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APPRECIATION OF EVIDENCE UNDER EVIDENCE ACT 1872

person DateFebruary 17, 2017

The definition of ‘evidence’ as per Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 covers a) the evidence of witnesses and b) documentary evidences. Evidence can be both oral and documentary. Electronic records can also be produced as evidence. In criminal case, the prosecution has to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt. the presumption is that the accused is innocent until the contrary is clearly established. One has to appreciate the evidence in proper perspective and reach a conclusion one way or the other. It is no quantity of evidence but the quality that matters.

In a criminal case appreciation of evidence is one of the first and primary tests to consider the trustworthiness and consistency of the prosecution version both oral and documentary. The finding of the facts, the question of law and the conclusion of the Judges of the Court culminating into the judgments in a criminal case mainly based on the appreciation of evidence. Right from setting the law in motion in a criminal case by preferring FIR and after completion of investigation filing the final report ultimately resulting in producing and adducing the evidence before the Court consist varied kinds of evidence both oral and documentary and the admissibility and reliability of such evidence should be considered by the Court on the basis of the facts and law for arriving at the just decision of the case. Therefore appreciation of evidence is the heart and soul of the special consideration of justice delivery system in criminal law. Criminal cases involves life and death problem of a citizen and the destiny of the citizen is to be decided by carefully analyzing and examining the evidence adduced by the prosecution.

Various Kinds of Evidences and Its Appreciation

(1). First information Report

FIR is not an encyclopaedia. It is only to set the law in motion. It need not elaborate but should contain necessary allegations to constitute cognizable offences.

(a). Evidentiary Value:

Section 154, Cr.P.C – Use of FIR – FIR is not a substantial piece of evidence. It can only be used for corroborating or contradicting its maker. It cannot be used to corroborate or contradict other witnesses.[1]

Section 154, Cr.P.C. – FIR – Evidentiary value – Corroboration of its maker is permissible. But the first information report cannot be used as substantive evidence or corroborating a statement of third party.[2]

(b). Delay in FIR:

Delay in FIR – The inordinate and unexplained delay in dispatching the first information report to the Magistrate. The difference in the account given by the prosecution witnesses and appearing from the first information report of the occurrence. The absence of any statement in the first information report as to the injuries received by some of the accused, and the non examination of material witnesses. Conviction cannot be sustained.

[1] Baldev Sings vs. State of Punjab (1990) 4 SCC 692 ; State ofGujarat vs. Anirudh Singm  (1997) 6 SCC 514.

[2] State of M.P. vs. Surbhan  AIR 1996 SC 3345.

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