Res Gestae: An Exception To The Rule of Hearsay Evidence

INTRODUCTION

Res Gestae are those “facts which are so closely connected with the fact in issue” that one cannot distinguish between the two. Often, they are called by the same name or “form part of the same transaction.” In these cases, since the facts are so connected, there are less chances of fabrication.

In restricted meaning, “Res Gestae imports the conception of action by some person producing the effects for which the liability is sought to be enforced in action.” Res Gestae can be defined as “those circumstances which are the automatic and undersigned incidents of a particular litigated act and which are admissible when illustrative of such act.”

But before understanding Res Gestae, we need an understanding of hearsay evidence.

Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay Evidence is evidence which is not direct. A person who himself has not seen the fact or has not perceived it through any other senses and has evidence then his evidence will be called as hearsay evidence.

Hearsay evidence is not admissible at any cost and even if parties do not object to it, hearsay evidence will still not be admissible.

Why is Hearsay Evidence not accepted?

The major reasons why Hearsay Evidence is not admissible in the court of law are as follows:

  • There is no effective cross-examination
  • There is suppression of better testimony
  • It will result in prolonged trials
  • It will open doors to fraud
  • It is essentially secondary evidence
  • The person giving hearsay evidence has no responsibility towards the case at all

Types of Res Gestae Evidence

The following fall within the ambit of Res Gestae.

  1. Dying Declaration [Section 32(1)]
  2. Admissions and Confessions
  3. Statement made by people who are dead [Section 32(2)]
  4. Statement in books of accounts [Section 34]
  5. Opinion by third persons [Section 54]

Elements of Res Gestae

The elements of Res Gestae are as follows:

  • It must be automatic.
  • It is to be undesigned.
  • It must be natural.
  • It must be spontaneous.
  • It must be continuous.

 

Statements as Res Gestae

In “Gentela Vijay Vardhan Rao and Ors vs. State of Andhra Pradesh AIR 1996 SC 2791, the Magistrate recorded the statement of the victim under apprehension of death, but “in view of the appreciable interval between acts of carnage and Magistrate’s recording, the statement recorded did not form part of Res Gestae.”

The Time and Space ( Section 7)

In Sukhar vs. State of UP (1999) 9 SCC 507, it was held that the statements sought to be admitted as forming part of res gestae must have been made contemporaneously with the acts or immediately thereafter.

No uniformity exists in the length of time over which the transaction shall properly be held to extend. There is no limitation on the territorial boundaries within which the transaction should occur that can be imposed as well.

Motive, preparation and previous or subsequent conduct (Section 8)

Motive can be an emotion, a state of mind which has led to the act. Motive itself is not a crime. Evidence of motive helps the Court to connect the accused with the deed.

There cannot be one rule for every person in this case. It must depend upon the mere character of a person. There can be no motive which could drive an honest person to commit an offence while for an immoral person, the slightest motive may induce him to commit a crime.

Statement in answer to a question

Section 6 requires that the statement “must have been made contemporaneously with the act or immediately after it and not at such an interval of time as to make it a narrative of past events.”

In “Pratap Singh vs. State 1971 Cr Lj 172”, it was held that if the statement is an answer to a query after lapse of some time, it cannot be treated as res gestae.

In Sawal Das vs. State of Bihar, AIR 1974 SC 778, it was held that at the time of murder, the cry of deceased ‘save me’ and that of her children that their mother was being killed are relevant as res gestae.

Statements of by-standers

A statement of a by-stander is admissible under Section 6 “if it forms part of the same transaction with the fact in issue.” It should be kept in mind that the statement given by a by-stander is admissible only if the person who gave the statement gave it simultaneously or right after the incident occurred.  In “Mahadeo vs. State of M.P 1975 Cr Lj 110, it was determined that the remark made by the persons other than the eye-witnesses could only be hearsay because they must have picked up the news from others.”

In Mahendra Pal vs. State AIR 1955 All. 328, the place where a murder was committed was occupied by a several people apart from the deceased and eye-witnesses. Several of those people came up immediately after and were informed by the eye-witnesses as to who the 2 culprits had been. The statements of made by these said people were held to be admissible.”

FIR when Res Gestae

In Shyam Nandan Singh vs. State of Bihar, 1991  Cr.L.J. 3550, it was held that “If a witness present at the scene of occurrence sees the whole occurrence from beginning to end, makes cry about the offence being committed when people from vicinity reach, he tells the story of occurrence and then after some time goes to the police station and makes an FIR, the making of the report is part of the transaction and so it will amount to res gestae. The fact that some time has elapsed better the occurrence and report is immaterial.”

Conclusion

Res gestae is applied in cases where other sections of the IEA are not applicable. This aimed at fixation of the problem where cases would be dismissed for lack of concrete evidence. 

The vigor of Section 6 lies in its  equivocalness, that is to say that it varies from case to case. Every criminal case should be judged on its own merit, and hence the power of this section truly lies in it is ambiguity.

By-

Snigdha Ghosh

Surendranath Law College

 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This Content is Protected.