DOCTRINE OF RES GESTAE- FACTS FORMING THE PART OF SAME TRANSACTION
Res gestae- INTRODUCTION
Res gestae means the facts of transaction, explanatory of an act or showing the motive for acting; matters incidental to a main fact and explanatory of it including acts and words which are so closely connected with a main fact as will constitute a part of it, and without a knowledge of which the main fact might not be properly understood, even speaking for themselves through the instinctive words and acts of participants not he words and acts of participants when narrating the events, the circumstances, facts and declaration which grow out of the main fact, and contemporaneous with it and serve to illustrate its character or these circumstance which are the atomic and undersigned incidents of a particular litigated act and are admissible when illustrative of such act.
Section 6, Indian Evidence Act 1872
According to Section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872: 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 times and places.
The principle of res gestae is embedded under this section. Res gestae constitute facts forming part of the same transaction.
- An injured or injured person’s cry.
- The witness’s cry to see a murder happen.
- The sound of a shot of a bullet.
- Gestures made by the person dying
Transaction: A transaction, as the term used in this sec. is defined by a single name, as a crime, a contract, a wrong or any other subject of enquiry which may be in issue. It include both immediate cause and effect of an act or event, and also its collection of relevant circumstances, the other necessary antecedents of it occurrence, connected with it, at a reasonable distance of the time, pace and cause and effect..The transaction may last for a few weeks or maybe even for a few minutes, it can include physical as well as psychological facts.
In Rutten v. Regina (1971) 1 WLR 801, a woman before being murdered by her husband, tried to call at the police station in distress. The police on reaching there discovered her dead and arrested her husband. The call by the woman and whatever she said was held to be res gestae.
All spontaneous statements in some way connected with the transaction under investigation are not admissible. It must be shown that the statement is a part of the transaction. The statement is not relevant merely because it is uttered during the course of transaction, to be admissible it must be a part of the transaction.
Value of Time
Sawal Das v. State of Bihar AIR 1974 SC 778: The requirement of section six is that the statement must have been made contemporaneously with the act or immediately after it and not at such interval of time as to make it sound as a narrative of past events. If the statement is answer to a query after lapse of some time, it cannot be treated as res gestae.
In a landmark case of R v. Bedingfield (1695) 6 Skin 402, a woman with a throat cut came out of the room suddenly and said to the witness “ Aunt see what Bedingfield has done to me”. CJ Cockburn held the statement not to be res gestae because it was made after the incident was over.
In R v. Christie (1914) AC 545 Per Lord Atkinson, a statement made by a young boy to his mother shortly after the indecent assault on him by the offender was held not to be res gestae as it being so separate by the time and circumstances could not be said to be a part of the same transaction.
In Gentela Vijay Vardhan Rao & ors. v. State of Andhra Pradesh AIR 1996 SC 2791, the accused sneaked into the bus with the most inflammable liquid, petrol and matchbox and set it at blaze. As a result, 23 passengers were roasted to death. The Magistrate recorded the statement of victim under expectation of death. In view of appreciable interval between the acts of carnage and Magistrate’s recording of statement, the statements recorded by the Magistrate did not formed the part of res gestae.
In State of Andhra Pradesh v. Panna Satyanarayan AIR 2000 SC 2138, the accused murdered his wife and daughter. The father of the deceased wife stated that father of accused told him on telephone that his son had killed the deceased. There was no finding as to whether the information given by the accused’s father to the deceased’s father that the accused had killed the deceased was either of the time of commission of the crime or immediately thereafter so as to form the part of the same transaction. The statement was held to be not relevant under Section 6.
F.I.R. when res gestae- In Shyam Nandan Singh v. State of Bihar 1991 Cr.L.J. 3350, the court held that if the witness present at the scene of occurrence sees the whole occurrence from the beginning to the end, makes cry about the offence being committed when the people from vicinity reach, he tells the story of occurrence and then after some time goes to the police station and files an F.I.R., the filing of the F.I.R. is the part of the transaction and so it amounts to res gestae. The fact that some time has elapsed between the occurrence and report is immaterial.
Hearsay Evidence- an exception
Krishan Kumar Malik v. State of Haryana: For bringing hearsay evidence in the ambit of section 6, what must be established is that it must be almost contemporaneous with the acts and there could not be an interval which would allow for fabrication. In other words, statements said to be admitted as forming part of the res gestae, must have been made contemporaneously with the act or immediately thereafter.
Explanation: In R v. Foster (1834) 6 C & C 325, the deceased was killed in an accident by a speeding truck. The witness had not seen the incident but only the speeding truck. The deceased stated to him what happened with him in the accident. The court held the statement of the deceased to the witness to be admissible under res gestae.
Author: Rudra Gupta,
3rd Year, B.A. LL.B., Aligarh Muslim University