Question: How are facts showing the existence of a state of mind relevant when the existence of such a state of mind is an issue? [D.J.S. 1989] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [How are facts showing the existence of a state of mind relevant when the existence of such a state of… Read More »

Question: How are facts showing the existence of a state of mind relevant when the existence of such a state of mind is an issue? [D.J.S. 1989] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [How are facts showing the existence of a state of mind relevant when the existence of such a state of mind is an issue?] Answer Section 14 of the Indian Evidence Act states that: “Facts showing the existence of any state of mind, such as intention, knowledge, good faith,...

Question: How are facts showing the existence of a state of mind relevant when the existence of such a state of mind is an issue? [D.J.S. 1989]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [How are facts showing the existence of a state of mind relevant when the existence of such a state of mind is an issue?]

Answer

Section 14 of the Indian Evidence Act states that:

“Facts showing the existence of any state of mind, such as intention, knowledge, good faith, negligence, rashness, ill will or goodwill towards any particular person or showing the existence of any state of body or bodily feeling is relevant when the existence of any such state of mind or body or bodily feeling is in issue or relevant.”

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.

This section declares that facts that show the existence of any state of-

  1. mind, viz., intention, knowledge, good faith, negligence, rashness, ill-will, good-will or
  2. body or
  3. bodily feelings

are relevant when such state of mind or body or bodily feeling is in issue or relevant.

Intention, knowledge, and similar other states of mind are matters of cogent inquiry in criminal cases; in some civil cases, they are very material, e.g., in cases of malicious prosecution, fraud, negligence, etc. Where the question is as to knowledge, intent, motive, or any bodily or mental state, evidence of other acts done, showing the existence of such knowledge, intent, motive, or bodily or mental state, are admissible, even though it involves the proof of other crimes.

Whether a man has or has not the particular intention is a matter of fact to be inferred from the surrounding circumstances and from the acts of the person concerned, therefore Section 14 of the Act says to prove mental and physical conditions, evidence may be given of all contemporaneous manifestations of the given condition, whether by conduct, conversation as part of res gestae.

Section 14 of the Act makes all the facts relevant which go to show a state of mind or body or bodily feeling when the existence of any such state is in issue or relevant.

However, Explanation 1 attached to Section 14 makes it clear that the state of mind to be proved must not be of general tendency or disposition, so explanation narrows the application of Section 14 of the Act. So under section 14 of the Act, only those facts are relevant which show the state of mind or body or bodily feeling of a person with reference to the particular matter in question, all those facts which are of general tendency are not relevant.

Illustrations to section14-

  1. A is charged with the shooting of B with the intent to kill him. In Order to show A’s intent the fact of A’s having previously shot at B may be proved.
  2. The question is what was the state of A’s health at the time when the assurance of his life was affected, Statement made by A as to the state of his health at or near the time in question are relevant facts.

In Jagannath Prasad v. Crown, (1942) Nag 62 where a man is prosecuted for making speeches promoting hatred and enmity between different communities (section 153A, Indian Penal Code), previous speeches made by him are admissible in evidence against him to show his intention in making the speeches which are the subject-matter of the proceedings.

Similarly, in section 15, Indian Evidence Act provides that

“When there is a question whether an act was accidental or intentional or done with particular knowledge or intention, the fact that such act formed part of a series of similar occurrences in each of which the person doing the act was concerned, is relevant”.

Illustration- A is accused of fraudulently delivering to B a counterfeit rupee. The fact that soon before or soon after the delivery to B, A delivered counterfeit rupees to C, D, and E are relevant facts showing that delivery to B was not accidental.

Section 15 lays down the rule as to the admissibility of evidence in cases where the question is whether a particular act was accidental or was done with a particular intention. This section is an application of the general rule laid down in section 14. So, to prove which act is intentional which accidental, Section 15 provides a method i.e. similar Act. For this purpose it is necessary that all the acts should form part of series of similar occurrences, the reason is that one instance may be accidental but repetition of similar instances will be intentional and not accidental.

In M.L. Prit Chand v. Emperor AIR 1923 Lahore 382, it was observed that under Section 15, as under Section 14 the prosecution cannot use the evidence as to the commission of other acts of similar nature to prove the existence of Acts charged with. But when the existence of the acts in issue has been established by other evidence and the only question which remains to be decided is whether they were done accidentally or intentionally then and then only the evidence of other similar acts is admissible to prove the state of mind.


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 2021-09-19T08:26:08+05:30
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