‘Res Gestae’ is a Latin term which can roughly be translated to ‘things done’, but actually was originally used by the Romans which means to ‘acts done or actus’. The concept of res gestae has emerged from the belief that certain acts or statements, which may otherwise be irrelevant and inadmissible, may be admitted as evidence due to the very situation in which they were committed or uttered. The doctrine of res gestae is generally used to admit a potentially inadmissible piece of evidence in order to provide context to an event. The most important principle of this doctrine is that all the facts must be described in the same transaction. Whereas transaction means a group of facts which are so connected to each other that they can be considered as a single fact. In Layman’s language, a transaction may be considered as a series of certain acts and when all the actions are carried in the same situations at the same point of time then such situation or condition be called as the act of the same transaction. Circumstantial or indirect facts are also considered under the doctrine of res gestae as they are also forming a part of the same transaction.
The doctrine of Res gestae is expressed under section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 in the following words- “Facts which though not in issue are so connected with the facts in issue so as to form a part of the same transaction, are relevant, whether they occurred at the same time and place or at different times and places”.
The Supreme Court held that the doctrine of Res gestae is an exception to the rule of hearsay evidence. It further observed that for a statement to be admissible under Section 6 of the Evidence Act, it must be made contemporaneously with the act or immediately thereafter.
The Supreme Court held that where there was a significant time lapse between the occurrence of the event and recording of statement of injured victims by the magistrate, it was held that the statements will not qualify as res gestate statements u/s 6 of the Evidence Act.
In this case, Hon’ble Supreme Court held that when the witnesses arrived at the place of occurrence immediately after the completion of the event and heard full account of what had happened. Their testimony was considered valid u/s 6 of the Evidence Act. It is essential to note here that only a statement of fact can form part of Res gestae and not a statement of opinion.
In this case the victim tried to alarm that the accused will shoot him in a few minutes. On hearing the alarm the witness almost reached the place of incident.
However, the victim survived and the accused was charged under section 307 of IPC. Despite the circumstances, in this case, being hearsay evidence, but still, the court recognised the act in the same part of the transaction and explained it to be a case of section 6 of the Indian Evidence Act. Therefore the statements of the witnesses were admissible as it formed a part of the same transaction.
A after learning that C had been murdered went to the spot and found that body of C was being taken to the house of C by four persons who hold him that B had murdered C and had run away. Does the statement of four persons forms part of Res Gestae.
Answer: In Sawal Das v. State of Bihar AIR 1974 SC 778 it was observed that all spontaneous statements in some way connected with the main transaction are not admissible, statement is not admissible u/s 6 only because it is uttered in course of transaction, while no doubt the spontaneity of statement is guarantee of the truth, the rationale for its admissibility under Section 6 is that it is part of same transaction and not merely because it is spontaneous.In the present case A had gone at the spot after the event was over and also, after coming to know that C has been murdered and when he reached at the spot, deceased was being taken to his house by four person, by one of them, he was informed that B had murdered C. Fact that murder of C had taken place and A came to know about that and then reached at spot and after reaching at the spot he was informed by four persons there that B has committed the crime, are not so connected with each other as to form same transaction and thus his evidence is not admissible u/s 6 of Evidence Act. In Mahendera v. State of M.P. 1975 Criminal Law Journal 110 it was held that statement of a person who had come afterwards to the effect that persons at the spot were saying that accused had killed the deceased would not be admissible as it would be only hearsay.