PCS (J) Notes:Res Gestae: Meaning, Relevance and Case Laws

The principle of the section 6 is that whenever a ‘transaction’ such as a contract or a crime is a fact in issue, then evidence can be given of every fact which forms part of the same transaction. The section is based upon the English doctrine of res gestae through the use of the word has been avoided in the section. The phrase res gastae is of latin origin which means ‘things said and done in the course of a transaction’. Transaction is a group of facts so concerned together as to be referred by a single name i.e, a crime, a contract or a wrong or a wrong or any other subject of inquiry which may be in issue. Every case that comes before a Court of law has a certain fact story behind it.

Relevance of this rule: Every fact story is made of certain acts, omissions and statements. Every such act, omission or statement as throw some light upon the  nature of the transaction or reveals its true quality or character should be held as a part of transaction and the evidence of it should be received. Doctrine of res gestae, enables the Court to take into account all the essential details of a transaction. A transactions a group of facts so connected together as to be referred to by a single name, as a crime, a contract a wrong or any other subject of inquiry which may be in issue. Roughly, a transaction may be described as any physical act, or series of connected physical acts, together with the words accompanying such act or acts. A transaction can be truly understood only when all its integral parts are known and not in isolation from each other. In the famous English case of Ratten v. The Queen, (1971) 3 W.L.R. 930, the accused was prosecuted for the murder of his wife. He claimed that the shot went off accidentally. There was evidence to the effect that the deceased telephoned to say, “Get me the police, please”. Before the operator could connect to the police, the lady gave her address and the call suddenly ended. Thereafter, the police came to the house and found the body of a dead woman. Her words over the phone were held to be relevant as part of the same transaction which brought about death. Her call in distress showed that the shooting in question was not accidental. For no victim of an accident could have thought of getting the police before the happening. Thus in O’Leary v. Regem, (1946) 73 C.L.R. 566 evidence of assault prior to killing was taken into cognizance as part of same transaction.

Case Laws on Res Gestae

FIR when res gestae- Shyam Nandan Singh v. State of Bihar, 1991 Cri LJ 3350. A witness is present at the scene of occurrence, sees the whole occurance from beginning to end, makes cry about the offence being committed when people from vicinity reach. He tells the story of occurance and thereafter, goes to police station and makes FIR. The making of the FIR was held to be part of the transaction and so it amounts to res gestae. The fact that sometime has elapsed between the occurance and report is immaterial.

Noor Mohd v. Imtiaz Ahmad, AIR 1942 Oudh 132- One R practised fraud upon one M and thus took Rs 8000/-. M lodged a report and filed a complaint. One S, a prosecution witness stated that M came to him and said that he had been deprived of about Rs 8000/- and that M again came to him and told him that he had neither filed a complaint against him not had made a report against R and that after having robbed him, R was still trying to rob him of what he still had. The prosecution witness further said that after he (the witness) once visited M, the latter told him that R was making his life miserable and he would take steps to have his money recovered and thereupon M said, “Let the matter go. I have forgiven him but that he should not touch what is left.” This statement was held inadmissible as it was mere narrative of past occurance.

Richard Gillie v. Posho Ltd., AIR 1939 PC 146- A dispute between A and B was whether A had agreed to make a purchase from B on a certain date. In support of B’s allegation that A had agreed to make the purchase, a letter, dated 23rd December, 1926 from him (B) to a solicitor was purchased. In this letter B had made a mentioned that A had agreed to make a purchase. The letter was held inadmissible as there was no evidence to show whether the statement in the letter was made with reference to some events which has just happened.

Nasiruddin v. Emperor, AIR 1945 Lah 46- One Fakiria was killed in broad daylight in one of the crowded bazars of Gujranwala. At the rial, one Mst. Aishan Bibi was examined as witness. She stated that when she reached the spot, she heard the people present saying that Rajja, Nasiria and Jagari has committed the crime. It was not stated that the people who informed her of the names of the murderers were present when the murder was being committed. It was held that the statement was not admissible.