Question: At the trial of A for the murder of her husband, B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that; A is in habit of poisoning people. A had in similar circumstances administered arsenic to two of her children. B had, three days before his death, written a letter to a friend complaining… Read More »

Question: At the trial of A for the murder of her husband, B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that; A is in habit of poisoning people. A had in similar circumstances administered arsenic to two of her children. B had, three days before his death, written a letter to a friend complaining of his failing health. Discuss fully whether the evidence offered is admissible in any of these cases. [HR.J.S. 1998] Find the answer to the mains question only on...

Question: At the trial of A for the murder of her husband, B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that;

  1. A is in habit of poisoning people.

  2. A had in similar circumstances administered arsenic to two of her children.

  3. B had, three days before his death, written a letter to a friend complaining of his failing health.

Discuss fully whether the evidence offered is admissible in any of these cases. [HR.J.S. 1998]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [At the trial of A for the murder of her husband, B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that;

  1. A is in habit of poisoning people.
  2. A had in similar circumstances administered arsenic to two of her children.
  3. B had, three days before his death, written a letter to a friend complaining of his failing health.

Discuss fully whether the evidence offered is admissible in any of these cases.]

Answer

The evidence relating to the state of mind of a person as dealt with under section 14, IEA must show that the state of mind exists not generally but in reference to the particular matter in question. Evidence of general disposition, habit or tendencies is inadmissible as held in Emperor v. Gangaram, (1920) 22 Bom LR 1274.

The applicability of section 14 must not be extended to those cases which are supposed to be decided upon actual facts and not any state of mind or bodily feeling. For instance, in order to prove that a man has committed an offence such as that of theft on one occasion, the fact that he committed similar offences on other occasions is not relevant

Therefore, in the present case at hand, where A is at trial for the murder of B, A’s general habit of poisoning people is irrelevant by virtue of Explanation 1 appended to section 14, Indian Evidence Act.

Explanation 1 to section 14- A fact relevant as showing the existence of a relevant state of mind must show that the state of mind exists, not generally, but in reference to the particular matter in question.

The explanation is based on the maxim of Res Inter Alios Асtаtе which implies that inferences are not to be drawn from one transaction to another which is not specifically connected with it, merely because the two resemble each other as a matter of fact. They must be linked together by the chain of cause and effect in some reasonable manner before an inference may be drawn.

Explanation 2 to section 14 states- But where, upon the trial of a person accused of an offence, the previous commission by the accused of an offence is relevant within the meaning of this section, the previous conviction of such person shall also be a relevant fact.

If there is any, section 14 is mostly called for interpretation in cases where it is tendered that the previous conviction of the accused is relevant in deciding upon the case at hand. Therefore, the fact that A had in similar circumstances administered arsenic to two of her children becomes relevant in this case of poisoning her husband because it shows her state of mind.

Further, the next evidence that three days before his death, B written a letter to a friend complaining of his failing health doesn’t show intention or state of mind or guilt of the accused i.e. her wife in any way. So, this evidence is not relevant to prove the guilt of A.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-09-19T07:52:02+05:30
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