This Article is written by Surbhi (ICFAI UNIVERSITY, DEHRADUN)
The following article refers to one of the most important topics of the Indian evidence act that is Res Gestae. the article describes the concept of res gestae and how is it incorporated with section 6 of the Indian evidence act. the doctrine of res gestae contains the fact which has been made or done in the course of the same transaction and such act is considered as relevant fact under the scope of the Indian evidence act. The fact which surrounded the fact in issue and has happened immediately before or after the happening of fact which is in issue is admissible under the doctrine of res gestae. This doctrine is applicable to both civil and criminal law.
Doctrine of Res Gestae
The word res gestae has been derived from Latin word and it has been described by English and American writers as things done in the course of the transaction. It is that fact which automatically or naturally forms a part of the same transaction due to their association with the main transaction and it must be linked to the fact in the issue. Here transaction refers to any crime, contract or wrong that may be subject of inquiry under the law.
The reason behind the adoption of the doctrine of res gestae is that there is some chain of events concerning to happening of an offence that is not directly relevant to a fact in issue but it helps in asserting or denying the question in issue however it is not and direct evidence.
Although under section 60 of the Indian evidence act hearsay evidence is not admissible res gestae is an exception to the principle given under section 60, where hearsay evidence can be admissible provided its forms part of the same transaction. The reasoning behind this is the spontaneity and immediacy of the statement that there is hardly any time for fabrication. However, such a fact is not conclusive in nature. It is subject to the discretion of the court that the court may draw an inference on the basis of such act or not. And it is also rebuttable.
In the case, sukhar vs State of up, SC held that sec 6 is an exception to the general rule of sec 60 but it must be contemporaneous with fact in issue & there should not be any interval for fabrication.
The doctrine of res gestae statement can fall into one of the three categories:-
- Word or phrases that either fully or partially explain any act.
- Spontaneous exclamatory statement it that prevent anyone from successful e lying to the contrary.
- Statement generated by the effect of event that shows the state of mind of a person.
Section 6 of Indian evidence act
The fact which is not in issues but so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction is relevant whether they occurred at the same time and place or at different time and place. The provision of this section has been borrowed from the English law doctrine of Res Gestae.
However, there are some guidelines given that must be followed in order to form a part of the same transaction:-
- Fact must explain elucidate and characterize the incident in the same manner and should not be fabricated .
- Statement given or act done must be spontaneous or contemporaneous and not a mere narration of past event. Statement must be made while the witness is still under the effect and stress caused by the happening of event.
- Statement must be a statement of fact and not a statement of opinion.
- Statement must have been made either by a participant in the transaction or by a person who has himself witnessed the transection.
- Statement made by person dying
- The screaming of a person being attacked , for help.
- Statement made by accused while committing offence.
Test for admissibility of fact
Firstly the flexible and cooperative approach was laid down in the foster case, for the admissibility test of a statement but this approach was opposed in the case of Bedingfield and a contemporary approach was set out for the test of admissibility. After that, looking at the state of uncertainty, the privy council came up with the scientific formula in the case of Ratten vs R and adopted the test of spontaneity and involvement.
In this case, Lord Wilberforce said that- the test should not be uncertain about the fact that whether making the statement was part of a transaction or not. this can often be hard to test the certainty of the statement which is why he emphasized the spontaneity of the statement which is to be established. He said that hearsay evidence may be admitted if the statement was clearly made in the circumstances of spontaneity or involvement in the event that the possibility of fabrication can be disregarded.
1) G. Vijayvardhan Rao vs State of Andhra Pradesh–
In this case, the court stated that there was a long interval of time between the act of carnage and the recording by the magistrate. This statement is not admissible as it is not spontaneous. 2) Sawal Das vs State of Bihar
In this case, the supreme court held that at the time of the murder, the cry of the deceased ‘save me’ and the statement of a child that her mother was being killed is relevant.
2) Vesa Chandrasekhar rao vs punna Satyanarayana
Due to failing to find out that whether the information given by the accused father to the deceased father that the accused had killed the deceased was either of the time of the commission of the crime or immediately thereafter so as to form the part of the same transaction this statement cannot be considered relevant under section 6.
3) Bishna vs State of West Bengal
In this case, two witnesses reached the place of occurrence of offence just after the incident and founded the dead body of ParamKrishna and Nepal who was injured and they also found the mother of victims weeping and heard about the whole incident and role of each of the accused from the eye witness. Their evidence was held to be admissible under section 6.
Critical analysis of res gestae
Even though hearsay evidence is not considered as reliable evidence, the doctrine of res gestae has been applied to the rule of evidence. Res gestae evidence is just a piece of convenient uncertainty where a party to the issue took advantage of uncertainty and vagueness of the fact.
According to professor stone, “ the rule of res gestae is not only useless but also harmful”. It is useless because every part of it is covered by some other rule and it is harmful because it cost confusion about the limitation of other rules. Because of its vagueness, the phrase is res gestae has not been included in the Indian evidence act and it is left to the judge to find a necessary connection to treat a fact as relevant.
Section 6 is a residuary provision that makes a fact relevant when it doesn’t fall under the Ambit of any other section of the Indian evidence act in order to bring justice to the party in the dispute. Despite its flaws, it plays an important role in bringing justice to a society where cases are dismissed due to lack of evidence.
The Indian court always considered ‘the continuity of transaction’ test to stop this doctrine from being expanded to ultimate extends. A statement is not a spontaneous reaction of an event and if there is a long time gap between the statement made and the occurrence of the event then it is not admissible under section 6.
However, this section is not conclusive in nature. It depends upon the discretion of the court to consider it reliable or not.
 (1999) 9 SCC 507
 (1834) 6 C & C 325
 ( 1879) 14 Cox. C. C 341
 (1971) (3) A.I.R 801
 Criminal appeal No. 195 of 1996
 AIR 1974 SC 778
 2000 (2) ALD Cri 126
 Criminal appeal No. 1430 of 2003.