Section 11 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 deals with facts which ordinarily have nothing to do with that of a case are not in themself , but they have become to the relevant only by virtue of fact that they are either inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact or they make the existence of a fact in issue or relevant fact either highly probable or improbable.
Section 11: When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant.–– Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant ––
(1) if they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;
(2) if by themselves or in connection with other facts they make the existence or non-existence of any fact in issue or relevant fact highly probable or improbable.
(a) The question is, whether A committed a crime at Calcutta on a certain day.
The fact that, on that day, A was at Lahore is relevant.
The fact that, near the time when the crime was committed, A was at a distance from the place where it was committed, which would render it highly improbable, though not impossible, that he committed it, is relevant.
(b) The question is, whether A committed a crime.
The circumstances are such that the crime must have been committed either by A, B, C or D. Every fact which shows that the crime could have been committed by no one else, and that it was not committed by either B, C or D, is relevant.
Inconsistent Facts: Plea Alibi
This section enables a person charged with a crime to take what is commonly called the plea of alibi which means his presence elsewhere at the time of crime.
His present elsewhere is consistent with the facts that he should be present at place of the crime.
Where, for example, a person with charged with murder which took place at calcutta, he can take the defence that on the day in question he was in Bombay. In order to prove his presence in Bombay he may show his attendance at some place, for example the fact that he visited a doctor or a vakil and he noted his visit in a professional diary or that he posted a letter written by himself on that day from Bomaby, or that he encashed a cheque at Bombay.
In Munshi Prasad v. State of Bihar (2001) A distance of 400-500 yards between the place of occurrence and the place where the accused was claimed to be present (present in g panchkula meeting) was held to be not amounting to present elsewhere. It could not be an impossibility that one could be present at both the place or less simultaneously.
The fact that the accused advanced a false plea of alibi cannot by itself be a proof of the fact that he was responsible for the offence.[Govind v. State of M.P. (2005)]
Facts showing probabilities
Evidence can be given of every fact which by itself or in connection with other facts makes the existence or non-existence of any fact in issue or relevant fact highly probable or improbable.
For example there are five persons in a room and one of them is murdered in circumstances which show that it is the handiwork of any one or more of them. Evidence will be allowed of every fact which makes it probable which one of them caused the death or which one of them was probably not connected with it.
Where a person is charged with cheating, evidence can be given of the fact that he belong to an organisation of habitual cheats as this would make it probable that the committed the crime- [Kalu Mirza v. Emperor (1909)]
Facts which makes thing highly improbable are also relevant
In Santa Singh v. State of Punjab (1956) The witnesses testified that they saw the deceased being shot from a distance of twenty-five feet. The medical report showed that the nature of the wound was such that it could have been caused only from distance less than a yard. Thus, the expert opinion rendered the statement of witnesses highly probable.
This section is too wide in its import. It does not place any restriction upon the range of facts that can be admitted as showing inconsistencies or probabilities.
It leaves the whole thing at the discretion of the court.
In Reg. v. Prabhudas (1874) where to prove the offence of forgery by the accused, evidence was offered of other forged documents found in his possession, as this would make it probable that he committed the forgery.
In Umashanker v. State of Chattisgarh (2001) in a charge of passing a fake currency note, the relevancy of possession of other fake note proved mens rea or guilty state of mind or knowledge.
Dr. Deepak Miglani
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