Res Gestae under Section 6 of Indian Evidence Act
Res Gestae under Section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act

Chapter II of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 discusses provisions as to the relevancy of facts from section 5 to section 55. Section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act deals with the principle of res gestae. Res gestae is a Latin term which means things done. Section 6 lays down that the facts that are so connected with the facts in the issue that they form part of the same transaction are relevant facts. For instance, a quarrel broke out between A and B in the market. Whatever was said and done by A, B and the bystanders during, before and after such quarrel will be res gestae.

Res Gestae – Section 6 Evidence Act

Section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act discusses the relevancy of facts that form part of the same transaction. Section 6 is based on the English principle res gestae, which on translation means things said and done in the course of the transaction. Hence res gestae includes act as well as a statement.

Section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act is as follows:

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Facts 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 or at different times and places.

Transaction under Section 6 of the Evidence Act

The word transaction has not been defined under the Indian Evidence Act.

According to Sir James Stephen,

A transaction is a group of facts, connected together to be referred to by a single legal name, a crime, contract, wrong or any other subject of enquiry which may be in issue.

According to Phipson,

Transaction is the series of physical facts which also includes words spoken.

Facts forming part of the same transaction.

The transaction consists of physical acts as well as the words spoken during such physical act, whether spoken by the person doing the physical act or any other person.

Illustration: A is accused of murdering B by beating him. Whatever was said or done by A or B or the bystanders at the time of the beating, or shortly before or after it form part of the transaction, is a relevant fact.

When a transaction consists of several physical acts, to constitute the same transaction, the acts should be so connected by the proximity of time, place, continuity of action and community of purpose.

Illustration: A assaults B on the neck with a knife, which is seen by the bystanders who exclaimed, “A is killing B“. The exclamation is part of the transaction as he saw the blood gushing out.

Whose statement is relevant under res gestae?

Facts related to the

  1. accused,
  2. victim,
  3. bystanders

are relevant only if they form part of the same transaction.

Illustration: A is accused of the murder of B by beating him. Whatever was said or done by:

  1. A (accused) or
  2. B (victim) or
  3. the bystanders (third party)

at the time of beating, or so shortly before or after it as to form part of the transaction, is a relevant fact.

Do act or statement form part of the same transaction or not?

It is a very difficult task to determine whether a statement forms part of the same transaction or not. In comparison, it is comparatively easy to determine whether an act is part of the same transaction or not. The court must proceed judiciously and cautiously to determine whether a statement is a part of the same transaction or not.

In light of various judgements, it has been established that there must be nexus (connection) between words spoken and the transaction in issue. The statements should be spontaneous, and no opportunity for fabrication should be available.

In Regina vs Bedingfield (1879), a woman with her throat cut came suddenly out of a room and said to her aunt, “oh aunt see what Bedingfield has done to me”. It was held that this statement was not admissible as she said this statement after the act was over.

In Rattan vs the Queen (1971), it was held that there should be a close association in place and time between the statement and act. If there is no close association, then it cannot be part of the same transaction.

Res gestae is an exception of hearsay evidence.

The principle of res gestae is an exception to the rule that hearsay evidence is no evidence. In R vs Foster, the witness did not see the accident but only the speeding truck. The deceased stated to the witness what happened to him. The statement of deceased given to the witness was admissible as evidence in res gestae.

You may also like to read:
1. Difference and Similarity Between Res Sub Judice and Res Judicata in CPC
2. Opinion of the Third Person When Relevant – Evidence Act
3. What is Evidence and Ten Types of Evidence

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