Question: Is the principle of estoppel applicable in criminal cases? Can the accused be stopped from setting up a different story? Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Is the principle of estoppel applicable in criminal cases? Can the accused be estopped from setting up a different story?] Answer This principle of estoppels is… Read More »

Question: Is the principle of estoppel applicable in criminal cases? Can the accused be stopped from setting up a different story? Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Is the principle of estoppel applicable in criminal cases? Can the accused be estopped from setting up a different story?] Answer This principle of estoppels is a special principle of the Law of Evidence which is also called res judicata. The principle is applicable in criminal cases but its...

Question: Is the principle of estoppel applicable in criminal cases? Can the accused be stopped from setting up a different story?

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Is the principle of estoppel applicable in criminal cases? Can the accused be estopped from setting up a different story?]

Answer

This principle of estoppels is a special principle of the Law of Evidence which is also called res judicata. The principle is applicable in criminal cases but its applicability is distinct in its own way.

The principle of issue estoppel is simply that where an issue of fact has been tried by a competent court on a former occasion and a finding has been reached in favour of an accused, such a finding would constitute an estoppel or res judicata against the prosecution not as a bar to the trial and conviction of the accused of a different or distinct offence but as precluding the reception of evidence to disturb that finding of fact when the accused is tried subsequently, even for a different offence which might be permitted by law

The principle of an issue- estoppel does not stop a subsequent trial but this principle states that if a finding has already been established then the new findings will not be admissible which are aimed towards overturning findings found in the previous trial. The doctrines are always in respect to the second trial but the principle of the issue- estoppel can also be applied to different stages of the same trial.

However, where the object of the evidence abducted at the second trial is merely to corroborate the charge in respect of the offence forming the subject-matter of that trial and not to dispute the previous finding in the accused’s favour, the fact that the same evidence was established at the previous trial for a different offence cannot bar the admissibility of this evidence.

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Manipur Administration v. Thokchom Bira Singh [1965 AIR 87] held that the decisions of the High Courts are merely persuasive authority.

The court observed that the rule of issue estoppel in a criminal case is that where an issue of fact has been tried by a competent court on an earlier occasion and finding has been reached in favour of the accused that will constitute issue estoppel or res judicata against the prosecution not as a bar to the trial and conviction of the accused of a different or distinct offence but only precludes reception of evidence to disturb the finding of facts when the accused is tried even for a different offence. It does not prevent the trial as autrefois acquit.

Thus, since the rule of issue estoppel relates to the admissibility of evidence, which is designed to upset a finding of fact recorded by a competent Court at a previous trial and precludes the evidence being led to prove a fact in issue about which a finding has already been arrived at, at an earlier trial before a competent Court, the accused can be estopped from setting up a different story in a subsequent trial.


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 2021-10-26T08:20:47+05:30
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