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SECTION 8 OF INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT

EVIDENCE LAW

CHANAKYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, PATNA

SUBMITTED TO:-

Dr. P. K. V. SITA RAMA RAO

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW

SUBMITTED BY:

ASHISH KUMAR PANDEY

ROLL NO –1520

B.A L.L.B, 4th SEMESTER

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DECLARATION

I hereby declare that the work reported in the B.A.LL.B (Hons.) Project Report entitled
“Section 8 of Indian Evidence Act” submitted at Chanakya National Law University,
Patna is an authentic record of my work carried under the supervision of Dr. P. K. V. Sita
Rama Rao. I have not submitted this work elsewhere for any other degree or diploma and am
fully responsible and aware of the contents of my project report.

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Contents
DECLARATION .................................................................................................................................... 2
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ...................................................................................................................... 4
1. Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 5
2. Motive ............................................................................................................................................. 7
3. Preparation .................................................................................................................................... 10
4. Conduct ......................................................................................................................................... 12
5. Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 16
6. Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 17

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Though this project has been mostly prepared and presented by me, there are many people
who remain in veil and provided support which augmented the expeditious completion of this
project.

First of all I am very grateful to my subject teacher without whose kind support and help,
completion of this project would have become a herculean task for me. He, Dr. P. K. V. Sita
Rama Rao, made time out of his busy schedule to help me to complete this project more so he
provide me with his valuable suggestions about how to and from where to collect relevant
and authentic information.

I am very thankful to the librarian who provided me with several books on this topic which
proved beneficial in completing this project.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of my friends who provided their
valuable and meticulous advices which were definitely useful for writing the project. I also
want to convey my sincerest gratitude to my parents for helping me.

-ASHISH KUMAR PANDEY

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1. Introduction

Section 8 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 deals with Motive, Preparation and Previous or
Subsequent Conduct which finds specific reference in Indian Evidence Act of 1872
(hereinafter referred to as the Act). From the phrase Motive, Preparation and Previous or
Subsequent Conduct, it becomes apparent that this phrase is made up of certain segments like
Motive, Preparation, Previous and Subsequent conduct. It is thus necessary to ensure that
each of these parts have been separately dealt upon and efforts have been made to establish
their interrelation along with their significance as being relevant evidence under the act. In
the current article necessary attention has been paid up to ascertain the above proportion.

Section 8 of the Act1: Motive, Preparation and Previous or Subsequent Conduct Any fact is
relevant which shows or constitutes a motive or preparation for any fact in issue or relevant
fact.

The conduct of any party, or of any agent to any party, to any suit or proceeding, in reference
to such suit or proceeding, in reference to any fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, and the
conduct of any person an offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding, is relevant,
if such conduct influences or is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact, and whether it
was previous or subsequent thereto.

Explanation 1: The word conduct in this section does not include statements, unless those
statements accompany and explain acts other than statements; but this explanation is not to
affect the relevancy of statements under any other section of this Act.

Explanation 2: When the conduct of any person is relevant, any statement made to him or in
his presence and hearing, which affects such conduct is relevant.

The main principle:

This section talks about the significance of motive, preparation, previous or subsequent
conduct as relevant evidence in various cases. As we know that before deliberate commission
of a crime the offender must have some motive behind that. To achieve the motive the
offender must have taken some preparations. The conduct of the accused before or after the
crime is also very relevant as circumstantial evidence. From the circumstantial evidences

1
Justice Khastgir, ‘Criminal Manual’, Kamal Law House, Kolkata, 2005, p. 513

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available before it, the Court can draw inferences and arrive at its conclusion. Therefore this
section is very important in those cases where evidence is not clear and direct.

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2. Motive
Meaning:

Motive, generally means that which moves or induces a person to act in a certain way; a
desire, fear, reason etc. which influences a person’s volition; motive is productive of physical
or mechanical motion.2 The words like motive, Object, purpose are in application to practical
matters difficult strictly to define or distinguish. Sometimes mere animus such as spite or ill-
will, malevolence or a wanton desire to harm without any view to personal benefit is meant.
But motive is often used as meaning, purpose, something objective and external as contrasted
with a mere mental state.3 The Supreme Court of India has said motive is something which
prompts a man to form an intention and knowledge, is an awareness of consequences of the
act. 4 Motive is a moving power which impels action for a definite result or to put in
differently, motive is that which incites or stimulates a person to do an act.5 In law, especially
criminal law, a motive is the cause that moves people and induce a certain action. Motive in
itself is seldom an element of any given crime; however, the legal system typically allows
motive to be proven in order to make plausible the accused's reasons for committing a crime,
at least when those motives may be obscure or hard to identify with.

Relevance of Motive under the Act: As in the above discussion we have already seen that
motive is the main moving force which leads a person to do some act. In other words motive
can be said to be a reward that the offender wants to satisfy. There can hardly be any action
without motive. If the offence has been committed voluntarily then presence of motive can
not be declined. Since motive sometimes play a very important role in criminal cases, its
relevancy is drawn by the courts and supplied as evidence. In a case where there is a clear
proof of motive for the commission of crime, it supports the findings of the Court proving the
accused guilty of the charges leveled against him or her. Evidence of motive becomes very
important when a case is based on circumstantial evidence only. In such cases if the accused

2
‘The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary’, Vol. II, Third Edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
3
Crofter Hand Jweed Co. Ltd. Vs Veith, 1942 AC 435 (469) as cited in ‘Mitra’s Legal & Commercial
Dictionary’, Fifth Edition, Eastern Law House.
4
Basudev Vs State of Pepsu, AIR 1956 SC 488 as cited in ‘Supreme Court on Wards and Phrases 1950-2004’,
Ashoka Law House, Edition 2004, New Delhi.
5
Chandra Prakash Shahi Vs State of UP & others, (2000) 5 SCC 152 as cited in ‘Supreme Court on Wards and
Phrases 1950-2004’, Ashoka Law House, Edition 2004, New Delhi.

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can show absence of motive then it becomes positive evidence in his favour.6 In the version
of Supreme Court if the eye witnesses are trustworthy, the motive attributed for the
commission of crime may not be of much relevance. 7 The same was the position in the
another case where it was found that if the participation of the accused in the crime has been
well proved by the eye witness then value of motive tarnishes and can not justify the accused
to have acquittal.8

Motive and Intention: While talking about motive, it comes inevitably that one should try to
distinguish between intention and motive. They though look somewhat similar but there is
line of difference existing. From purely criminal point of view motive assumes lesser
importance. But from evidence point of view motive can be given more importance. By
intention we mean a pre-calculation in the mind of the accused and the knowledge as to what
is going to be the likely result. Sometimes motive behind committal of a crime may be good
but intention is always bad; guilt oriented.9

Case Laws:

1. Kundula Bala Vs State of A.P: In this case the son-n-law before his marriage to the
demanded a piece of land from the deceased. The connivance of the mother-n-law was also
there before this demand. The marriage took place but the deceased refused to transfer the
property in the name of the accused and wanted to give it to the daughter. That infuriated the
accused and crime was committed. It was held that there was a strong motive for the accused
to commit the crime.10

2. Gurmej Singh Vs State of Punjab: The deceased had successfully contested election against
the accused. Few months before the incident, they had a quarrel with one another. The reason
behind that the accused diverted dirty water towards the house of the deceased and the

6
Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, ‘The Law of Evidence’, 21st Edition, 2006, Wadhwa & Company, Nagpur.
7
State of UP Vs Nawab Singh (dead) and others, JT (2004) 2 SC 79, as cited in ‘Supreme Court on Wards and
Phrases 1950-2004’, Ashoka Law House, Edition 2004, New Delhi.
8
AIR 1998 SC 1328.
9
Dr. V. Krishnamachari, Law of Evidence, Fifth Edition, Reprinted 2004, S.Gogia & Company, Hyderabad.
10
1993 Cr LJ 1635 SC

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deceased frustrated his efforts. It was also on evidence that proceedings under Cr.P.C were
pending between them and the dirty water issue added a new level to it. The Court concluded
that incident over the passage of dirty water could be the motive for the murder and the same
is not very weak as not to encourage the accused to kill the rival.11

3. Rajendra Kumar Vs State of Punjab: In this case the Court held that where the prosecution
fails completely to prove motive and evidence regarding commission of the offence is not
definite then accused can not be convicted.12

4. State of M.P. Vs Dhirendra Kumar: In this case a person called Munnibai was killed. From
the evidence it appeared that the respondent had an evil eye on her. Respondent was also the
tenant in the house of father in law of the deceased. The deceased reported the matter to her
mother-n-law who in turn told the same to her husband. In the consequence the respondent
was asked to vacate the tenancy. The Court recognized that this thing may be taken as
evidence.13

Critical Analysis:

As per the principle laid down under section 8 the Act motive is no-doubt an important aspect
of evidence but it is very difficult to prove it as mental state of affairs of the accused can not
be seen from outside. Motive is useful evidence only when it is apparent that the crime took
place for a particular motive. The question of motive is vital when a case is based on no
direct evidence and the Court is to infer it from the given circumstances. In these kinds of
cases inadequacy of motive can be pleaded as defense if motive is made doubtful then it goes
in favour of the accused. But the prosecution is not bound to prove that motive was there
when cogent evidence has been supplied. In such cases absence of inadequacy of motive
becomes of very small importance.14

11
AIR 1992 SC 214.
12
AIR 1966 SC 1322.
13
AIR 1997 SC 318.
14
Batuklal, ‘The Law of Evidence’, Sixteenth Edition, Reprinted 2007, Central Law Agency, Allahabad.

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3. Preparation

Meaning: The cognitive process of thinking about what you will do in the event of
something happening. In one word it would mean homework.15 In other words it would mean
things done to ready something. 16 The Supreme Court of India interpreted the word
preparation as the word preparation denotes not only to action or process of preparing the
components to produce the compound, but also that which is prepared.17 Preparation consists
in arranging or devising the means necessary for the commission of a crime. Every crime is
necessarily preceded by preparation. 18 To commit a crime, an offender requires various
means. Preparation can be said to the process through which such means are arranged to drive
them in order to achieve the ultimate aim that is the motive behind such act.

Relevance of Preparation under the Act: preparation for the commission of any crime
would indeed be very relevant as evidence under this Act. When a question as to whether a
person has done a particular act or not, the fact that he made certain preparations which is
related to his act, would certainly be relevant for a purpose of showing that he did it. The
illustrations (c) and (d) as given in the explanation attached to section 8 would be very
relevant to be referred. Illustration (c) reads A is tried for the murder of B by poison. The fact
that, before the death of B, A procured poison similar to that which was administered to B, is
relevant. The given illustration is self explanatory and clearly reveals the importance of
preparation as relevant evidence. 19 The preparation on the part of the accused may be
reflected in various stages namely to accomplish the crime, to prevent the discovery of crime
or it may be to aid escape of the criminal and avoid suspicion.20

Case Laws:

15
Word Web Thesaurus/Dictionary, x-word.com.
16
Supra note 2.
17
Union of India & others Vs Formulators Association of India, 2002 8 SCC 410 as cited in ‘Supreme Court on
Wards and Phrases 1950-2004’, Ashoka Law House, Edition 2004, New Delhi.
18
Dr. V. Krishnamachari, Law of Evidence, Fifth Edition, Reprinted 2004, S.Gogia & Company, Hyderabad.
19
Vepa P. Sarathi, ‘Law of Evidence’, Sixth Edition, 2006, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow.
20
Supra note 10.

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1. Mohan Lal Vs Emperor: The accused was charged with cheating for importing goods in
Karachi port without paying the proper custom duty. Evidence was adduced of previous visit
of the accused to the port of Okha, where it was said he tried to make some arrangements
with the customs whereby he could import other goods without payment of proper duty. The
evidence was held to be admissible as they were the preparation being made out by the
accused in order to do the wrongful act.21

2. Appu Vs State: There was a burglary. The four accused conducted a meeting to make
arrangements of the crime. A bar of iron and pair of pincers were necessary and these were
brought by the accused. These facts were admitted as they showed preparation on the part of
the accused. The preparation manifested clearly that an intention to commit the offence of
burglary was framed and that intention prevailed in the minds of the accused until they were
grabbing any opportunity to put the preparation into the execution.22

Critical Analysis:

Evidence tending to show that the accused had prepared for the crime is always admissible.
But preparation does not depict the whole scenario of the crime but only the arrangements
made in respect. Further there is no mandate that preparation is always carried out but it is
more or less likely to be carried out. 23 Therefore it is very difficult to prove preparation
concretely though it is a physical fact. From the given facts Court is required to draw
inference that certain facts could be said to constitute preparation of the crime committed.

21
AIR 1937 Sind 293.
22
AIR 1971 Mad 194.
23
Supra note 10.

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4. Conduct

Conduct is the expression in outward behaviour of the quality or condition operating to


produce those effect. It is conscious attitude adjusted for doing an Act or series of Acts. The
second paragraph of the Section 8 makes the conduct of a person relevant when such person
is a party to a suit or proceeding or such conduct is referred to the facts in issue. A man’s
conduct includes what he does and what he omits to do. The conduct of the accused on being
questioned immediately after taking bribe is relevant.

The evidence of conduct of the party is to relevant: (i) in reference to the fact in issue or
relevant facts; (ii) that the conduct is such as influences or is influenced by the facts in issue
or the relevant facts.

(i) When evidence of conduct itself is fact in issue the Supreme Court held that his conduct
would be relevant to support or rebut his case. In this case the wife was pregnant at the time
of her marriage and the husband alleged that she had concealed it from him. The conduct of a
man is admissible only against him. The conduct of one accused is not relevant against a co
accused. When the conduct of a person is in question, the statements, oral or written, made to
him or in his presence or hearing which affect such conduct are relevant.

(ii) Secondly, conduct influences or is influenced by the fact in issue. In Queen Empress v
Abdullha the question was whether the signs made by the deceased could be admitted as the
conduct and a dying declaration. It was decided that the signs made by the deceased can be
taken into consideration along with the questions put to her. The signs alone cannot be
admitted by way of conduct under sections 8 and 9 of the Act. Thus conduct of the injured
person is not always relevant. According to Wig more a man’s conduct is always influenced
by what he has been doing before or after the act. The accused is charged with strangulating
the victim; his conduct is producing a watch of the victim before the police from his house is
admissible.

Previous and subsequent conduct


Previous conduct:
A conduct to be relevant need not be only previous or subsequent. Both are relevant. Under
section 8 previous declaration of intention, threat or attempts to commit an offence are

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instances of previous or antecedent Conduct and are relevant. In antecedent conduct there is
declaration of intention or threat. Such type of conduct may influence or is likely to influence
the fact in issue or any relevant fact.

A woman and her paramour were accused of murdering her husband. She had been heard to
say of her husband. “I live a most unhappy life with him. I wish his death. If he cannot die I
will kill myself.” It is relevant.

Subsequent conduct:
Subsequent conduct of a party or person or his agent is relevant under the section. Sudden
change of life, silence on part of the accused, false statement, suppression of evidence,
running away after occurrence are instances of subsequent conduct. Presence of accused at a
place where ransom demanded was to be fulfilled and then action of fleeing on spotting the
police party is a relevant circumstances and is admissible under this section.

Subsequent conduct in civil cases:


The following are instances of subsequent conduct in civil cases: (i) Failure to produce
evidence, (ii) Party’s failing to appear, (iii) destruction or non-production of document (iv)
conduct regarding document (v) sale or mortgage (vi) family settlement, (vii) partition and
(viii) adoption.

Current conduct:
Besides previous and subsequent conduct, the current or contemporaneous conduct is also
relevant under section 8. The conduct of a party interested in a proceeding at the time when
the facts occurred, out of which the proceeding arises is relevant. In terrorist attack in
parliament the accused has purchased ingredients from a shop used IEDS and found in
possession of deceased terrorists. The name of the shop and address were already known to
the police as name and address of the shop was already mentioned on packets seized. It was
held that the conduct of accused in pointing shop and its properties was relevant under this
section.
Statement explaining conduct:
Mere statement is not admissible according to Explanation 1 to Section 8. It lays down that
the conduct does not include statements. But the explanation is an exception to this rule. “The
statement and the Act which are explained and accompanied by such a statement both are

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relevant as a composite whole.” Those statements which accompany and explain acts, other
than statements can be regarded as conduct.

For example, a girl was raped and she made a complaint about it to her mother. The
circumstances under which and the terms in which the complaint was made, is relevant. It is
not necessary that a complaint to be relevant should have been made only to police station.–
But false explanation of the accused is also conduct and relevant.
Similarly, the accused was charged with gross indecency with a boy of fifteen. Shortly after
the offence a complaint was made by the boy to his parents. The particulars of the complaint
were held to be relevant.

A distinction can be drawn between complaint and a statement. The evidence of complaint is
always allowed, but a statement is allowed in special circumstances, particularly when it is
part of res gestae.

First information report:


If the first information report is non-confessional statement, then the contents of it is relevant.
The fact of giving information by the accused is relevant against him as his conduct under
section 8 of the Act. Confessional Part of the F.I.R. of the accused is not admissible except to
the extent permissible under section 27 of the Evidence Act. But non-confessional part of the
F.I.R. can be used against the accused as evidence of conduct under section 8 of the Act.

Statements of third person affecting the conduct of a party to a proceeding. Explanation 2


states that the statement of third person made to the accused, whose conduct is relevant, in his
presence and before the court is admissible if it affects his conduct.The statement of the
investigating officer revealed that the accused had been taken to ‘G’ who pointed out the
accused. The statement of G’ to that extent was relevant.

Case Laws:

1. Mistri Vs King Emperor: A person was charged for the murder of a girl. During the
investigation the accused took the police to a place and pointed out and produced some
ornaments which the deceased was wearing at the time of the incident took place. In the trial
of the accused the facts that he took the police to locate the place where the ornaments were
kept hidden and that the accused given the ornaments to the police were allowed to be proved

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under section 8 of the Act as these facts showed the subsequent relevant conduct of the
accused.24

2. Bhamara Vs State of M.P: In this case a person X was cultivating his land. Another person
Y was passing by the land. He called X to chat with him. During the interaction some hot
words were exchanged and altercation ensued. X battered in the head to Y. Two bystanders
namely A & B rushed to that place. Seeing other people coming to that spot X tried to escape
but was caught by C. The conduct of escaping of the accused was held a very relevant
subsequent conduct.25

3. Emperor Vs Moti Ram: In this case one Moti Ram and Rai Singh were tried for the murder
of a lady called Sita. The witness soon after the incident found that the lady was lying in the
floor with her throat cut and she was bleeding greatly. When the witnessed asked her as to
who did this she tried to utter the word Moti. When after she was again asked as to by Moti
whether she meant Motiram or not, she nodded her head in a positive manner. She was later
transferred to hospital and when the magistrate asked, she explained the incident and pointed
the accusation towards Motiram. All these facts were held to be admissible as conduct of the
person an offence against whom an inquiry was going on under section 8 of the Act.26

Critical Analysis:

Though conduct forms importance evidence under the scope of section 8 but again we must
remember that other than direct conduct, if seen by witness, will not be of definite bearing
over the case. A conduct which is not directly linked to the facts in issue but some or the
other way connected to it is as good as circumstantial evidence which will be difficult for the
Court to prove. Therefore it is imperative that the Court scrutinize the conducts mainly
previous and subsequent very carefully and thoroughly. If two similar incidents have taken
place in similar period of time and a person is connected with one and not the other which has
come for decision before the Court, in these circumstances, Court should prepare itself to
avoid any kind of judicial errors that may take place.

24
AIR 1938 (6) ALJ 839
25
Bhamara Vs State of MP, AIR 1953 Bhopal 1.
26
Emperor Vs Moti Ram Singh, AIR 1936 Bom. 372.

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5. Conclusion

Indian Evidence Act is a noble piece of legislation which has completed its centenary and
still continuing to be the same. The legislation has made every effort to incorporate as many
aspects of evidence as it is necessary and in that way we find that it is a very comprehensive
piece of legislation. The relevance of motive, preparation, previous and subsequent conduct
has been explained in a very proper way and safeguards have been made inbuilt and that can
be found from the illustrations given after the section. From a bare reading it becomes
apparent that the section is divided in to certain parts and from our understanding we can
deduce that the parts are not separate but interlinked. Therefore the Court while deciding a
matter in which section 8 of the Act plays a pivotal role, must proceed with utmost care.
When a case is based on circumstantial evidence then it is very likely that evidences are not
direct or in other words circumstances available before the Court is unclear. In this case what
the Court should do is that it should scrutinize the evidences beyond reasonable doubt. If it is
not done then prejudice is likely to be created against the accused and the Court may arrive
on the wrong decision and this, in our opinion will not be a fair play. If there remains any
reasonable doubt in the evidences then the benefit of doubt must be given to the accused. We
should remember the principle that no innocent should be punished wrongfully.

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6. Bibliography

1. Justice Khastgir, ‘Criminal Manual’, Kamal Law House, Kolkata, 2005


2. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. II, Third Edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford
3. Mitra’s Legal & Commercial Dictionary, Fifth Edition, Eastern Law House.
4. Supreme Court on Wards and Phrases 1950-2004’, Ashoka Law House, Edition 2004, New
Delhi.
5. Motive (law), retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motive_%28law%29, visited on
8.07.07.
6. Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, ‘The Law of Evidence’, 21st Edition, 2006, Wadhwa & Company, Nagpur.
7. Batuklal, ‘The Law of Evidence’, Sixteenth Edition, Reprinted 2007, Central Law Agency,
Allahabad.
8. Word Web Thesaurus/Dictionary, x-word.com.
9. Dr. V. Krishnamachari, Law of Evidence, Fifth Edition, Reprinted 2004, S.Gogia & Company,
Hyderabad.
10. Vepa P. Sarathi, ‘Law of Evidence’, Sixth Edition, 2006, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow.

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