EvidenceJudicial ExamLegal Notes

PCS (J) Notes: Indian Evidence Act- Sec 8- Motive, Preparation, Conduct and Related Case Laws


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Principle- There is hardly any act without a motive. Motive is the moving power, which impels one to do an act.it is the inducement for doing the act. The absence or presence of a motive and evidence of preparation, previous attempt, previous or subsequent conduct of the parties are relevant, as they help in proving or disproving a fact in controversy. It may sometimes be important to know, whether a man charged with an offence, has any interest, or motive to commit it. In determining the fact, whether a man charged with an offence, committed it or not, it is important to know whether previous to the act, he made certain preparation to do the act. Again the conduct –  antecedent or subsequent – of a person committing an offence, or of a person against whom an offence has been committed, may be helpful in deciding as to whether the man has committed an offence.


Motive by itself is no crime, howsoever heinous it may be but once a crime has been committed, the evidence of motive becomes important. Evidence of motive helped the Court to connect the accused with the deed. In R v. Richardson, the accused was the father of the child of which the deceased was pregnant at the time. It was held to be relevant, as he might have killed the girl to save his character. In R. v. Palmer (1865), the accused Palmer was financially embarrassed and to overcome his difficulties, he borrowed large sums of money from one of his friends. They used to go to race together.one night after attending the races together; his friend came back to his hotel and died soon after midnight under circumstances, which raised a suspicion that he had been poisoned. The fact that Palmer had a strong “motive” to eliminate his creditor friend was held to be relevant.in a case, certain lands were inherited by  the deceased along with his brother, but the accused got them transferred into their names. At the time of the incident, criminal & revenue cases were pending between the accused and the deceased. The Supreme Court held that these facts constituted a sufficient evidence of motive. (Awadesh v. State of U.P. AIR 1995 SC 375)


Section 8 further provides that acts of “preparation” are relevant. It says that facts, which show or constitute preparation for any fact in issue or relevant facts are relevant. Preparation by itself is no crime. Illustration (d) & € refer to acts of preparation. The act of purchasing a pistol for the purpose of shooting down a man, or a matchbox burning a house, it itself no offence. But, once an offence has been committed, the evidence of preparation becomes most important, for the crime must have been committed by the man who was preparing for it. Thus, for example, the sharpening of a knife before an affray in which the knife was used is relevant as an act of preparation.


The last part of section 8 deals with the relevancy of the evidence of conduct. The conduct of an accused is p[articularly important to the law of evidence, for his guilt or state of mind is often reflected by his conduct. Section 8 accordingly provides that the conduct of the following parties is relevant.

  1. The conduct of the parties to a suit or proceeding or of their agents- The conduct includes conduct of the plaintiff and defendant and their agents in a civil suit and of the accused in a criminal proceeding.
  2. The conduct of any person, an offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding- this includes the conduct of the injured person. This has to be separately mentioned because in many criminal proceedings the injured person is not a party.

The evidence of the conduct of such parties is allowed if two conditions are fulfilled, namely, the conduct must be in reference to the facts in issue or the facts relevant to them and, secondly, the conduct is such as influences or is influenced by the facts in issue or relevant facts. Subject to these conditions, the evidence of conduct is relevant whether it is previous to the happening of the facts in or subsequent to them. It need not be contemporaneous. A conduct is relevant if it influences or is influenced by an fact.

However, here is a note ought tio be taken of Explanation 1 which says that “conduct” does not include statements, unless those statements, accompany and explain acts other than statements. Therefore, only those statements which accompany and explain acts other than statements can be regarded as conduct.

Case Laws

Aghnoo Nagesia v. State of Bihhar, AIR 1966 SC 119- FIR was filed by the accused himself. The fact of his giving the information was held admissible against him as evidence of his conduct.

Sardul Singh v. State of Bombay, AIR 1957 SC 747 – the question was whether P was liable as partner of the firm of Dawn & Co in respect of contracts which were made between the plaintiff and the firm in 1922 written by him to the agent of Chartered bank of India, Australia and China. In that letter P said that he was writing to confirm that he had severed his connection with the firm Dawn and Co from first of May, 1922. It was held to be relevant.

In State of U.P. v. Babu Ram AIR 2000 – In this it was observed by SC that motive is relevant factor in all criminal cases whether based on the testimony of eyes witness or circumstantial evidence. It cannot be laid down that motive off offence may not be very important in cases depending upon the direct evidence.

Yunus v. Kavya, AIR 2003

It was held by the Supreme Court where ocular evidence (Eye Evidence) was clear and continuing, role of accused person in the time stood and established failure to prove motive for the crime was of no consequence.


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