SECTION 11- INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, 1872
According to Section 11 of the Indian Evidence Act, the following facts may not be otherwise relevant but will be considered relevant if:
- they are inconsistent with any relevant fact or fact in issue, or
- by themselves or in connection with other facts they make the existence or non-existence of any relevant fact or fact in issue highly probable or improbable.
Illustration: The question is that whether Raju committed a crime. The fact that while the crime was committed he was in Mumbai which was 500km away from the crime scene will be relevant.
Section 11 attempts to state in popular language the general theory of relevancy and may therefore be described as the as the residuary section dealing with relevancy of facts. Form the wording of this section, it seems that facts not relevant under any of the section in the chapter of Relevancy Of Facts are relevant under Section 11.
Section 11 talks about collateral facts that cannot co-exist together. For example, John is illiterate is fact. Similarly John wrote a defamatory article against Robert is another fact. So these two facts are inconsistent to each other and hence cannot co-exist. If the existence of an inconsistent collateral fact is proved, the existence of fact in issue or relevant fact is negatived.
There are generally five classes of cases that are dealt under this section:
- Non-existence of husband to show illegitimacy of issue
- Survival of the alleged deceased
- Commission of an offence by a third person
- Self infliction of harm
PLEA OF ALIBI
The plea of absence of a person, charged with an offence, from the place of occurrence at the time of the commission of the offence is called as the Plea of Alibi. When an alleged offence has been committed and the prosecution accuses a person of having committed the same, it would be a complete answer to the accusations for that person to plead that he was at that time elsewhere (this has of course no reference to offences where time and place are’nt material factors) and if that person succeeds in establishing that plea, technically called as the plea of alibi, he will be entitled to an acquittal.
- In Munshi Prasad and Ors. v. State of Bihar AIR 2001 SC 3031, the presence of the accused at a distance of 400-500 yards between place of occurrence cannot be said to be presence elsewhere. It cannot be impossible to be at a place of occurrence and also at the panchayat meeting.
- In Suraj Pal v. State of U.P. AIR 1994 SC 748, the prosecution examined eleven witnesses and mainly relied on PWs 1 to 4 who figured as eye witnesses. Even examnied under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. all the accused denied their participation and pleaded that they were falsely implicated due to enmity. The apellant however pleaded alibi and DWs 1&2 were examined in support of his plea of alibi. DW 1 produced register Ex. Kha 3 to prove an entry dated November 20, 1974 to show that apellant went to district jail Fatehgarh to meet one Rajendra Kumar an under trial prisoner. The evidence of PW 1 & DW 2 would only at the most show that the apellant went to the jail to see DW 2. DW 2 concealed that the apellant had no special reasons to meet him. The High Court rejected the evidence in support of the plea of alibi holding it to be filmsy.
- In Vijay Pal v. State (GNCT) Delhi AIR 2015 SC 1495, the deceased had died of burn injuries. She stated to her brother that her husband had poured kerosene and set her ablaze. The Trial Court held her husband guilty under Section 302 and the High Court confirmed the same. In appeal to the Supreme Court, the amicus curiae seriously criticized the judgement of the High Court in not accepting the plea of alibi, advanced by the accused which had a solid foundation, for the fateful day was “Bhaiya Dooj” and therefore, the accused had gone to his sister’s place as per tradition. The SC held that-
There is no warrant to dislodge the concurrent finding of fact when the Trial as well as the High Court disbelieved the plea of alibi. The evidence produced by the accused is not of such a quality to prove with absolute certainty so as to exclude the possibility of his presence at the place of occurrence. It is also not of such a quality that the court may entertain a reasonable doubt. The burden on accused is rather heavy and he is required to establish the plea of alibi with certitude. The plea can succeed only if it is shown that the accused was so far away at the relevant time that he could not be present at the place where the crime was committed.
BURDEN OF PROOF
Where the accused sets up a plea of alibi, the burden of proof lies upon him only under Section 103 of the Evidence Act:
- Mukesh v. State for N.C.T. of Delhi AIR 2017 SC 2161 at pp. 2244 to 2247– In case of a gang rape, one of the accused took the plea that he was attending a musical programme at park with his family on the date of incident. The plea of alibi contradicted against the evidence of injured informant, DNA samples, finger print analysis and dying declaration of the prosecutrix. The evidence of the park authority revealed that no permission was granted by any authority to organise a musical programme in park and no such programme was organised on the date of incident. The Court held that the accused failed to establish the plea of alibi. It is a settled law that while raising a plea of alibi, the burden of proof squarely lies upon the accused person to establish the plea convincingly by adducing cogent evidence.
- Doodhnath Pandey v. State of U.P. AIR 1981 SC 911– In order to establish a plea of alibi, the accused must lead evidence to show that he was so far off at the moment of crime from the place of occurrence of crime that he could not have committed the offence.
PLEA OF ALIBI IN RELATION TO CO-ACCUSED
Bikav Pandey v. State of Bihar AIR 2004 SC 997- The plea of alibi cannot be accepted in favour of an accused merely on the ground that the same was accepted in relation to co-accused. Where there was no material to show that on the date of occurrence, the accused was present in the school nor any appointment letter was produced, his plea of alibi was rejected.
FAILURE TO ESTABLISH ALIBI
Shankar Lal v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1981 SC 765- Failure on the part of accused in establishing the plea of alibi does not help the prosecution and it cannot be held that the accused was present at the scene of occurrence, the prosecution must prove it by positive evidence.
Author: Rudra Gupta,
3rd Year, B.A. LL.B., Aligarh Muslim University