Important judgements of Indian Evidence Act, 1872
State of Orissa Vs. Damburu Naiko and another.
The court was of the view that it is not necessary that there would be corroboration to the evidence of the victim of rape. If her evidence inspires confidence to be truthful that itself would be sufficient to convict the accused. We need not see corroboration to the evidence of PW. 1. She was a simple village girl and she will not leave out her own assailants and implicate falsely other innocent persons with the allegation that she was raped by them.
Further it said that even if they seek for corroboration the injuries on her private parts; medical evidence of the doctor and her first information report provides such corroboration.
The court wholly accept her evidence as truthful. Thus the appeal was accordingly allowed. The judgment of High Court and the order of acquittal of the respondents were set aside. The judgments and convictions and sentences recorded by the trial court and affirmed by the Sessions Courts were restored and the respondents were made to surrender and serve out the sentences.
Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai Vs. State of Gujarat.
The Supreme Court stated that “in the Indian setting, refusal to act on the testimony of a victim of sexual assault in absence of corroboration as a rule is adding insult to injury. Why should the evidence of the girl or the woman who complains of rape or sexual molestation be viewed with the aid of spectacles fitted lens tinged with doubt, disbelief or suspicion?. To do so is to justify the charge of male chauvinism in a male dominant society.”
On principle the evidence of the victim of sex assault stands on par with evidence of injured witness. Just as a witness who has sustained injury is not likely to exculpate the real offender, the evidence of a victim of sec offence is entitled to great weigh, absence of corroboration notwithstanding.
State of Maharashtra Vs. Chandraprakash Kewalchand Jain
The Supreme Court was of the opinion that “the nature of evidence required to lend assurance to the testimony of the prosecutrix must necessarily depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. But if a prosecutrix is an adult and of full understanding the Court is entitled to base a conviction on her evidence unless the same is shown to be infirm and not trustworthy. If the totality of the circumstances appearing on the record of the case discloses that the prosecutrix does not have a strong motive to falsely involve the person charged, the Court should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her evidence. They further stated that, their should be no doubt that ordinarily the evidence of a prosecutrix who does not lack understanding must be accepted. The degree of proof required must not be higher than is expected of an injured witness.”
Hence the court observed that a prosecutrix of a sex-offence cannot be put on par with an accomplice. She is in fact a victim of the crime.
Santana Ghosh v. State.
The learned Judge in his considered judgment searched for corroboration of the testimony and having found it upheld conviction. The court stated that “the Evidence Act being retrospective, no matter when the sexual union took place, the version of the girl was enough to tilt the balance. Search for corroboration was an exercise in futility.
Banti alias Balvinder Singh Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh
The court stated that having regard to the conduct of the prosecutrix in not making any kind of complaint about the alleged incident to any body for five days coupled with late recording of report by her after five days with false explanation for the delay, in the context also of the lax morals of the prosecutrix, the court found it is very unsafe to pin faith on her mere word that sexual intercourse was committed with her by five accused persons or any of them. The court also found it difficult to believe her version regarding her alleged abduction in the jeep.
Thus in the circumstances, the court held that the prosecution story was not satisfactorily established and the presumption stood rebutted and accused acquitted.
Kuldip Singh and Anr. Vs. State of Punjab
The High Court had acquitted the respondents therein on the ground that the victim identifying the said respondents could not be relied upon as there was no corroboration to her evidence and that when there was a gang rape there could be several injuries on the person of the victim which were absent.
Therefore, the victim therein was held by the High Court to be a consenting party.
This was set aside by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. It was held that the victim was a simple village girl and she would not leave out her own assail ants and implicate falsely other innocent persons with the allegation that; she was raped by them. Besides, even if corroboration was sought the injuries on her private parts: medical evidence of the doctor and her First Information Report provide such corroboration. Her evidence was accepted as truthful. There to no reason for her to falsely implicate the appellants. Thus the court found them guilty of committing rape, which was affirmed.
Pradeep Kumar v. State of Bihar.
The case first reached the trial Court, then it went to the High Court and finally to the Apex Court. The case came up before a Division Bench of the Apex Court consisting of Hon’ble Justice Dr. Arijit Pasayat and Hon’ble Justice D.K.Jain. The High Court affirmed the order of the Trial Court of convicting the accused under Ss.376 and 406 of IPC.
Setting aside the order of the High Court, the Supreme Court held that a promise to marry without anything more will not give rise to ‘misconception of fact’ within the meaning of s.90, it needs to be clarified that a representation deliberately made by the accused with a view to elicit the assent of the victim without having the intention or inclination to marry her, will vitiate consent. If on the facts it is established that at the very inception of making the promise, the accused did not really entertain the intention of marrying her and the promise to marry held out by him was a mere hoax, the consent ostensibly given by the victim will be of no avail to the accused to exculpate him from the ambit of s.375 clause second.
In reaching this conclusion the court mainly relied on Jayanti Rani Pandas case. The Apex Court asked the High Court to give a fresh look into the matter.
Tulshidas Kanolkar Vs. The State of Goa
The Supreme Court stated that the plea of consent is too shallow to even need detailed analysis or consideration. A mentally challenged girl cannot legally give a consent which would necessarily involve understanding of the effect of such consent. It has to be a conscious and voluntary act. There is gulf of difference between consent and submission. Every consent involves a submission but the converse does not follow, and mere act of submission does not involve consent. An act of helpless resignation in the face of inevitable compulsion, quiescence, non-resistance or passive giving in when the faculty is either clouded by fear or vitiated by duress or impaired due to mental retardation or deficiency cannot be considered to be consent as understood in law. For constituting consent, there must be exercise of intelligence based on the knowledge of the significance and the moral effect of the act. A girl, whose mental faculties are undeveloped, cannot be said in law, to have suffered sexual intercourses with consent.
R v. Bree.
The Court of Appeal quashed the conviction order rendered by the Crown Court. The Court went on to hold that she did have capacity to consent and the appellant’s act would not amount to rape. In the case the Court of Appeal drew a distinction between what would amount to rape and what would not…It observed:
“If, through drink (or any other reason) the complainant has temporarily lost her capacity to choose whether to have intercourse on the relevant occasion, she is not consenting, and subject to questions about the defendant’s state of mind, if intercourse takes place, this would amount to rape. However, where the complainant has voluntarily consumed even substantial quantities of alcohol, but nevertheless remains capable of choosing whether or not to have sexual intercourse, and in drink agrees to do so, this would not be rape.”
However, in my opinion regarding this particular case this distinction should be given a fresh look. This distinction would most probably cause uncertainty and vagueness in future cases. There is no rationale in this distinction. There is an urgent need to address the question “whether a normal lady even after consuming substantial amount of alcohol would be in a position to give consent?”
Bishwanath Prasad v. Dwarka Prasad
An admission by a party is substantive evidence if it fulfil the requirements of Section 21 of the Evidence Act Admissions are usually telling against the maker unless reasonably explained.
There is no necessary requirement of the statement containing the admission having to be put to the party because it is evidence proprio vigore
Bharat Singh case
“Admissions are substantive evidence by themselves, in view of Sections 17 and 21 of the Indian Evidence Act, though they are not conclusive proof of the matters admitted.
Admissions duly proved are admissible evidence irrespective of whether the party making them appeared in the witness box or not and whether that party when appearing as witness was confronted with those statements in case it made a statement contrary to those admissions.
Bhogilal Chunilal Pandya v. State of Bombay
It is not disputed that statements made by persons may be used as admissions against them even though they may not have been communicated to any other person. For example, statements in the Account books of a person showing that he was indebted to another person are admissions which can be used against him even though these statements were never communicated to any other person
Can part only of an admission be used against the maker of such admission?
Aghnoo Nagesia v. State of Bihar 
If an admission of an accused is to be used against him, the whole of it should be tendered in evidence, and if part of the admission is exculpatory and part inculpatory, the prosecution is not at liberty to use in evidence the inculpatory part only.
Pakala Narayana v. Emperor 
“A confession must either admit in terms the offence, or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitutes the offence.
An admission of a gravely incriminating fact, even a conclusively incriminating fact, is not of itself a confession, e.g. an admission that the accused is the owner of and was in recent possession of the knife or revolver which caused a death with no explanation of any other man’s possession.”
Bureau of Investigation v. V.C. Shukla 
Only voluntary and direct acknowledgement of guilt is a confession.
Veera Ibrahim v. State of Maharashtra 
A statement which contains an exculpatory assertion of some fact, which if true, would negative the offence alleged cannot amount to a confession.
R.C. Mehta v. State of West Bengal 
“Normally a person stands in the character of an accused when a first information report is lodged against him in respect of an offence before an officer competent to investigate it, or when a complaint is made relating to the commission of an offence before a magistrate competent to try or send to another magistrate for trial of the offence.
Veera Ibrahim v. State of Maharashtra 
While it may be conceded that a person summoned by an officer of customs to make a statement under Section 108 of the Customs Act is under compulsion of law to state the truth, the compulsion thereunder, assuming it amounts to a threat, does not proceed “from a person in authority” within the contemplation of Section 24 but emanates from law.
Aghnoo Nagesia v. State of Bihar 
If the first information is given by the accused himself, the fact of his giving the information is admissible against him as evidence of his conduct under Section 8 of the Evidence Act.
If the information is a non-confessional statement, it is admissible against the accused as an admission under Section 21 of the Evidence Act and is relevant.
But a confessional first information report to a police officer cannot be used against the accused in view of Section 25 of the Evidence Act.
Pulukuri Kottaya v. Emperor [1947 PC]
Section 27 provides an exception to the prohibition imposed by the preceding section, and enables certain statements made by a person in Police custody to be proved.
The condition necessary to bring the section into operation is that the discovery of a fact in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence in the custody of a Police Officer must be deposed to, and thereupon so much of the information as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered may be proved.
The section seems to be based on the view that if a fact is actually discovered in consequence of information given, some guarantee is afforded thereby that the information was true, and accordingly, can be safely allowed to be given in evidence
What exactly is the meaning and scope of “fact discovered” in section 27?
Sir John Beaumont, Privy Council, in Pulukuri Kottaya v. Emperor [1947 PC]
It is fallacious to treat the “fact discovered” within the section as equivalent to the object produced;
the fact discovered embraces the place from which the object is produced and the knowledge of the accused as to this, and the information given must
relate distinctly to this fact.
Information as to past user or the past history of the object produced is not related to its discovery in the setting in which it is discovered.