Relevancy of facts forming part of same transaction (Section 6 of Indian Evidence Act, 1892):
“Fact which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction, are relevant whether they occurred at the same time and place at different times and places.”
The doctrine of res gestae can be outlined in 1693 when in the case of Thompson vs. Trevanion the court admitted a declaration accompanying an act as evidence giving the justification.
Doctrine of Res Gestae or Part of Transactions:
The Principle of the Section is that whenever a “transaction” such as a contract or crime is a fact in issue, then evidence can be give of every fact which forms part of the same transaction. The fact which surrounded the happening of an event is its res gestae. This section is based upon the English doctrine of “Res Gestae.” It is a Latin word which means “thing done” and when translated into English means “things said and done in the course of a transaction.”
~Ratten v. Queen
A man was prosecuted for the murder of his wife. His defence was that ‘the shot went off accidently’. There was evidence to the effect that the deceased telephoned to say: “get me the police please” before the operator could connect the phone to police. She gave her address and suddenly call ended. After that police came to the house and found the body of the dead woman. Her call in distress shows that the shooting in question was intentional and not accidently because no victim could think and get police before happening.
Applicability of Res Gestae
The following conditions must be fulfilled in order to conduct that the facts are a part of the same transaction:-
~They must be in close proximity of time, so much so that there remains no possibility of concussion or fabrication.
~They must have occurred at the same place or at different places which are in close proximity to each other.
~There must be certain continuity in action.
~There must be a ‘community of purpose’.
The courts have used the abovementioned points to determine the applicability of section 6 in a case. Gestures made by the victim while dying may also qualify as res gestae mentioned under Queen vs. Abdullah,1885.
These are facts surrounding or accompanying a transaction. This has a reference to the circumstances which are the automatic and the unsigned incidents. The incidents may consist of the sayings and doings of persons. Res Gestae according to Cross's Law of Evidence, is a blanket phrase covering, a variety of items of evidence for variety of purposes.
Example: A sues B for a libel. The libel was in a letter. The correspondence between the parties relating to the subject of libel are relevant facts. A is accused of murder of B by beating. All things said or done by A & B, or by the by-standers, at the time of beatings or just before it are relevant facts (Res Gestae). Of course, Hearsay evidence is not admissible. Hence Res Gestae refers to statements relating to and contemporaneous with a relevant fact. The essence of it is that there must be continuity of action and purpose.
In R.V. Thompson (committing abortion of a woman), all acts done and statements made before or after abortion were allowed as Res gestae.
In R.V. Lillyman, the accused had ravished a woman W. The particulars given by her in her complaint were allowed as they were consistent with her conduct and for not giving her consent for ravishment. The primary prerequisite for the applicability of the section is the fact must be a part of the ‘same transaction’.
Res Gestae an Exception to hearsay:
Hearsay evidence is applied to the doctrine of res gestae also which is not considered a good piece of evidence. R v. Foster, witness had seen only a speeding vehicle but not the accident. The deceased stated to him what had happened with him in the accident. The court held the statement of the deceased to the witnesses to be admissible in evidence as res gestae.
The doctrine of res gestae can be is often used as the last resort. It was formed to make sure that no criminal walks away freely due to lack of evidence against him and to avoid injustice. But the exact content and requirements of res gestae are still subjected to interpretation on a case to case basis. The law makers have always been conscious that this doctrine should never be expanded to an unlimited extent. Each case in criminal law should be judged according to its own merits.