Section 7 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Illustrations:

(a) The question is, whether A robbed B.

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The facts that, shortly before the robbery, Â went to a fair with money in his possession, and that he showed it, or mentioned the fact that he had it, to third persons are relevant.

(b) The question is, whether A murdered B.

Marks on the ground, produced by a struggle at or near the place where the murder was committed, are relevant facts.

(c) The question is, whether A poisoned B.

The state of B’s health before the symptoms ascribed to poison, and habits of B, known to A, which afforded an opportunity for the administration of poison, are relevant facts.

Comments:

Scope:

The scope of Section 7 is wider than Section 6. Section 6 deals with relevant facts forming part of the same transaction, whereas Section 7 provides for the relevancy of several classes of facts. Sometimes, it is difficult to prove whether fact forms part of the same transaction, but there are several collateral facts which are not part of the same transaction, are required to be judicially considered for ends of justice provided they constitute the occasion, cause or effect or provide opportunity for the happening of the facts in issue. “Evidence relating to collateral facts is admissible when such facts will, if established, establish reasonable presumption as to the matter in dispute and when such evidence is reasonably conclusive.” The relevancy is determined by human experience.

For example, whenever a quantity of blood is found in particular place, a man may reasonably think and infer that some living being has been cut or it has been seriously injured at that place. So, the fact as to presence of blood is the effect of some living being having been cut or injured at that place. Another example is that whether a person has committed a particular crime, the fact is that he had also committed similar crime in the past. It can be said that the commission of crime in the past is not relevant under section 6 but is relevant under section 7. The Section 7 therefore provides for admission of several classes of facts under enquiry when they are connected in particular ways. These modes of connection are:

1. As being the occasion or cause of a fact;

2. As being its effect;

3. As giving opportunity for its occurrence; and

4. As constituting the state of things under which it happened.

1. Cause and occasion of facts:

Evidence relates to set of circumstances which constitute cause and occasion for the happening of facts in issue is relevant. The cause and effect of particular fact in the past will have the same cause and effect in future. The question is whether ‘G’ was murdered by ‘A.’ Q a girl refused A’s (accused) offer of sex. ‘G’ was alone at her home at the time of murder being the occasion of murder and for refusal of sex by ‘G’ is the cause and occasion of the murder.

2. Effect:

An effect is the ultimate result of an act done, which not only keeps records of the happening of the act but also provides helps to know the nature of act. So, the facts which are the effects, immediate or otherwise of a fact in issue or relevant fact, are relevant under section 7. Illustration (b) states that the marks near the place where the murder took place are instances of murder. The marks or foot prints is relevant as an effect. Similarly, the effect of conversation may be proved with the help of Tape recorder.

3. Cause and effect:

A student was charged for trespassing girls’ hostel at night. The fact is that the coat of the student (accused) was recovered from the room of a girl who was his classmate. The recovery of coat is relevant and shows the cause and effect.

4. Opportunity:

Facts affording opportunity for occurrence of the fact in issue are the relevant. Illustration (c) refers to circumstances for administering poison is relevant. An opportunity may be either mere opportunity or exclusive opportunity. Mere opportunity for a person to do something which may give rise an inference that he did it is relevant. In exclusive opportunity it proves conclusively that the act was done by the person having exclusive opportunity to do it. The evidence of a woman who was alone in the house on particular day was held admissible to show that it afforded an opportunity to the accused to commit rape, is relevant under section 7 of the act.

5. State of things:

The state of things means the set of facts which has to be placed before the court as a background in order to make principal fact intelligible to them. It is relevant.

Example:

Accused husband was prosecuted for shooting down his wife as he was unhappy with his wife and was carrying an affair with another woman. Unhappiness of the husband and affairs with another woman were held to be relevant which constituted the state of thing in which the principal fact, ‘shooting down’ happened.