Evidence

30
May

FALUS IN UNO FALUS IN OMNIBUS

This maxim means that if a thing is false in respect of one, it must be taken to be false in respect of all. It is sometimes argued that if a part of the evidence given by  a witness has been disbelieved, the whole of it should be disbelieved as a rule of law. This maxim does not occupy the status of law in India. It is merely a rule of caution. All that it amounts to is that in such cases the testimony may be disregarded and not that it must be disregarded. In Harishchandra v. State of Delhi, AIR 1996 SC 777, the Supreme Court held “while appreciating the evidence of witness in a criminal trial, especially in case of eye witness, the maxim ‘false in uno falsus in omnibus’ cannot apply and the court has to make effort to shift grain from the chaff. It is of course true, that when a witness is said to have exaggerated at the trial stage and has tried to involve many more accused and if that part of evidence is found acceptable remaining part of evidence has to be scrutinized with the care and the court must try to see whether the acceptable part of evidence gets corroborated from other evidence on record so that the acceptable part can be relied on. In N. Jayaraman v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1993 SC 777, due to mutual enmity the deceased was injured and finally succumbed to these injuries. The prosecution case was that every accused caused the injury. But, four accused were released and two were convicted. It was held by SC that only because the testimony of some the witness were not sufficient for conviction, the testimony of all witness should be rejected, this is not correct and the maxim ‘falsus in uno falsus in omnibus’ does not apply in toto.

30
May

PCS (J) Notes: “Proved”, “Disproved”, “Not Proved”

Proved

A fact said to be proved when, after considering the matters before it, the court either believes it to exist, or considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists.

The section says that a fact is said to be “proved” when after considering the matters before it, the court either believes it to exist or considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought under the circumstances of the particular case to act upon the supposition that it exists.

Proof does not mean proof of rigid mathematical demonstration, because that is impossible. It means such a evidence as would induce a reasonable man to come to a conclusion. All that can be done it to adduce such evidence as that the mind of the judge is satisfied that the fact is so. In the ordinary affairs of life, courts do not require demonstrative evidence. The true question in trials of facts is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false but, whether there is sufficient probability of its truth.

The extent to which particular evidence aids in proving the fact in controversy is called as probative force. This probative force must be sufficient to induce the Court either (a) to believe in the existence of the fact sought to be proved, or (b) to consider its existence so probable that a prudent man ought to act upon the supposition that it exists. The test is of probability upon which a prudent man may base his opinions. In other words, it is the estimate, which a prudent man makes of the probabilities having regards to what must be his duty as result of his estimate. It must be borne in mind that suspicion and conjecture cannot take the place of legal proof.

Disproved

A fact is said to be disproved when, after considering the matters before it, the Court either believes that it does not exist, or considers its non-existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it does not exist.

According to the section, a fact is said to be disproved when, after considering the matters before it, the court either believes that it does not exist, or considers its non-existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it does not exist. It is quite important to note that the definition of word disproved is converse of the definition of the word proved. The word ‘disproved’ is akin to the word ‘false’. What is disproved is normally taken to be false thing.

Not Proved

The section merely says that fact is said not to be proved, when it is neither proved not disproved. The expression “not proved” indicates a state of mind in-between ‘proved’ and ‘disproved’, that is, when one cannot say whether a fact is ‘proved’ or ‘disproved’. It negatives both proof and disproof. In Nawal Kishore Somani v. Poonam Somani AIR 1999 AP 1, the Andhra Pradesh High Court said that a fact, which is ‘not proved’, does not necessarily mean that it is a false one. The is said to be not proved when it is neither proved nor disproved. On the other hand, the fact is said to be disproved when after considering its non-existence, so probable that a prudent man ought, under circumstances of this case, to act upon the supposition that it does not exist.

A fact, which ‘not proved’, may either be true or false. A doubt lingers about its truth. Merely because it is ‘not proved’ one should not jump to the conclusion that it is ‘disproved’. The phrase not proved is the result of careful scrutiny of the person of ordinary prudence that the fact neither exists, nor its non-existence is proved with certainty.

29
May

PCS (J) Notes: What are the conditions precedents for conviction on circumstantial evidence?

Circumstantial Evidence is that which relates to a series of facts other than the fact is issue. Circumstantial evidence assumes importance where direct evidence is lacking. Fact which transpires with the consent of the parties, for example, settlement of a bargain, may perhaps be reduced to the form of a document which constitutes the direct evidence of it.

The condition precedent for conviction on circumstantial evidence, as enumerated in Kusum and Ankama rao v. State of A.P. are as follows:

  1. The circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully established. The circumstances concurred ‘must’ or ‘should’ and not ‘may be’ established;
  2. The facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that is to say, they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty;
  3. The circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency;
  4. They should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved; and
  5. There must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability, the act must have been done by the accused.

 

29
May

PCS (J) Notes: Classification of Evidence

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Evidence may be classified as (1) Direct and (2) Circumstantial Evidence.

Direct Evidence means any fact which without the intervention of any other fact proves the existence of a fact in issue e.g, A is tried for causing grievous hurt to B with a club. C disposes to the effect that he saw the accused, inflicting the blow, which caused the grievous hurt. The evidence being adduced by C is direct evidence. Another example, A files suit against B on the basis of an agreement. C deposes that h was present when the agreement was entered into and he witnessed it. Deposition of C as to the precise point inn question is an illustration of direct evidence.

Circumstantial Evidence is that which relates to a series of facts other than the fact is issue. Circumstantial evidence assumes importance where direct evidence is lacking. Fact which transpires with the consent of the parties, for example, settlement of a bargain, may perhaps be reduced to the form of a document which constitutes the direct evidence of it. But facts that happen suddenly, such as road accidents or crimes or torts, do not leave behind much direct evidence. Criminal lay their plot in secret. They execute it ruthlessly under the cover of darkness or secrecy. They silence their victims altogether and do not leave any trail of evidence behind. In such cases, the main event will have to be reconstructed before the court with the help of surrounding circumstances such as cause or the effects of the event. Circumstances sometimes speak as forcefully as does the direct evidence. When footprints are found on sand; it is plausible to infer that someone must have gone that way and also from the shape of footprints it can be ascertained as to whether those are of man or of a bird or of an animal. In case of State of U.P. v. Ravindra Prakash Mittal, AIR 1992 SC 2045 the Supreme Court made certain observations vis-à-vis circumstantial evidence.

They are as follows:

  1. The circumstances from which the conclusion is drawn should be fully established.
  2. The circumstances should be conclusive in nature.
  3. All the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of guilt and inconsistent with innocence.

In Krishna Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, the accused persons were convicted for offences punishable under section 498-A, 302 read with section 34 IPC. The High Court dismissed the appeal. The appeal was made to the Supreme Court on the ground that the case rested on the circumstantial evidence and circumstances did not establish the guilt. The facts were that deceases women had died of injuries caused by the physical assault on her whose dead body was found in her matrimonial home. The death took place within one year and four months of her marriage. The accused persons were absconding after the incident which was of considerable importance. The injuries noticed by the witness were fit with the evidence of autopsy surgeon. The plea of alibi set by the appellant could not be established. The report of the doctor was that the death was due to asphyxia resulting from throttling which was ante mortem and homicidal in nature.