Op EdsOP. ED.

The substantive legal provision dealing with extraterritorial jurisdiction under the Penal Code, 1860[1] (IPC) are Section 3[2] and Section 4[3] and its procedural counterpart under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) is Section 188 CrPC[4].

The proviso to Section 188 casts an obligation to obtain previous sanction of the Central Government for inquiry and trial of offences committed outside India. It is a procedural impediment while conducting criminal trial under Section 188 CrPC. The rationale behind the same lies in the principle of double jeopardy.

One of the first judgments which discussed the ambit for the term “inquiry” within the meaning of Section 188 CrPC is Sanoop v. State of Kerala[5]. The Court gave a broad interpretation of the word “inquiry” and included certain stages of investigation also (arrest and detention) within its sweep, to attract the sanction requirement under the proviso to Section 188 CrPC. However, this judgment runs contradictory to the jurisprudence constante of the Supreme Court in Ajay Aggarwal  v. Union of India[6], Thota Venkateswarlu v. State of A.P.[7] and  Hardeep Singh v. State of Punjab[8].

A Single-Judge Bench in Remla v. SP of  Police[9]  by relying upon State of W.B. v. Jugal Kishore More[10] ,  Nikka Singh v. State[11]  and Narumal v. State of Bombay[12] , held that the proviso to Section 188 casts an obligation to obtain previous sanction of the Central Government to inquire into and try such person and that Section 188 has a message that for the pre-inquiry stage, no such sanction is needed and since the pre-inquiry stage substantially relates to investigation of the crime, no sanction is required for investigation.

Interpretation of the word “dealt with” under Section 188 CrPC

In order to understand whether sanction will be required under Section 188 CrPC for investigation, the words “dealt with” under Section 188 CrPC need detailed construction. The most significant Supreme Court judgment on this point is Delhi Admn. v. Ram Singh[13]. The Court broadly constructed the words “dealt with” under Section 188 CrPC to include within its sweep not only “inquiry” and “trial” but other aspects also. The words “dealt with” in Section 188 CrPC, must be held to include “investigation” also, apart from “inquiry” and “trial”. It was also held that the “words ‘dealt with’ in the main part cannot be restricted to ‘inquiry’ and ‘trial’ used in the proviso”. Also, on a conjoint reading of Section 188 CrPC and Section 4 IPC, it must cover the procedure relating to investigation and hence the scope and ambit of the main part of Section188 CrPC cannot be controlled by the proviso. In the backdrop of conflicting High Court judgments on this point, the Full Judge Bench of Samaruddin v. Director of Enforcement[14], following Delhi Admn. case[15] upheld  the views rendered in Remla case[16] and in Mohd. Shameer Ali v. State of Kerala[17]

Ambit of “inquiry” under Section 188 CrPC: At what stage of inquiry will the sanction be needed – Post-cognizance or pre-cognizance

The judiciary was embroiled in a huge controversy over the interpretation of the word “inquiry” for attracting the proviso to Section 188 CrPC. After a perusal of rationale rendered in Rabindra Rai v. State of Bihar[18], State of U.P. v. Lakshmi Brahman[19]  and Dalu Gour v. Moheswar Mahato[20] it can be clearly said that the moment the charge-sheet is filed before the court, the inquiry is said to commence under Section 2(g) CrPC[21]. It is not necessary that such inquiry shall commence only after a formal order is passed by the Magistrate. In order to understand what stage of inquiry will attract the proviso of Section 188 CrPC, it is relevant to note four important judgments.

Firstly, in C.V. Padmarajan v. Govt. of Kerala[22], the Court under para 20 held that application of judicial mind to the police report, deciding to take cognizance of offences will certainly be part of the “inquiry” which is barred unless the prior sanction of the Central Government has been obtained under Section 188 CrPC in respect of the offences committed outside India. In other words, the Court held that taking cognizance of an offence will attract the proviso to Section 188 CrPC.

Secondly, in para 27 of Ajay Aggarwal  v. Union of India[23], the Court held that prior sanction under the proviso to Section 188  CrPC is not a condition precedent for taking cognizance of the offence and that if need be, such sanction could be obtained after the trial begins. However, since the offence in this case was committed at Chandigarh in India and not outside India and therefore, Section 188 CrPC was not attracted and hence, is only an obiter dictum which cannot be treated as law laid down by the Supreme Court within the meaning of Article 141 of the Constitution of India[24].

Thirdly, a 3-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Thota Venkateswarlu v. State of A.P.[25] has held that bar in the conduct of “inquiry” by the Magistrate Court in relation to an offence committed outside India without obtaining sanction of the Central Government as per the proviso to Section 188 CrPC would apply only in respect of the “post-cognizance inquiries”. The Court by applying “purposive and contextual interpretation” held that only “inquiries” within the meaning of Section 2(g) which are to be conducted after the taking of cognizance and before the framing of the charges alone would come within the zone of prohibition of the proviso to Section 188 CrPC, thus partially overruling Padmarajan case[26].

Fourthly, the 5-Judge Bench in Hardeep Singh v. State of Punjab[27] held that all “inquiries” held after submission of the final report/charge-sheet, including the “inquiry” by the court in the matter of taking cognizance, will be also barred by the proviso to Section 188 CrPC however, the Court made it clear that so long as the above specific legal position in Thota Venkateswarlu case[28] is not specifically overruled by the Supreme Court, it is only to be held that even taking of cognizance is not barred in such cases.

From the abovementioned analysis, it can be said that the Courts have given a restrictive interpretation of the word “sanction” restricting it to post-cognizance stage and not to the investigation. The rationale for the same is twofold:

  • Firstly, as investigation is the very first stage that will determine the flow of criminal proceedings in later stages, the requirement for sanction at the first stage will derail the criminal process in totality. To ensure that investigation is not in any manner fettered by the restriction as per the proviso to Section 188 CrPC and to ensure full freedom on the police to conduct investigation, it is kept outside the zone of prohibition under the proviso to Section 188 CrPC.
  • Secondly, to prevent enormous and unrealistic burdens[29] on the Central Government to take decisions on the question of sanction in each and every case, which may arise in various parts of the country, the Court logically kept investigation outside the requirement of sanction from the Central Government.

Conclusion

Thus, from the above discussion, it can be succinctly said that the bar as per the proviso to Section 188 (requirement of sanction) can be only in relation to conduct of inquiry and trial and the said proviso cannot impose any restriction on the powers of the police to the conduct of investigation into such offences committed outside India. Investigation is kept outside the requirement of sanction of the Central Government under the proviso to Section 188 CrPC.


*3rd year student, BA LLB (Hons.), Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur. Author can be reached at shreyatripathi.204@gmail.com.

[1] Penal Code, 1860

[2] Section 3 IPC. 

[3] Section 4 IPC. 

[4] Section 188 CrPC.  

[5] 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 1268. 

[6] (1993) 3 SCC 609. 

[7] (2011)  9 SCC 527. 

[8] (2014) 3 SCC 92.

[9] 1992 SCC OnLine Ker 323. 

[10] (1969) 1 SCC 440. 

[11] 1950 SCC OnLine Punj 126. 

[12] 1960 Cri LJ 1674: AIR 1960 SC 1329.

[13] (1962) 2 SCR 694.   

[14] 1999 SCC OnLine Ker 279. 

[15] Supra Note 13.

[16] Supra Note 9.

[17] 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 2778. 

[18] 1983 SCC OnLine Pat 155. 

[19] (1983) 2 SCC 372. 

[20] 1946 SCC OnLine Pat 175.

[21] Section 2(g) CrPC

[22] (2009) 1 ILR Ker 36 : 2009 (1) KHC 65.

[23] (1993) 3 SCC 609. 

[24] Article 141 of the Constitution of India

[25] Supra Note 7.

[26] Supra Note 22.

[27] (2014) 3 SCC 92 

[28] Supra Note 7.

[29]Mohd. Shameer Ali v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 2778, para 34

Op EdsOP. ED.

The evil practice of manual scavenging is still on the table, and is not fully eradicated. Various judicial and executive attempts have been made since decades to exclude this practice from the society, but still people from the lower class are exploited and in return of monetary benefits, their dignity gets discarded. Recently, two petitions were filed in the Karnataka High Court, both concerning with the exclusion and non-compliance of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013[1]. The first petition was filed by High Court Legal Services Committee and the second one by All India Central Council of Trade Union (Karnataka State Unit).

The Karnataka High Court, on December 9 issued some interim directions in All India Council of Trade Unions v. Union of India[2], and the observations made by the court is equally important to draw a line between non-compliance of the Act concerned and how manual scavenger can be restricted accordingly within the state. These directions should not be only confined up to the State of Karnataka but also, other states should follow them as an advisory to tackle the evil practice.

Manual Scavenging: A Crime against Human Dignity

The Preamble to the Act has been structured to deliver some amount of justice to those who have been suffering since ages. The Preamble reads out that – “And whereas it is necessary to correct the historical injustice and indignity suffered by the manual scavengers, and to rehabilitate them to a life of dignity”. But the question of implementation is stuck somewhere beneath the table. In the opening para, the court had rightly made it crystal clear that there is no place for manual scavenging under the Constitutional shelter as it vandalises the trinity of equality, fraternity and liberty. On these lines, it was observed by the court that:

“There can be no dispute that our Constitutional philosophy does not permit any form of manual scavenging. Right of a citizen to live with dignity is an integral part of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Preamble of the Constitution shows that the Constitution seeks to protect the dignity of an individual. There can be no dispute that manual scavenging is most inhuman and it infringes the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21. If any citizen is forced to do manual scavenging, it will be a gross violation of his fundamental right conferred under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Under Article 47 of the Constitution of India which is a part of directive principles of the State policy, the state is under an obligation to endeavour to improve the standard of living of its people. Under Article 42 of the Constitution, the State must endeavour for securing just and humane conditions of work.”[3]

Who is a Manual Scavenger?

The court while dealing with the issue on scavenging, had exhaustively dealt with the various important definitions given in the Act. The meaning of manual scavenger has been marked under Section 2(g) which states that a person engaged or employed, at the commencement of this Act or at any time thereafter, by an individual or a local authority or an agency or a contractor, for manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling in any manner, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit into which the human excreta from the insanitary latrines is disposed of, or on a railway track or in such other spaces or premises, as the Central Government or a State Government may notify, before the excreta fully decomposes in such manner as may be prescribed, and the expression “manual scavenging” shall be construed accordingly”. The definition concerned has been further explained and the explanation reads out that if a person engaged or employed to clean excreta with the help of such devices and using such protective gear, as the Central Government may notify in this behalf, shall not be deemed to be a “manual scavenger”.

The question on insanitary latrine was dealt and it was differentiated with other methods. For instance, the court in para 12 had clarified that – “insanitary latrine” is defined in clause (e) of Section 2. It means a latrine which requires human excreta to be cleaned or otherwise handled manually, either in situ or in an open drain or a pit into which the excreta is discharged before the excreta fully decomposes in such manner as may be prescribed. However, a water flush latrine in railway coaches is cleaned by an employee with the help of a device and by wearing a protective device as may be notified by the Central Government shall not be deemed to be an insanitary latrine.[4]

The Act lays down two specific provisions to restrict and prohibit the construction of sanitary latrines and Section 4 to Section 5, when read together sums up the regulations coupled with prohibitions laid down by the Act itself. The court had summarised the importance of these two provisions:

Para 16: The effect of Sections 4 to 5 can be summarised as under:

(a) there is a complete prohibition on constructing insanitary latrines. All the insanitary latrines constructed after coming into force of the Manual Scavengers Act, have to be either demolished or converted into sanitary latrines by the occupier as defined in clause (j) of Section 2;

(b) there is a complete prohibition on engaging or employing, either directly or indirectly, a manual scavenger. If any person who has been so engaged prior to coming into force of the Act shall stand discharged immediately from any obligation, express or implied, to do manual scavenging; and

(c) if any occupier fails to demolish an insanitary latrine or convert it into a sanitary latrine within the period provided in sub-clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 4 (period not exceeding three years from the date of commencement of the Manual Scavengers Act), it is the duty of the local authority to either demolish or to convert the existing insanitary latrine into a sanitary latrine.

Implementation: A Reality Check

It is pertinent to note that court came down heavily on the authorities concerned as most of the provisions were not even notified, forget about implementation. For instance, under Sections 5 to 6, it is needed or expected that a survey is carried out and such insanitary latrines are demolished accordingly and record should be placed within the period concerned. The Manual Scavengers Act came into force on 6-12-2013 and clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 4 enjoins every local authority to give a notice to the occupier of an insanitary latrine within a period of 15 days from the date of publication of the list as per clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 4 to either demolish insanitary latrine or to convert such insanitary latrine into a sanitary latrine within a period of six months from the date of commencement of the Manual Scavengers Act. Hence, no positive outcome was tabled by the local authorities concerned and to the contrary, the court in Para 20 of the order,observed:

“There is nothing on record to indicate that these provisions have been implemented. Under sub-section (2) of Section 4, every local authority are under an obligation to construct adequate number of sanitary community latrines within a period of not exceeding three years from the date of commencement of the said Act, as the appropriate Government may, by a notification, specify so as to eliminate the practice of open defecation in their jurisdiction. In fact, the practice of open defecation must be stopped or eliminated immediately. It is an important step towards eradication of manual scavenging. But this cannot happen unless the local authorities construct adequate number of sanitary community latrines and maintain the same clean and hygienic. More importantly, all the authorities will have to sensitise the citizens about the ill effects of open defecation. A massive awareness campaign needs to be initiated for that purpose.” [5]

Rehabilitation: A Failed Reality

The main object of the 2013 Act was to rehabilitate the families and victims of manual scavenging. The Supreme Court in Safai Karamchari Andolan v. Union of India, while issuing certain directions to curb the practice had rightly noted that one of the main object is to rehabilitate the family members and it was observed that – “Identify the families of all persons who have died in sewerage work (manholes, septic tanks) since 1993 and award compensation of Rs 10 lakhs for each such death to the family members depending on them.”[6] Now, if we come to the practical side, then the implementation of the Act itself is a challenge, because rehabilitation would be on the table only when the “evil” of manual scavenging is set aside.

Section 13 of the Act rightly remarks that if any person or person(s) are identified and they are included in the final list, shall be rehabilitated. The provisions cover different benefits for such persons, like their children would be entitled to scholarships, a photo identity shall be issued, they shall be allotted a residential plot and financial assistance for house construction:

 (e) he, or at least one adult member of his family, shall be given, subject to eligibility and willingness, subsidy and concessional loan for taking up an alternative occupation on a sustainable basis, in such manner as may be stipulated in the relevant scheme of the Central Government or the State Government or the local authority concerned; and

 (f) he shall be provided such other legal and programmatic assistance, as the Central Government or State Government may notify in this behalf.

Now, let us come back to the practical approach and implementation of these provisions regarding rehabilitation. The court in this case had rightly observed that only those people are eligible for these benefits who are there in the final list, but the local authorities and State had failed to even comply one, and it was directed by the court that:

“Therefore, directions will have to be issued to the State Government to submit a report whether survey and identification of manual scavengers in the State has been conducted and whether final lists have been published. The State Government will have to also inform the court whether district-wise lists are made and whether consolidated State list has been prepared. Moreover, the State will have to place on record whether the District Level Survey Committees have been formed in all the districts and the State Level Survey Committee has been constituted. The State Government will have to point out the details of the number of meetings held of both the Committees.”

Hence, the court issued certain interim directions to curb the current happenings and non-compliance of the provisions of the Act. Some of the important directions can be categorised as:

(a) Low Convictions: The court observed that very low cases have been registered for violating the provisions of the Act concerned and the State was directed to place the details on number of first information reports, also the cases which finally resulted in convictions.

(b) Data and Surveys: It was directed by the court that State and the local authorities would place on record the data which has to be collected in pursuance of sub-clause (c) of Rule 2 of the Manual Scavengers Rules. Also, the data on final list has been collected or not by the authorities concerned.

(c) Demolition of Insanitary Latrines: The court directed the authorities to place the records concerned on demolition of insanitary latrines in pursuance of Section 4 and Section 5 of the Act. Also, it was directed that the State Government shall direct all the local authorities to comply with the obligations under sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 4 and to immediately ascertain the requirement of number of sanitary community latrines within their respective jurisdictions and thereafter, make construction of such latrines. The data of such community sanitary latrines constructed in the State shall be placed on record.

(d) Rehabilitation: It was directed that the State Government shall place on record the steps taken for rehabilitation of manual scavengers as provided in Section 13 by stating whether there are any Schemes of Central and State Government for rehabilitation of the manual scavengers as contemplated by Section 13.

(e) Compliance of Safai Karamchari Judgment: The court directed that the State Government shall place on record all the details regarding the compliance with the directions contained in para 23.3 of the decision of the Supreme Court in Safai Karamchari Andolan[7].


Law graduate, Member of Indian Civil Liberties Union, e-mail: uddin.areeb@rediffmail.com.

[1] http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/FM5Ed3hR

[2] 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 2420

[3] All India Council of Trade Unions v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 2420

[4] All India Council of Trade Unions v. Union of India 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 2420

[5] All India Council of Trade Unions v. Union of India. (Supra)

[6] (2014) 11 SCC 224

[7] (2014) 11 SCC 224

Op EdsOP. ED.

“It is not one or two factors which turn a man delinquent, but it is a combination of many more factors which cumulatively influence him to follow criminal conduct.” — Prof. William Healy

I. Introduction

Crime may be defined as an act or an omission punishable by the law. It is considered to be a result of deviance from the standard norms established by the society and prescribed by the law. The modern world is plagued with a plethora of crimes of various kinds. Therefore, it would be in the collective interest of the society, if crimes could be prevented or at least, be reduced considerably. Consequently, it becomes incumbent for criminologists and sociologists to pinpoint the exact causes of crimes.

As a result, over a period of time, many theories have been propounded to determine the causes of criminality. The biological theory analyses and discusses biological and genetic explanations of crimes and explores the idea of “born criminal” on the premise of Darwinian atavism. On the other hand, the sociological theory asserts that criminals are a product of the society. Eventually, sociologists and criminologists made use of multiple factor approach to explain crime causation. The supporters of this approach believe that criminality is a product of combination of factors such as culture, religion, political ideologies, family background, neighbourhood, economic conditions, topography and media to name a few. As a result of the wide acceptance of this approach, the study and analysis of ecology of crime gained importance in the field of criminology.

II. Ecology of Crime

Ecology may be defined as the study of relationship between organisms and their physical and social environments. According to Donald Taft “ecology of crime may be studied in terms of location of criminal or residences of delinquents or some supposed influence upon crime which has distribution in terms of space and topography.”[1] Social (or human) ecology of crime may be defined as the study of the social and behavioural consequences of the interaction between human beings and their environment. It explores how the exposure to different environments influences human development and action. It focuses on the role of environment in the development of people’s differential propensity to engage in crime and their differential exposure to settings conducive to engagement in acts of crime. From these definitions, it can be inferred that ecology of crime includes the analysis of the role played by family background, neighbourhood, area of residence, values and socio-cultural patterns, topography, etc. in breeding criminality. For the purpose of evaluating the role played by these factors, the following theories have been propounded within the broad framework of ecology of crime.

Theory of Social Disorganisation                     

Robert Park and Ernest Burgess of Chicago School defined social disorganisation as “the inability of a group to engage in self-regulation”.[2] They used Chicago as a concentric zone model by dividing the city into five concentric zones emanating from the center of the city. They focused on how the communities in the “zone of transition” (Zone II, located near the center of the city and business/industrial area) had become unsettled and disrupted due to repeated waves of immigration and continuous conflict, which led to social disorganisation, which in turn led to criminal conduct. Based on their research, Park and Burgess came to the conclusion that the breaking of traditional social bonds was one of the major factors causing criminal conduct.[3]

This idea was further developed by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay in their study “Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas”, in which, by using the concentric zone model, they made an attempt to explain juvenile delinquency in Chicago. They proceeded on the hypothesis that people develop their behaviour on the basis of their perception of the prevailing norms and values in their “area of residence”. This means that if a person, especially a child or a juvenile, perceives that committing crimes is the norm in his area of residence/neighbourhood, and has no repercussions largely, he will inadvertently replicate the criminal behaviour. Additionally, the existence of gambling dens, brothels, gangs, etc. in neighbourhood makes things much worse.

Based on their study, Shaw and McKay found that juvenile delinquency rates were unevenly distributed across the city, the highest rates of delinquency were in the “zone of transition”, and the delinquency rate decreased as one went outward from the center of the city.[4] They observed that these areas of high rates of crime were characterised by poverty, residential instability, racial heterogeneity and repeated waves of immigration and emigration.[5] Like Park and Burgess, they concluded that the social disorganisation, which existed within the “zone of transition”, was the root cause of high juvenile delinquency rate. They reasoned that this social disorganisation was due to the absence of a settled and stable community and lack of social control by the institutions of family, school, churches, etc. which led to weak social bonds and virtually no control over the behaviour of the people in these areas.[6] Interestingly, they also found that that social disorganisation existed perennially in areas within this zone due to cultural transmission, which resulted in high crime rates, in spite of a complete turnover in population.

This theory offers explanation to crimes like theft, burglary, gambling, prostitution, blackmailing, extortion, etc. in areas characterised by the poverty, residential instability and racial heterogeneity in any urban city.

Theory of Cultural Transmission

Shaw and McKay are also credited for developing the theory of cultural transmission, through which they explained the perpetuity of delinquency caused by social disorganisation. However, it can also be used to explain perpetuity of criminal conduct resulting from factors such as cultural outlook, customs, norms, religion, etc. This theory provides that, “traditions of delinquency are transmitted through successive generations of the same region just as languages, customs and attitudes are.”[7]

In India, certain values and traditions such as dowry system, untouchability, caste system, prohibition on inter-religion/inter-caste marriages, etc. are prevalent due to their cultural transmission through successive generations, although they are prima facie illegal and/or even contrary to constitutional values.

The operation of this theory is perhaps best seen in the crimes committed by tribals, who are engaged in certain activities by virtue of traditions and practices that are deep-rooted in their age-old customs.  For example, the Bhils and Bhilalas of the Jhabua tribe in Madhya Pradesh customarily practice marriage by elopement.[8] Similarly, the Kanjar tribe in Rajasthan, widely known as the “caste of thieves”, practise thievery as a trade since they believe that it is their age-old vocation. They also sacrifice children to blood-thirsty goddesses.[9] By engaging in these activities, which have been a part of their culture since time immemorial, these tribal groups inadvertently commit crimes.

Theory of Differential Association

Prof. Edwin Sutherland has propounded the theory of differential association. According to this theory, criminal behaviour is “learnt” due to the association of the delinquent with other persons in his intimate personal groups, who have a strong influence on him. This learning includes not only the ways and techniques of committing crimes but also their motives, rationales and justifications.[10]

Merely having a bad association does not make a man turn towards criminality. It takes something more, an alteration at a very basic level of one’s moral perception of right and wrong. This theory asserts that delinquents learn to rationalise unaccepted behaviour into accepted behaviour. Let us consider the following examples for a better understanding:

  1. People may commit theft of life-sustaining items to fulfil their basic needs due to poverty and unemployment.
  2. Corruption in public offices is rampant in India due to bureaucracy and red-tapism. Common man believes that it is impossible to get things by public servants without bribing them.
  3. Vigilantism and mob-lynching results in crimes such as assault, battery, murder, etc. People take the law in their hand because they believe that the criminal justice system has failed to protect their right and liberties and in providing timely justice.
  4. Ecological studies of prisons have revealed that sexual offences are common in prisons since prisoners do not get to enjoy family life for a prolonged period of time.
  5. Cultural outlook also results in the commission of crimes as seen earlier.
  6. Some people commit crimes just for the sake of “fun” or “entertainment”.

These justifications of poverty, unemployment, absence of family life, culture fun, etc. far outweigh the moral definition that “violating the law is wrong under any and all circumstances”. By attributing “bad association” as a factor of crime causation, this theory also offers explanation to most organised crimes in any part of the world.

Sutherland also gave prime importance to the influence of one’s family background on his delinquent conduct, perhaps as a direct consequence of his theory of differential association. Children tend to learn criminal behaviour from their parents and relatives. Family itself can be a bad association. Further, a child’s predisposition to criminality due to bad association (in the area of residence/neighbourhood) may go unchecked and uncorrected due to lack of parental control and supervision. Similarly, Donald Taft suggests that, a child is more likely to turn towards delinquency if his parents are dead or divorced and if he has been subjected to physical punishments and abuse in his childhood.[11]

Theory of Criminal Opportunity

It is observed that the aforementioned theories neither consider the mens rea of the offender nor do they explain spontaneous crimes. These aspects are covered by the theory of criminal opportunity which asserts that crimes are caused due to the circumstances that a criminal finds conducive to commit them. For instance, dacoity is rampant in the forest regions and ravines of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh; rape is widespread in Delhi; and theft is common in bus stands, railway stations, temples, etc. in Mumbai. Therefore, the primary focus is on the characteristics of physical environment that encourage and enable the criminals to make a rational choice to offend. Motivated offenders look for suitable targets which are not supervised by a capable guardian in areas where fast means of escape are available easily.

This theory explains that crime rates are higher in urban areas since:

  1. Urban areas provide more opportunities to commit crimes.
  2. The people in urban areas spend less time in routine-based activities, leaving their property and children unguarded (routine activities theory).
  3. Urban areas have faster means of transport and communication which aids in swift escape.

As a result, urban cities are ravaged by crimes such as rape, theft, burglary, kidnapping, economic offences, terrorism, corruption, etc. In the same vein, Donald Taft suggests that crime rate in rural areas is substantially lower than that in urban cities because of greater homogeneity of rural population, lesser mobility and absence of adequate opportunities to escape.[12]

III. Conclusion

It is apparent that the first three theories bear some similarity, intersecting at certain points. However, the factors that they attribute to criminality are substantially different. The theory of social disorganisation focuses on weak social bonds, and lack of supervision, social control and moral guidelines; the theory of cultural transmission focuses on deviant and delinquent values, traditions and cultural outlook transmitted through successive generations; and the theory of differential association focuses on bad association of, and rationalisation of the unacceptable behaviour by the delinquent. These theories primarily describe influence of social environment on criminality.

The major demerit of the abovementioned ecological theories is that they place overemphasis on the “social environment” and in doing so they overlook the “individual”. By focusing primarily on the effect of social institutions and social disorganisation, they fail to account for the influence of individual psychology, distinctive biology, biological predisposition or personal choice and will on criminal conduct. However, the theory of criminal opportunity does overcome this demerit to a certain extent by placing emphasis on the “motivated offender” who tends to commit crimes if the physical environment provides opportunities to do so. According to the author, to overcome this demerit substantially, ecological theories must be studied along with biological theory to ascertain the simultaneous and cumulative influence of biological and social factors in crime causation.

On a final note, it is imperative to allude to the fact that, as a result of the growing complexities of the modern urban life, the acts which were and are considered to be immoral, illegal and offensive have gradually crept into our society and become a part of the system. Therefore, the author submits that, in spite of all these theories it will be impossible to prevent, or even reduce crimes, unless there is a paradigm shift in moral values of the society at the most basic and fundamental level. Consequently, this shift has to begin at one’s home for transforming and reconstructing cultural and social outlooks of the future generations. This argument holds water, especially in case of India, where many communities with diverse values, moral, norms and customs live together.


Advocate, Gujarat High Court

[1] N.V. Paranjape, Criminology and Penology with Victimology 83 (Central Law Publications, Allahabad, 15th edn., 2012).

[2] Supra note 1at 108.

[3] Looking Inside Zone V: Testing Social Disorganization Theory in Suburban Areas, Western Criminology Review 9(1), 1–16 (2008).  <http://westerncriminology.org/documents/WCR/v09n1/roh.pdf>.

[4] C.R. Shaw and H.D. McKay, Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas; A Study of Rates of Delinquents in Relation to Differential Characteristics of Local Communities in American Cities, American Journal of Sociology (University of Chicago Press) 1942.

[5] J. M. Byrne and R. J. Sampson, The Social Ecology of Crime <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275996748_The_Social_Ecology_of_Crime>.

[6]Review of the Roots of Youth Violence: Literature Reviews <http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/professionals/oyap/roots/volume5/chapter04_social_disorganization.aspx>.

[7] Supra note 1 at 104.

[8] Supra note 1 at 83.

[9] <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0069966715578046>.

[10]Sutherland, Edwin H., Differential Association Theory and Differential Social Organisation <https://study.sagepub.com/system/files/Sutherland%2C_Edwin_H._-_Differential_Association_Theory_and_Differential_Social_Organization.pdf>

[11] Supra note 1at 79.

[12] Supra note 1at 85.

Op EdsOP. ED.

Introduction

The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002[1] (PMLA) is a pro-active legislation keen on curbing money-laundering and bringing violators to justice. Such a legislation is definitely the need of the hour considering the number of scams this country has seen in its past and a strong law securing the 4 walls of justice for offenders is welcomed by the people at large. However, off-late, criminal law practitioners (defense lawyers) have found it challenging to deal with PMLA for the fact that the 4 ends securing the 4 walls of ‘presumed’ justice is far too airtight even for genuine non-offenders to escape its clutches, if caught by sheer happenstance. This article deals with one such scenario.

PMLA punishes an individual for the offence of money-laundering under Sections 3 and 4 which read as follows:

3. Offence of money-laundering.— Whosoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in any process or activity connected with the [proceeds of crime including its concealment, possession, acquisition or use and projecting or claiming] it as untainted property shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering. 

[Explanation. – For the removal of doubts, it is hereby clarified that,

(i) a person shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering if such person is found to have directly or indirectly attempted to indulge or knowingly assisted or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in one or more of the following processes or activities connected with proceeds of crime, namely,

(a) concealment; or

(b) possession; or

(c) acquisition; or

(d) use; or

(e) projecting as untainted property; or

(f) claiming as untainted property, in any manner whatsoever;

 (ii) the process or activity connected with proceeds of crime is a continuing activity and continues till such time a person is directly or indirectly enjoying the proceeds of crime by its concealment or possession or acquisition or use or projecting it as untainted property or claiming it as untainted property in any manner whatsoever].

  1. Punishment for money-laundering.— Whoever commits the offence of money-laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine:

Provided that where the proceeds of crime involved in money-laundering relates to any offence specified under paragraph 2 of Part A of the Schedule, the provisions of this section shall have effect as if for the words which may extend to seven years, the words which may extend to ten years had been substituted.

On a bare reading of these two provisions, any money that is construed to be ‘proceeds of crime’ is liable to be punished under PMLA. ‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined under Section 2(1)(u) as any property derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, by any person as a result of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence[2]. It is my contention that an offence under the PMLA cannot be a stand-alone offence, as an offence is required to be committed (under the Schedule) for the monies/properties to be deemed ‘proceeds of crime’. Without commission of a crime, there exists no proceeds from crime.

The Karnataka High Court in K. Sowbaghya v. Union of India[3] has observed that:

having regard to the meaning attributed to ‘proceeds of crime’ under PMLA, whereby crime contemplated is the alleged scheduled offence, the ‘proceeds of crime’ contemplated under Sections 3 and 4 are clearly and inextricably linked to the scheduled offence and it is not possible to envision an offence under PMLA as a stand-alone offence without the guilt of the offender in the scheduled offence being established.

Therefore, on a logical reasoning of the said proposition, only if an offence under the Schedule to PMLA is committed, then the question of proceeds of crime arises.

Coming to the thesis or central question for discussion in this article, there are various offences under various statutes that have been adduced as scheduled offences under the PMLA, and for the major part of the Schedule, I have no quarrel with the intention of the legislature. For example, an offence under Section 25 of the Arms Act (which is a scheduled offence under the PMLA) punishes the individual who possesses or sells unlicensed arms and ammunition. The PMLA, rightly so, punishes the individual for the proceeds he/she has made or property acquired through such possession or sale. Taking another example, certain offences under the Penal Code, 1860 such as Sections 364-A (kidnapping for ransom), 384 to 389 (extortion), 392 to 402 (robbery and dacoity) etc are also scheduled offences under the PMLA. Similar to the previous example, IPC punishes the accused for the offences of kidnapping, extortion or robbery/dacoity whereas the PMLA punishes the accused for the money made or property acquired from the commission of such crimes.

The problem arises when considering offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988[4] (the PC Act), particularly Section 13. Offences under Section 13 (criminal misconduct by a public servant), also a scheduled offence under PMLA, punishes a public servant for receiving illegal gratification by using his/her public office, misappropriating property or owning/possessing property worth beyond known sources of income or illicit enrichment of wealth (general overview). Contrary to the argument that the PC Act only punishes a person for being corrupt or misusing his public office and PMLA punishes the monies made or properties acquired from such misconduct, I argue that the PC Act collectively performs the functions of the PMLA as well.

The object of PMLA is to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money-laundering. Therefore, the function of PMLA is to seize/confiscate the properties so enjoyed by individuals who have acquired such property by commission of one or more offences which can be acted upon under the Act, apart from punishment for holding such property. The PC Act on the other hand, not only punishes an individual for being corrupt and holding tainted property, it also takes away any property/money derived from such abuse of power/criminal misconduct for the same reason that such property was acquired through illegal means.

The Supreme Court while dealing with a case under the PC Act in Yogendra Kumar Jaiswal v. State of Bihar[5] held that:

If a person acquires property by means which are not legally approved, the State would be perfectly justified to deprive such person of the enjoyment of such ill-gotten wealth. There is a public interest in ensuring that persons who cannot establish that they have legitimate sources to acquire the assets held by them, do not enjoy such wealth.  Such a deprivation would certainly be consistent with the requirement of Articles 300-A and 14 of the Constitution which prevent the State from arbitrarily depriving a person of his property.

When the PC Act inclusively curbs and confiscates “proceeds of crime”, would prosecution for the same under PMLA not amount to double jeopardy?

Provisions of the PC Act examined

An analysis of Section 13 of the PC Act will shed further light on this theory. Section 13 reads as follows:

13. Criminal Misconduct by a Public Servant. [(1) A public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct,

(a) if he dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use any property entrusted to him or any property under his control as a public servant or allows any other person so to do; or

(b) if he intentionally enriches himself illicitly during the period of his office.

Explanation 1.- A person shall be presumed to have intentionally enriched himself illicitly if he or any person on his behalf, is in possession of or has, at any time during the period of his office, been in possession of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his known sources of income which the public servant cannot satisfactorily account for.

Explanation 2.- The expression known sources of income means income received from any lawful sources.]

(2) Any public servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than [four years] but which may extend to [ten years] and shall also be liable to fine.[6]

Most cases pending or newly charged are predominantly under the provisions prior to the 2018 amendment due to the check period and hence, emphasis will also be placed on Sections 13(1)(a) to (e), as they were, prior to the amendment. However, the following explanation would be squarely applicable to Section 13 as it is subsequent to the amendment also.

Provision

(Before Amendment)

Key Word/Phrase
13(1)(a) Gratification other than legal remuneration
13(1)(b) Valuable thing
13(1)(c) Misappropriates property entrusted to him or under his control
13(1)(d) Valuable thing or pecuniary advantage
13(1)(e) Pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to known sources of income
(After amendment) Key Word/Phrase
13(1)(a) Misappropriates property entrusted to him or under his control
13(1)(b) Intentionally enriches himself illicitly

All these provisions have a key word or a phrase within which the alleged actions have to fit into for them to be charged with one of the above offences (all of which are scheduled offences under PMLA). At this point, it is also pertinent to examine the definition of ‘property’ as under Section 2(1)(v) of PMLA:

(v) “property” means any property or asset of every description, whether corporeal or incorporeal, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible and includes deeds and instruments evidencing title to, or interest in, such property or assets, wherever located;

Explanation.– For the removal of doubts, it is hereby clarified that the term “property” includes property of any kind used in the commission of an offence under this Act or any of the scheduled offences;”

A bare reading of this definition would show that all keywords/phrases for making one liable under Section 13 of the PC Act also (on interpretation) fall under the definition of Section 2(1)(v) of PMLA. Apart from jail time, the objective of Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA are to confiscate any property that is construed to be from proceeds of crime as the person holding the said property has not obtained and enjoyed them through legal means. This, in its very essence is what Section 13 is also trying to accomplish. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “pecuniary” as “of or in money”, thereby making construction of the term ‘pecuniary advantage’ to also fall under the definition of property under Section 2(1)(v) of PMLA. This comparison is only to show that cumulatively, Section 13 of the PC Act and Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA are trying to achieve the same goal and have the same objectives. Therefore, initiating action against an individual under both the provisions of law for the same offence or transaction, would amount to double jeopardy.

It is agreed as stated by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in B. Rama Raju v. Union of India[7] that punishment under Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA are distinct proceedings from Section 5 which is attachment of property and subsequent confiscation. However, in a PC Act case, the trial court (CBI Court in most jurisdictions) passes an order of attachment of tainted property or property under presumption that it is through illegal gratifications during the pendency of trial. This is where Section 5 of PMLA comes in conflict with the proceedings already pending before the trial court. Once the properties are already attached and since the PMLA also permits an order of attachment under Section 5, the Enforcement Directorate making an application to transfer all properties from CBI to ED is prima facie posing a direct threat to the investigation conducted by CBI.[8] Both the agencies are looking into the same properties for offences committed and further, only if an offence is established by CBI can it be treated as ‘proceeds of crime’ by ED.

The Supreme Court in Kanhaiyalal v. D.R. Banaji[9] had held that:

 “If a court has exercised its power to appoint a receiver of a certain property, it has done so with a view to preserving the property for the benefit of the rightful owner as judicially determined. If other courts or tribunals of coordinate or exclusive jurisdiction were to permit proceedings to go independently of the court which was placed the custody of the property in the hands of the receiver, there was a likelihood of confusion in the administration of justice and possible conflict of jurisdiction.

Even though the observations made therein were in a civil case, the same principles are to be applied to criminal cases also, as attachment of property in these matters are quasi civil in nature. If the Enforcement Directorate were to interfere with pending proceedings conducted by CBI, then there would arise a conflict of jurisdiction since both are on the basis of the same offence and properties possessed therein.

The most essential ingredient for an offence under Section 3 of PMLA is the existence of property that is deemed to be a proceed of crime and Section 13 of the PC Act, quintessentially performs the twin function by making the accused public servant liable for abusing his/her office, possessing such property as well as confiscating the said property since it is a proceed of a ‘crime’ committed by the public servant. To makes things more convincing, punishment under Section 13(2) of the PC Act is much more severe than Section 4 of PMLA, thereby justifying its twin purpose.

Double Jeopardy explained

The concept of double jeopardy has been known to mankind from time immemorial. Dating back to 355 BC in Athens, Greece, the law forbids the same man to be tried twice on the same issue. Double jeopardy or non bis in idem is a procedural defense that prevents a person from being tried again on the same or similar charges following a valid conviction or acquittal. The principle of double jeopardy in India existed prior to the drafting and enforcement of the Constitution. It was first enacted in Section 403(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 which is now Section 300 of the amended Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. A partial protection against double jeopardy is a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 20 (2) of the Constitution of India, which states “No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once”.

In Thomas Dana v. State of Punjab[10], a Constitutional Bench of 5 Judges laid down 3 requirements for double jeopardy i.e. prosecution, punishment and same offence. If these 3 are complied with, then the protection under Article 20(2) is guaranteed.

Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure also protects a person from being tried again where he/she has already been tried and acquitted/convicted for the same offence. Section 26 of the General Clauses Act states that:

 “Where an act or omission constitutes an offence under two or more enactments, then the offender shall be liable to be prosecuted and punished under either or any of those enactments, but shall not be liable to be punished twice for the same offence.

This is further enumerated by the Supreme Court in Manipur Administration v. Thokchom Bira Singh[11], that for Article 20(2) and Section 26 of the General Clauses Act to act as a bar for second prosecution and its consequential punishment thereunder, it must be for the same offence that is, an offence whose ingredients are the same. Applying the principles of Section 26 of the General Clauses Act, Article 20(2) and the above decision of the  Supreme Court to the present question at hand, it can be stated that since the offence for which PMLA is invoked is essentially the same offence as under the PC Act, the above provisions will get attracted. Therefore, ingredients, occurrences and circumstances are the same for an offence under Section 13 of the PC Act and Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA (including evidence, both oral and documentary) i.e. money/properties acquired through commission of an offence, it is to be concluded that prosecution under PMLA is a second trial for the same offence when the PC Act proceedings are pending or have attained finality.

Conclusions

I have, in this article, tried to give an outline that prima facie, Section 13 of the PC Act and Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA do not harmoniously gel with each other. On the one hand, only if the primary or scheduled crime is made out can a prosecution under PMLA be maintainable (there are certain lines of thought which state, offence under PMLA is stand-alone and is not dependent on any other offence being proved/committed) and on the other hand, even on the existence of an offence under Section 13 of PC Act, the PC Act is a self-sufficient Act which punishes the accused for both abusing the position of being a public servant, as well as having acquired or being in possession of illegal gratification or property that is either misappropriated or disproportionate to known sources of income. Hence, a subsequent action under  PMLA is nothing but a violation of the constitutionally protected fundamental right against double jeopardy. In concluding remarks, it would be pertinent to note that the Schedule to PMLA is to be revisited and pros and cons are to be considered by the Courts having jurisdiction as to whether the provisions of the PC Act (not restricted to Section 13) are to be considered scheduled offences under PMLA.


*Advocate, Madras High Court

[1] Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002

[2]Indian Bank v. Government of India, 2012 SCC Online Mad 2526  

[3] 2016 SCC Online Kar 282

[4] Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

[5](2016) 3 SCC 183

[6]Prior to the 2018 amendment, Section 13(1) reads as follows;

  1. Criminal misconduct by a public servant.—(1) A public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct,—

(a) if he habitually accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person for himself or for any other person any gratification other than legal remuneration as a motive or reward such as is mentioned in section 7; or

(b) if he habitually accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain for himself or for any other person, any valuable thing without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate from any person whom he knows to have been, or to be, or to be likely to be concerned in any proceeding or business transacted or about to be transacted by him, or having any connection with the official functions of himself or of any public servant to whom he is subordinate, or from any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned; or

(c) if he dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use any property entrusted to him or under his control as a public servant or allows any other person so to do; or

(d) if he,—

(i) by corrupt or illegal means, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing

or pecuniary advantage; or

(ii) by abusing his position as a public servant, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or

(iii) while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest; or

(e) if he or any person on his behalf, is in possession or has, at any time during the period of his office, been in possession for which the public servant cannot satisfactorily account, of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “known sources of income” means income received from any lawful source and such receipt has been intimated in accordance with the provisions of any law, rules or orders for the time being applicable to a public servant.

[7] 2011 SCC OnLine AP 152

[8] I take this stand being fully aware of the fact that Section 18-A of the PC Act, pursuant to the 2018 amendment, has paved way and given priority to provisions of PMLA (with respect to attachment) over the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 1944 under provisions of which attachment and confiscation are usually made under the PC Act. This bereft of the fact that if attachment in PMLA takes precedence over the PC Act, then the whole idea of establishing proceeds of crime would become null as the procedure for trial are different under both Acts and trial under PMLA is much more accelerated due to its narrow scope for the offence of proceeds of crime.

[9] 1959 SCR 333

[10] 1959 Supp (1) SCR 274

[11] (1964) 7 SCR 123 

Op EdsOP. ED.

Abstract

To obtain an identification of the suspect, police uses several modes like visual, audio, scientific and test identification parade. Although numerous jurisdictions have made improvements to their identification procedures in recent years, a large share of jurisdictions have still not made significant reforms. Although some courts have been making better use of the scientific findings on eyewitness identification, most courts are still using an approach that is largely unsupported by scientific findings. This paper focuses on the study of study of how eyewitness evidence is perceived in the criminal justice system. The paper highlights the relevancy and admissibility of identification of the accused in Court, having regard to the criminal burden of proof, the frailties of eyewitness identification evidence and the problems in the line-up procedures employed by the police.

।. INTRODUCTION

The issue of identification is one for you to decide as a question of fact”.[1]

Identification evidence is highly persuasive to triers of fact. There is an intuitive sense that when someone witnesses a stranger commit a crime, he or she should be able to remember that face. After all, we see and remember faces every day. However, more than four decades of research has revealed this assumption to be flawed, there is clear evidence that witnesses often struggle with accurately recognising the face of a stranger perpetrator[2]. Indeed, although eyewitness testimony can be an important and valuable form of evidence, eyewitness identification errors are a leading cause of wrongful convictions in many countries[3].

The evidence which requires particular attention is identification evidence, which resembles confession evidence in being, at the same time, both extremely compelling and potentially unreliable. Witnesses are frequently required to identify persons whom they have only seen fleetingly and often in confused circumstances. The identification of the perpetrator is often the only issue that needs to be determined in a criminal trial[4].

Mistaken identity may often occur in good faith, but the effects can be extremely serious for the defendant and, for this reason, there is an obvious need for caution in relation to such evidence. As with evidence of lies by the defendant, the hazards associated with identification evidence are addressed by means of a Judge’s direction, but there are additional safeguards which apply where the identification has been made by means of a formal procedure conducted under police supervision, such as an identification parade[5].

In its 1993 Report, the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice spoke of the compromise that has to be struck between crime control and due process values, so that “the risks of the innocent being convicted and the guilty being acquitted are as low as human fallibility allows”[6]. There are references to the need to strike a reasonable balance between the protection of a suspect’s rights and allowing the police the freedom to do their job throughout the Report, leaving the reader with the impression that if we could find this rather mystical balance, then all would be well.

II. MEANING OF IDENTIFICATION

‘Identification’ is the proof in a legal proceeding that a person, document, or other thing is that which is alleged to be. Identification is the evidence of identity[7]. Phipson states that “it is often important to establish the identity of a person who a witness testifies that he saw on a relevant occasion. Sometimes, the witness will testify that he had seen the person before, or even know the person well, and therefore recognised the person observed on the relevant occasion”.[8] The identity of a person can be established by the evidence of persons who know him[9].

III. SIGNIFICANCE OF IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE

Many times crimes are committed under the cover of darkness when none is able to identify the accused. The commission of crime, in those cases, can be proved by establishing the identity of accused. Identification evidence is seen to be inherently fragile. In Alexander v. R[10], Mason, J. stated that:

“Identification is notoriously uncertain. It depends upon so many variables. They include the difficulty one has in recognising on a subsequent occasion a person observed, perhaps fleetingly, on a former occasion; the extent of the opportunity for observation in a variety of circumstances; the vagaries of human perception and recollection; and the tendency of the mind to respond to suggestions, notably the tendency to substitute a photographic image once seen for a hazy recollection of the person initially observed.”

The identification evidence has for some time been regarded as potentially dangerous for the simple reason, that mistakes are easy to make where identification is concerned.[11] Before we notice the circumstances proving the case against the accused and establishing the identity beyond reasonable doubt, it has to be borne in mind that approach required to be adopted by courts in such cases has to be different. The cases are required to be dealt with utmost sensitivity. Further, the evidence is required to be appreciated having regard to the background of entire case and not in isolation.[12]

In another case[13], where the question was raised whether evidence is permitted even in absence of formal proof by the Executive Magistrate concerned? The Court held that the fact that the Executive Magistrate concerned did not prove the Test Identification Parade does not make it inadmissible.

IV. TURNBULL GUIDELINES ON IDENTIFICATION

In response to widespread concern over the problems posed by cases of mistaken identification, the Court of Appeal in R v. Turnbull[14] laid down important guidelines Judges in trials that involve disputed identification evidence.

Where the case against an accused depends wholly or substantially on the correctness of one or more identifications of the accused, which the defence alleges to be mistaken, the Judge should warn the jury of the special need for caution before convicting the accused in reliance on the correctness of the identification(s). The  Judge should tell the jury that:

i. caution is required to avoid the risk of injustice;

ii. a witness who is honest may be wrong even if they are convinced they are right;

iii. a witness who is convincing may still be wrong;

iv. more than one witness may be wrong;

v. a witness who recognises the defendant, even when the witness knows the defendant very well, may be wrong.

The  Judge should direct the jury to examine the circumstances in which the identification by each witness can be made. Some of these circumstances may include:

i. the length of time the accused was observed by the witness;

ii. the distance the witness was from the accused;

iii. the state of the light;

iv. the length of time elapsed between the original observation and the subsequent identification to the police.

V. IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE UNDER INDIAN LAW

Section 9 of the  Evidence Act, 1872 is concerned with the admissibility of facts which are necessary to explain a fact in issue or relevant fact. The section deals with that kind of evidence which if considered separate and distinct from other evidence would be irrelevant; but if it is taken into consideration in connection with some other facts, proved in the case it explains and throws light upon them[15]. As per Section 9, facts which establish the identity of accused are relevant[16]. This section does not deal with testimonial identity. Circumstantial evidence of identity are dealt within this section[17].

Where the court has to know the identity of anything or any person, any fact which establishes such identity is relevant. Personal characteristics such as age, height, complexion, voice, handwriting, manner, dress, blood group, knowledge of particular people and other details of personal history are relevant facts[18].

Identification proceedings are facts which establish the identity of an accused person as the doer of a particular act, and would be relevant under Section 9; but only if evidence of such identification is given by the witness. On the question of the admissibility of the evidence, the Supreme Court[19] held that “if a Magistrate speaks of facts which establish the identity of anything, the said facts would be relevant within the meaning of Section 9 of the Evidence Act; but if the Magistrate seeks to prove statements of a person not recorded in compliance with the mandatory provisions of Section 164 CrPC, such part of the evidence, though it may be relevant within the meaning of Section 9 of the Evidence Act, will have to be excluded.”

VI. MODES OF IDENTIFICATION

In a case involves disputed identification evidence, and where the identity of the suspect is known to the police, various methods like finger/thumb impression, voice, digital, comparison of writing, identification parade by police are used for the purpose of establishing facts showing identity of accused and properties which are the subject-matter of alleged offence. All the modes are discussed broadly as follows:

(i) Test Identification Parade (popularly known as TIP)

One of the methods used for establishing the identity of a person as the doer of a particular act is by means of identification parades[20]. In a case which involves disputed identification evidence a parade must be held if the suspects ask for one and it is practicable to hold one. A parade may also be held if the officer in charge of the investigation considers that it would be useful, and the suspect consents. The main purpose of an identification parade is to confirm the identity of the accused and help the police in their investigation[21]. The utility of the evidence created by an identification parade was explained by the Supreme Court in  Ramanthan v. State of Tamil Nadu[22]. The Court opined that “Identification parades have been in common use for a very long time for the object of placing suspect in a line up with other persons for identification. It enables the investigating officer to ascertain whether the witnesses had really seen the perpetrator of the crime and test their capacity to identify him and thereby to fill the gap in the investigation regarding the identity of the culprit.”

(a) Procedure of TIP

A crime is reported to the police. Some description might have been given of the suspect. In any event, the police investigate and arrest a particular person as the culprit. Then the complainant is taken to the police station to identify him i.e. to pick him out of a group of persons of similar complexion and stature. If the complainant picks him out then the police know that the witness is telling the truth and also that they are on the right track.

The Magistrate conducting the Test Identification Parade (TIP) is directed to take two photocopies of TIP report under his direct supervision and after certifying the same, hand over one to I O with specific directions that contents of such report should not be divulged to any person till charge sheet under Section 173, CrPC is filed. Second photocopy shall be retained by the Magistrate as “confidential” record in a sealed cover for future requirements, if necessary[23].

To conduct the procedure in an appropriate manner, special rooms for conduct of Test Identification Parade in all the prisons in the State shall be made. Such rooms shall have one side view glass separating those lined up for parade, on one hand and witness and the Magistrate, on the other — Witness and Magistrate should not be visible to those who are lined up, but, suspect and dummies should be visible clearly to the witness and the Magistrate. Enclosure in which the suspect and dummies are lined up shall be illumined and should also have ante room for them to change their attire[24].

(b) Value of TIP

Evidence of Test Identification Parade is not substantive evidence whereas evidence given in the court, is. However, when a witness correctly identified the accused at the parade but not in court the evidence of the Magistrate, who conducted the test parade that the witness correctly identified the accused at the parade, supported by the remarks of the trial  Judge regarding the demeanour of the witness that he was frightened and was unable to recognise the accused at the trial, was sufficient to convict the accused[25].

Identification of the accused made in court, is substantive evidence, where as identification of the accused in test identification parade is though a primary evidence but not substantive and the  same can be used only to corroborate the identification of accused by the witness in court[26].

Further, it is pertinent to note that the holding of TI parade is not compulsory. Where the witnesses were well acquainted with the accused and the incident was also widely covered by media, it was held that non-holding of TI parade was not fatal to the prosecution case[27]. As to when an identification parade may be necessary was explained by the Supreme Court in Jadunath Singh v. State of U.P.,[28]  that “ Of course, if the prosecution fails to hold an identification parade on the plea that the witnesses already knew the accused well and it transpires in the court of trial that the witnesses did not know the accused previously, the prosecution would run the risk of losing its case. It seems to us that if there is any doubt in the matter, the prosecution should hold an identification parade”.

In a case[29], where identification parade was held after an inordinate delay of about five weeks from the arrest of the accused, the explanation for the delay was not trustworthy. Plea as to the non-availability of a Magistrate in a city like Bombay though the investigating agency was not obliged to get the parade conducted from a specified Magistrate, was not accepted. It was held that the accused was entitled to benefit of doubt.

Thus, the identification parades belong to the stage of investigation, and there is no provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure which obliges the investigating agency to hold, or confers a right upon the accused to claim a test identification parade. They do not constitute substantive evidence and these parades are essentially governed by Section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Failure to hold a test identification parade would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in court. The weight to be attached to such identification should be a matter for the courts of fact[30].

(ii) Video Identification

In the paper-based world, law assumes a process which is mutually understood and observed by all the parties. Almost without thinking, a four-part process takes place, involving acquisition, identification, evaluation and admission. When we try to apply this process to digital evidence, we see that we have a new set of problems[31]. Nowadays, in most countries live parades have now been largely replaced by video parades, an innovation that has been made possible by the development of sophisticated computer systems used to compile video images from a standardised database of moving video clips[32]. In Britain, two different IT systems are in widespread use to provide video identification: VIPER (Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording) and PROMAT (Profile Matching). Each system has its own database of images. VIPER lineups are prepared in a standardised format comprising approximately 15-second clips of each person shown in sequence one after another. The sequence starts with a head and shoulders shot of the person looking directly at the camera, who slowly turns their head to present a full right profile followed by a full left profile. Finally, the person returns to looking directly into the camera in a full-face pose. Each image is checked for quality control by the centralised National VIPER Bureau.

The relevancy of identification of the suspect by a witness who was not present at the scene of the crime, but knew the suspect and recognised him on video recording depends upon whether the witness needed for this purpose special skills and experience[33].

(iii) Visual/Eyewitness Identification

An eyewitness is one, who saw the act, fact or transaction to which he testifies. A witness is able to provide graphic account of the attack on the deceased can be accepted as eyewitness[34].  Identification of an accused in court by an eyewitness is a serious matter and the chances of false identification are very high[35].

In cases involving eyewitness identification evidence, the logical starting point is the integrity principle, which “states that the agents of law enforcement should not use, and the courts should not condone, methods of investigating crime that involve breaches of the rules”.[36] This promotes fairness to defendants and a moral consistency from the State: in responding to law-breaking the State should follow its own laws and rules.

Eyewitness evidence is usually the main type of evidence on which convictions are based[37]. There seems to be a general assumption by lay triers of fact that eyewitness testimony is one of the safest bases for any identification; there have certainly been convictions based on very weak visual-identification evidence[38]. In fact visual-identification evidence is often unreliable, and is therefore a potentially hazardous way of connecting a person to an offence. The classic example is where a witness testifies that he saw the offence being committed by a stranger some distance away, for a relatively short period of time, in far from ideal conditions. But it is not just such `fleeting glance’ identification evidence which can lead to miscarriages of justice.

The reliability of the witness’s opinion depends entirely on the reliability of the visible features of the first image which were actually seen and mentally recorded by him (which in turn depends on the extent to which he was paying attention, his physical and psychological powers of perception at that time and his memory) together with the reliability of his comparison of the stored image with the visible features of the second image.

Identifying witnesses may focus on broad impressions or features which stimulate their own subjective preferences rather than on the multitude of specific physical details, so markedly different facial characteristics between the offender and the accused may go unnoticed while vague similarities may be given undue weight. The problem becomes even more acute when the identifying witness and the identified person (the offender) are from different racial groups or generations. Another problem, which may arise in a case of purported recognition, is that of `unconscious transference’ where the witness confuses the offender with a different person seen in some other context. Conversely, if the witness claims never to have seen the offender before, the reliability of his identification is likely to decrease with time as his memory fades[39]. the eyewitness may be honestly mistaken but sincerely convinced that his identification is correct. In R v. Fergus[40] for example, the sole prosecution witness was said to have felt an `invincible conviction in the correctness of his identification’ of the accused even though the witness had poor eyesight, did not take much notice of the offender’s face and first described the offender as 5′ 11” tall with a light complexion and stubble, when the accused was 5′ 7” tall, dark-skinned and had not yet started shaving.

The conventional forensic tool for revealing weaknesses in testimony is cross-examination, but where visual-identification evidence is concerned this tool may be singularly ineffective and, ironically, may indirectly buttress the witness’s testimony.

Alarmingly, research shows “that approximately 40% of eyewitness identifications are mistaken”.[41]” Further, “it is estimated there may be more than 10,000 people a year wrongfully convicted, most of whom were convicted as a result of mistaken identification.”[42] This has led many in the criminal justice system to finally realise what others concluded long ago: eyewitness identification evidence is “hopelessly unreliable.” Unreliability, in turn, leads to a dual problem: not only is an innocent person likely to be convicted, but the true perpetrator necessarily goes free, often to commit additional crimes.[43]

Despite its hopeless unreliability, eyewitness identification evidence has proven to be an extremely powerful tool for the prosecution. The reality is that jurors are “unduly receptive to identification evidence and are not sufficiently aware of its dangers.”[44] Nothing is more convincing to jurors than a live witness who takes an oath and confidently proclaims that he saw the defendant commit the crime. In fact, the level of confidence exhibited by an eyewitness has been found to be the most powerful predictor of guilty verdicts.

In a case, where it was not certain that the visual recognition of the appellants by the complainant on a fateful night was unhindered and unhampered especially when he was fired at first and allegedly saw the occurrence under stress of a threat, the court acquitted the appellants of the charge by extending them the benefit of doubt[45].

Thus, the appreciation of the evidence of eyewitness depends upon[46]:

– The accuracy of the witness’s original observation of the events which he described, and

– The correctness and extent of that he remember and his veracity.

(iv) Forensic Identification

When false eyewitness identifications and wrongful convictions are discovered, they are usually exposed through post conviction DNA testing. However, in the vast majority of criminal cases, DNA evidence has either been destroyed[47] or, more commonly, never even existed in the first place[48]. This, of course, poses a significant problem for the innocent defendant convicted based primarily on eyewitness evidence.

Erroneous eyewitness identifications have plagued our criminal justice system since its inception. When DNA evidence became a prevalent tool for law enforcement in the 1980s, not only did it assist prosecutors in obtaining convictions, but it also reopened prior convictions that were obtained based primarily on eyewitness testimony. Studies now reveal that erroneous eyewitness identifications “are the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions in the United States, and are responsible for more wrongful convictions than all other causes combined.”[49] In fact, in 80% of the first one hundred post conviction DNA exoneration, the underlying wrongful convictions were based primarily, if not solely, on false identifications.[50]

In these DNA exoneration cases, the DNA evidence proved to a scientific certainty that the defendant did not commit the crime charged and had been wrongfully convicted. But even today, most innocent defendants do not have the luxury of DNA evidence to prove their innocence. For example, in some cases the police do not collect or properly preserve the available DNA evidence.[51]

(v) Voice Identification

Voice itself may be an issue in a criminal case, inasmuch as it may itself be a personal characteristic upon which an identification of a criminal depends. It thus seems appropriate that we have in recent years seen the coining of the word ear-witness for the witness who heard, rather than saw[52], something:

In obscene phone calls, bomb hoaxes, ransom demands, hooded rape, robberies, muggings, or in crimes committed in darkness, the perpetrator’s voice may be the only definite piece of evidence available to aid police investigation and court conviction. That most research into witness testimony and identification has been conducted in the visual realm reflects the fact that most identification situations involve a witness using visual cues. The preponderance of such research serves to obscure the fact that in many instances both visual and verbal information is available and in many others only verbal cues exist. The awareness of the existence of the last two types of criminal situation dictates that research into human abilities to recognise voices should not be neglected but rather be rapidly pursued.[53]

With visual-identification evidence, however, there is the very real possibility of error on account of the circumstances surrounding the witness’s initial perception of the offender’s voice (and the medium through which it was heard), the witness’s ability to remember the way the offender spoke and, in particular, his ability accurately to compare the offender’s voice with that of the accused[54].

It was recognised by New Zealand’s Court of Appeal in R v. Waipouri[55],  that voice-identification evidence is generally less reliable than visual-identification evidence and that even greater caution is required when relying on it. In R v. Roberts[56] the Court of Appeal received expert evidence to the effect that a voice identification is more likely to be wrong than a visual identification, that ordinary people are as willing to rely on identification by ear-witnesses as they are on identification by eye-witnesses and that the identification of a stranger’s voice is a very difficult task, even if the opportunity to listen to the voice was relatively good. Accordingly, in cases where the prosecution is permitted to adduce such evidence the jury must be given a direction analogous to that established for visual-identification evidence in  R v. Turnbull[57] .

Further, by analogy with the position for visual-identification evidence where the jury compares a photographic image of the offender with the accused, the jury should be given an appropriate warning when they are asked to compare a recording of the offender’s voice with the accused’s voice[58].

In an Indian case[59], where the witnesses were not closely acquainted with the accused, they claimed to have identified him from his short replies such evidence was held to be unreliable. In another case[60], in a charge of conspiracy for murder, the voice of the accused was recognised by the witness as he demanded money and he was already acquainted with the voice from earlier time. The evidence was held to be relevant.

Recently, the Supreme Court in Dola  v. State of Odisha,[61] observed that it is true that the evidence about the identification of a person by the timbre of his voice depending upon subtle variations in the overtones when the person recognising is not familiar with the person recognised may be somewhat risky in a criminal trial.

(vi) Previous Identification

Where, in criminal proceedings, a witness gives evidence identifying the accused as the person who committed the offence charged, evidence of a previous identification of the accused by that witness may be given, either by the witness himself or by any other person who witnessed the previous identification[62], for example a police officer who conducted a formal identification procedure such as a video identification or an identification parade, as evidence of consistency[63].

R v. Christie[64], is the leading authority that when a witness gives evidence identifying the defendant as the offender, evidence may also be given that he has previously identified the accused. In principle, the previous identification could fall foul of three exclusionary rules – the hearsay rule, the rule against self-serving statements and the rule against non-expert opinion evidence.

Till date, no case has fully examined and explained the reasons for the admissibility of evidence about previous identifications. The most comprehensive examination was in Christie, but that is authority only for the proposition that the credibility of a witness who identifies the accused in court may be supported by evidence that he has identified him previously. It does not allow evidence of the prior identification unless the identifier gives evidence identifying the accused[65].

The Indian Supreme Court[66] observed that identification evidence of accused cannot be relied upon, especially when identification in court is not corroborated either by previous identification in identification parade or any other evidence, conviction of accused cannot be based upon it.

VII. VALUE OF IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE

A statement identifying someone as the offender may be admissible as a dying declaration, or as a part of the res gestae, or as a previous inconsistent statement, provided the conditions for admissibility of evidence under those principles are satisfied. It is well settled that the substantive evidence is the evidence of identification in court and the test identification parade provides corroboration to the identification of the witness in court, if required. However, what weight must be attached to the evidence of identification in court, which is not preceded by a test identification parade, is a matter for the courts of fact to examine[67].

In a recent judgment, the Court observed that test identification parade is not a substantive evidence. Its purpose is only to help the investigating agency ascertain as to whether the investigation in the case is heading in the right direction or not. There is no provision in CrPC which obliges the investigating agency to hold or confer a right on the accused to claim a test identification parade. Absence to hold it would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in court[68].

VIII. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

Thus, where the prosecution case depends solely on the identification of a single witness, it is particularly important to give a general, clear and simple direction on burden and standard. However, concerning the admissibility of identification evidence, it has been found that although there may be rare occasions when it will be desirable to hold a voir dire (an investigation into the truth or admissibility of evidence), in general the  Judge should decide on the basis of the depositions, statements, and submissions of counsel. Finally, failure on the part of the police to observe the provisions may be taken into account by the court when deciding whether to exclude identification evidence when assessing the weight of such evidence.


* Assistant Professor, Law, KIIT School of Law, Prasanti Vihar, Patia, Bhubaneshwar – 751024; Email:  sarvesh.shahi@kls.ac.in

[1] R v. Donnini, [1973] VR 67.

[2]. Gary L. Wells & Nancy K. Steblay, “Eyewitness Identification Reforms: Are Suggestiveness -Induced Hits and Guesses True Hits?”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 799, 835–844 (2011).

[3]. Heather L. Price, “Judicial Discussion of Eyewitness Identification Evidence” 49 CJBS 209–220 (2017).

[4]. S v. Mdlongwa, 2010 (2) SACR 419 (SCA).

[5]. Chris Taylor, Law Express Evidence, (Pearson, Chennai, 4th Edn., 2009).

[6]. The Royal Commision on Criminal Justice Report (“The Runciman Report”) (1993 London: HMSO)

Cmnd 2263, 2.

[7]. S.R. Myneni, Law of Evidence 84 (Asia Law House, Hyderabad, 3rd  Edn., 2019).

[8]. Phipson, Phipson on Evidence (Sweet & Maxwell, Thomson Reuters, 17th  Edn. 2015).

[9]. Dr. Avtar Singh, Principles of The Law of Evidence  66 (Central Law Publications, Allahabad, 22nd  Edn., 2018).

[10]. (1981) 145 CLR 395 at 426.

[11]. Alan Taylor, Principles of Evidence, 139 (Cavendish Publishing Limited, London,  2nd  Edn,. 2007).

[12]. Visveswaran v. State,  (2003) 6 SCC 73

[13]. Shiv Murat Kol v. State of M.P.,  2018 SCC OnLine MP 336.

[14]. [1977] QB 224.

[15]. Monir, M. Textbook on the Law of Evidence 66 (Universal Law Publishing, Delhi, 11th Edn,. 2018).

[16]. Ram Babu v. State of Uttar Pradesh(2010) 5 SCC 63.

[17]. Batuk Lal, The Law of Evidence 73 (Central Law Agency, Allahabad) 19th Edn., 2012).

[18]. Ashok K. Jain, Law of Evidence 44 (Ascent Publications, New Delhi,  6th Edn,. 2015).

[19]. Deep Chand v. State of Rajasthan,  (1962) 1 SCR 662.

[20]. Vepa P. Sarathi, Law of Evidence 56 (Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, 6th Edn., 2008).

[21]. Gade Lakshmi Mangaraju v. State of A.P., (2001) 6 SCC 205.

[22](1978) 3 SCC 86 at page 96.

[23]. 2017 Cri LJ 5011.

[24]. Ibid.

[25]. Dana Yadav v. State of Bihar, (2002) 7 SCC 295.

[26].Ibid at page 301.

[27]. R. Shaji v. State of Kerala, (2013) 14 SCC 266.

[28].  (1970) 3 SCC 518.

[29].  (1999) 8 SCC 428.

[30]. Malkhan Singh v. State of M.P., (2003) 5 SCC 746.

[31]. Swati Mehta, “Cyber Forensics and Admissibility of Digital Evidence” (2011) 5 SCC J-54.

[32]. Amina Memon, “A Field Evaluation of the VIPER System: a New Technique for Eliciting Eyewitness Identification Evidence” 17 Psychology Crime & Law 711 (2011).

[33]. Jowett, Christian, 2002 NLJ 152: Current Law (Jan) 2003.

[34]. Vishnu Narayan Moger v. State of Karnataka, 1995 SCC OnLine Kar 291.

[35]. Glanville Williams, Proof of Guilt 630 (Harvard Law Review , 3rd Edn 1963).

[36]. Ashworth, A., The Criminal Process: An Evaluative Study (1994 Oxford: Clarendon), 32; see also

Zuckerman, A.A.S., The Principles of Criminal Evidence (1989, Oxford: Clarendon).

[37]. Meintjes van der Walt L ” Judicial Understanding of the Reliability of Eyewitness Evidence: A Tale of Two Cases” PER / PELJ 2016(19).

[38]. R v. Mattan (Deceased) (1998) The Times 5.3.98 (97/6415/S2) (CA) and R v. Ross [1960] Crim LR 127 (CCA).

[39]. Raymond Emson, Evidence 360 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd Edn., 2004).

[40].  (1993) 98 Cr App R 313 (CA).

[41]. Amy Luria, “Showup Identifications: A Comprehensive Overview of the Problems and a Discussion of Necessary Changes” 86 Neb. L. Rev. 515, 516 (2008).

[42].  Suzannah B. Gambell, Comment, The Need to Revisit the Neil v. Biggers

Factors: Suppressing Unreliable Eyewitness Identifications, 6 WYO. L. REV. 189 (2006), at 190-91 [discussing Elizabeth F. Loftus & James M. Doyle, Eyewitness Testimony: Civil and Criminal? 4-1 (3rd Edn., 1997)].

[43]. Keith A. Findley, “Toward a New Paradigm of Criminal Justice: How the Innocence Movement Merges Crime Control and Due Process” 41 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 133 (2008).

[44]. Suzannah B. Gambell, Comment, “The Need to Revisit the Neil v. Biggers Factors: Suppressing Unreliable Eyewitness Identifications” 6 Wyo. L. Rev. 189 (2006).

[45]. Mian Sohail Ahmed v. State, (2019) SCC OnLine Pak SC 12.

[46]. Sir John Woodroff & Syed Amir Ali’s Law of Evidence 461. (Butterworths, Allahabad, 17 Edn., 2001).

[47]. Cynthia E. Jones, “The Right Remedy for the Wrongly Convicted: Judicial Sanctions for Destruction of DNA Evidence” 77 Fordham L. Rev. 2893 (2009). (Discussing how poor handling of evidence has resulted in premature destruction in thousands of cases, including in States in which laws have been enacted mandating evidence preservation.).

[48]. Barry Scheck, “Closing Remarks to Symposium, Thinking Outside the Box: Proposals for Change” 23 Cardozo L. Rev. 899 (2002).

[49]. State v. Dubose, 699 N.W.2d 582, 592 (Wis. 2005) (citing Gary L. Wells et al., “Eyewitness Identification Procedures: Recommendations for Lineups and Photo spreads” 22 Law & Hum. Behav. 603,605 (1998).

[50]. Calvin Ter Beek, “A Call for Precedential Heads: Why the Supreme Court’s Eyewitness Identification Jurisprudence is Anachronistic and Out-of-Step with Empirical Reality” 31 Law & Psychol. Rev. 21 (2007).

[51]. People v. Cress, 645 N.W.2d 669, 692 (Mich. Ct. App. 2002).

[52]. Bethany K. Dumas, “Voice Identification in a Criminal Law Context, American Speech”, 65 Duke University Press, 341-348 1990).

[53]. Ray Bull, “Earwitness Testimony” 39 Med. Sci. Law 120-127 (1999).

[54]. Supra note 3.

[55]. [1993] 2 NZLR 410.

[56].  [2000] Crim LR 183 (99/0458/X3).

[57]. [1976] 3 WLR 445 (R v. Hersey [1998] Crim LR 281 (CA), R v. Gummerson, [1999] Crim LR 680 (CA), R v. Chenia, [2003] 2 Cr App R 83 (CA)). .

[58]. Bulejcik v. R, (1996) 185 CLR 375 (HCA), R v.O’Doherty, [2003] 1 Cr App R 77 (NICA).

[59]. Inspector of Police v. Palanisamy,  (2008) 14 SCC 495.

[60]. Mohan Singh v. State of Bihar,  (2011) 9 SCC 272.

[61]. (2018) 18 SCC 695

[62]. For the difficulties which arise where the witness fails to identify the accused in court, having previously identified him outside court, see R v. Osbourne and R v. Virtue, [1973] QB 678, CA. 295 (See Ch 10).

[63]. R v. Burke and Kelly, (1847) 2 Cox CC.

[64]. [1914] AC 545.

[65]. Rosamund Reay, Evidence 311 (Old Bailey Press, 3rd Edn., 2001).

[66]. Dana Yadav v. State of Bihar, (2002) 7 SCC 295.

[67]. Malkhan Singh v. State of M.P., (2003) 5 SCC 746.

[68]. Raju Manjhi v. State of Bihar, (2019) 12 SCC 784.

Hot Off The PressNews

The Press Council of India is distressed to know about the alleged attack on Mr Arnab Goswami purportedly for his views as journalist.

Every citizen in the Country including a journalist has the right to express their opinion which may not be palatable to many but this does not give any body the authority to strangulate such voice.

Violence is not the answer even against bad journalism.

The Council condemns this attack and expects from the State Government to apprehend the perpetrators of crime and they be brought to justice immediately.

While taking suo motu cognizance in the matter, Hon’ble Chairman has directed the Government of Maharashtra, through the Chief Secretary and Commissioner of Police, Mumbai to submit a report on the facts of the case at the earliest.


[Press Council of India]

PR/12/2020-PCI

[Press Release dt. 23-04-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Division Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ., dismissed an appeal with respect to the denial of appointment for the post of sub-inspector on the ground of a criminal case having been registered against respondent when he was a juvenile.

Court noted the significance of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act as follows:

“The thrust of the legislation as well i.e. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as well as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is that even if a juvenile is convicted, the same should be obliterated, so that there is no stigma with regard to any crime committed by such person as a juvenile.”

The facts of the present case are that, the respondent had cleared his process of application and interview and was thus selected and offered an appointment for the post of Sub-Inspector in Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF). Further, he was required to submit a form that contained a column relating to whether any FIR had been lodged against the respondent in the past, for which the respondent had given the details of the FIR lodged against him. Respondent had clearly mentioned in his form that he was acquitted for the same on a compromise.

Further respondent’s case was referred to the Standing Screening Committee which found his appointment to be unsuitable on the ground of a criminal case lodged in the past against him. Thus his appointment was cancelled by the National Industrial Security Academy.

Supreme Court’s Observation & Decision

Supreme Court in the present appeal noted that the complaint lodged against respondent was to the effect when he was a minor, he had teased a girl and went to the extent of catching hold of her hand. However, the girl and her parents decided to pardon the respondent resulting in his acquittal.

For the above-said, “even if it is found to be true, the Court stated that it cannot be said that the respondent committed such a crime which would be covered under the definition of moral turpitude, specially when the respondent is said to have committed the alleged offence when he was a minor.”

“Even if the allegations were found to be true, then too the respondent could not have been deprived of getting a job on the basis of such charges as the same had been committed while the respondent was juvenile.”

Further, the Court noted that, the case against the respondent is not with regard to the suppression of any conviction or charges having been framed against him. Respondent had very fairly disclosed the charges which had been framed and his acquittal.

Thus, the appeal was dismissed with a direction that the respondent shall be entitled to all the benefits of the Judgment. [Union of India v. Ramesh Bishnoi, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1531, decided on 29-11-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: M.M. Shantanagoudar, J., delivered the judgment for N.V. Ramana, J. and himself, and upheld the decision of the Patna High Court answering a death reference in negative and acquitting the Respondent 1.

Respondent 1, along with co-accused, was convicted by the trial court under Sections 396 and 412 IPC. It was alleged that the accused committed dacoity in the house of the informant and his uncle, Madhukant Jha. While committing dacoity, the accused also fired a gunshot due to which Madhukant Jha died. The trial court awarded a death sentence to Respondent 1. The High Court not only answered the death reference in negative, but also acquitted Respondent 1. The matter was before the Supreme Court in appeal.

The Supreme Court perused the record and heard the parties and upheld the decision of the High Court. The Court observed, inter alia, that there was non-reporting of essential facts which were known to the informant in the FIR. Even the name of the material witness was conspicuously missing. Such non-mentioning, according to the Court, created suspicion on the hypothesis portrayed by the prosecution. It was further observed, although the FIR is not an encyclopedia of the crime, absence of certain essential facts, which were conspicuously missing in the FIR, pointed towards suspicion that the crime itself may be staged. On such and other reasons, the Court was of the view that the judgment of the High Court did not warrant any interference. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed. [Amar Nath Jha v. Nand Kishore Singh,2018 SCC OnLine SC 786, decided on 03-08-2018]