of evidence which have no meaning at all if considered separately, but become relevant when consider in connection with some other facts. Such facts explain the fact in issue or relevant fact.
Facts which are introductory of a relevant fact, are of great importance in understanding real nature of transaction and being relevant. Therefore, evidence is allowed of facts which are necessary to introduce fact in issue or relevant fact.
Facts Supporting Inference
There are facts which are neither relevant as facts in issue nor as relevant facts but they support the inference suggested by the facts in issue or relevant fact or contradict the facts in issue or relevant fact.
Facts Rebutting Inference
There are facts, which can rebut or contradict the inferences suggested by the facts in issue or relevant fact, and hence, relevant
Facts Establishing Identity of a Thing
Facts establishing identity of a thing or a person may be relevant in some cases. When the identity of thing is in question, every fact which will be helpful to identify the thing is relevant.
Facts Establishing Identity of a Person
When the identity of a person is in question, identification by parents, wife or other relatives is relevant. In any special case identification of a person can be made by bodily mark, sign or cut mark. There are other means of identification by medical examinations, namely, examination of skeleton, bones, age, voice, blood group etc. The identification of any person may also be possible by expert evidence, such as evidence of handwriting, finger print, foot print, photograph etc. experts.
Test Identification Parade
One of the methods of establishing identity of the accused is ‘test identification parade. The purpose of TI parade is “to check memory of eye-witness and also for prosecution to decide as to who can be cited as eye-witness.”Its object is also to enable the eye-witness of the incident to identify the accused before a Magistrate.
a) The question is, whether a given document is the will of A. The state of A`s property and of his family at the date of the alleged will may be relevant facts.
(b) A sues B for a libel imputing disgraceful conduct to A;B affirms that the matter alleged to be libelous is true. The position and relations of the parties at the time when the libel was published may be relevant facts as introductory to the facts in issue. The particulars of a dispute between A and B about a matter unconnected with the alleged libel are irrelevant, though the fact that there was a dispute may be relevant if it affected the relations between A and B.
(c) A is accused of a crime. The fact that, soon after the commission of the crime, A absconded from his house, is relevant under section 8, as a conduct subsequent to and affected by facts in issue. The fact that, at the time when he left home he had sudden and urgent business at the place to which he went is relevant, as tending to explain the fact that he left home suddenly. The details of the business on which he left are not relevant except in so far as they are necessary to show that the business was sudden and urgent.
(d) A sues B for inducing C to break a contract of service made by him with A.C, on leaving A`s service, says to A - "I am leaving you because B has made me better offer." The statement is a relevant fact as explanatory of C`s conduct which is relevant as a fact in issue.
(e) A, accused of theft is seen to give the stolen property to B, who is seen to give it to A`s wife. B says as he delivers it "A says you are to hide this." B`s statement is relevant as explanatory of a fact which is pat of the transaction. A is tried for a riot and is proved to have marched at the head of a mob. The cries of the mob are relevant as explanatory of the nature of the transaction.