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Res – Gestae

Section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act: ‘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 at the same time and place or at different time and place.’

  • Res Gestae’ basically means a transaction (thing done/ subject matter).
  • The test of admissibility of evidence – as a part of Res Gestae is whether the Act, declaration or exclamation is an intimately interwoven or connected with the principal facts.
  • Facts forming part of same transaction’ – This includes both physical acts and words spoken whether by person doing such acts, the person to whom such acts, the person to whom such acts are done or any other person(s).
  • It is a general rule – The evidence of connected precedent or surrounding circumstances is proper to show the probability that the principal fact has happened in all cases where it may naturally be assumed that a connection exists between main fact and subordinate fact.
  • The act or transmission may be completed in a moment of time, or may extend through a period of days or weeks, or even months.

Pre-Conditions to Res Gestae:

  • Statement must explain and characterize the incident in some manner.
  • Statement must be a statement of fact and not opinion.
  • Statement must be spontaneous and not merely narrative of the past.
  • Statement must include participants of transaction; In criminal: Victim, accused, eye-witness; In civil: Attesting witnesses and concerned parties
  •  Statements made by bystanders provided their presence on the spot is established.

Note: Filing of FIR forms part of Res Gestae.

  • Gentela Vijayavardhan Rao v. State of A.P., (1996) 6 SCC 241:

The principle of law embodied in Section 6 of the Evidence Act is usually known as the rule of res gestae recognised in English law. The essence of the doctrine is that a fact which, though not in issue, is so connected with the fact in issue “as to form part of the same transaction” becomes relevant by itself. This rule is, roughly speaking, an exception to the general rule that hearsay evidence is not admissible. The rationale in making certain statement or fact admissible under Section 6 of the Evidence Act is on account of the spontaneity and immediacy of such statement or fact in relation to the fact in issue. But it is necessary that such fact or statement must be a part of the same transaction. In other words, such statement must have been made contemporaneous with the acts which constitute the offence or at least immediately thereafter. But if there was an interval, however slight it may be, which was sufficient enough for fabrication then the statement is not part of res gestae. In R. v. Lillyman [(1896) 2 QB 167 : (1895-99) All ER Rep 586] a statement made by a raped woman after the ravishment was held to be not part of the res gestae on account of some interval of time lapsing between the act of rape and the making of the statement. Privy Council while considering the extent up to which this rule of res gestae can be allowed as an exemption to the inhibition against hearsay evidence, has observed in Teper v. R. [(1952) 2 All ER 447] thus:

“The rule that in a criminal trial hearsay evidence is admissible if it forms part of the res gestae is based on the propositions that the human utterance is both a fact and a means of communication and that human action may be so interwoven with words that the significance of the action cannot be understood without the correlative words and the dissociation of the words from the action would impede the discovery of the truth. It is essential that the words sought to be proved by hearsay should be, if not absolutely contemporaneous with the action or event, at least so clearly associated with it that they are part of the thing being done, and so an item or part of the real evidence and not merely a reported statement.”

The correct legal position stated above needs no further elucidation.

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Law Wire Team
Law Wire Teamhttps://lawwire.in/
Law Wire Team attempts to delve into pertinent (and sometimes not immediately pertinent) questions regarding socio-politics, Law and their interesting matrix.
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