Question: Write a short note on “The plea of issue estoppel is not the same as the plea of autrefois acquit.” Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short note on “The plea of issue estoppel is not the same as the plea of autrefois acquit.”] Answer Autrefois acquit is a French… Read More »

Question: Write a short note on “The plea of issue estoppel is not the same as the plea of autrefois acquit.” Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short note on “The plea of issue estoppel is not the same as the plea of autrefois acquit.”] Answer Autrefois acquit is a French term that means if a person has been acquitted then he will not be subjected to a second trial. For the application of the doctrine, it has to be ensured that the previous trial was...

Question: Write a short note on “The plea of issue estoppel is not the same as the plea of autrefois acquit.”

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short note on “The plea of issue estoppel is not the same as the plea of autrefois acquit.”]

Answer

Autrefois acquit is a French term that means if a person has been acquitted then he will not be subjected to a second trial. For the application of the doctrine, it has to be ensured that the previous trial was a lawful one. The plea is usually used as a defence that will stop the entire proceeding. Section 403, Cr.P.C. governs the entire principle of autrefois acquit and autrefois convict.

The present statement is borrowed from the case of Masud Khan v. State of Uttar Pradesh [974 AIR 28]. In the case, it was held that the plea of issue estoppel is not the same as the plea of double jeopardy or autrefois acquit.

The principle of issue estoppel simply stated is 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.

Issue estoppel arises only if the earlier, as well as the subsequent proceedings, were criminal prosecutions.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Manipur Administration v. Thokchom Bira Singh [1965 AIR 87] considered the rule as to issue estoppel with reference to Section 403 Cr.P.C. 1898 and held that Section 403 does not preclude its application as regards the rule as to issue estoppel.

The rule of issue estoppel in a criminal trial is 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 the terms of Section 403(2).

The rule of issue estoppels is not the same as the plea of double jeopardy or autrefois acquit. The rule does not introduce any variation in the Code of Criminal Procedure either in investigation, enquiry or trial. It also does not prevent the trial of any offence as does autrefois acquit but only precludes evidence being led to prove a fact in issue as regards which evidence has already been led and a specific finding recorded at an earlier criminal trial before a court of competent jurisdiction.

The rule thus relates only to the admissibility of evidence that is designed to upset a finding of fact recorded by a competent court at a previous trial. Further, Section 403 Cr.P.C. does not preclude the applicability of this rule of issue estoppel. The rule being one which is in accord with sound principle and supported by high authority and there being a decision of Supreme Court which has accepted it as a proper one to be adopted, there is no reason for discarding it

To conclude, 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. Thus, the rule of issue-estoppel is not the same as the plea of double jeopardy or autrefois acquit which the latter prevents the trial of any offence.


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 2021-10-26T08:33:36+05:30
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