Question: What facts are considered relevant under "Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act"?

Note: this post is a part of our important question answer series on Evidence Law. You can read other questions by clicking here.



Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 deals with the relevancy of motive, preparation, and conduct of a person, which may include their previous or subsequent conduct.


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1.      Motive

Motive refers to the emotion or state of mind that drives a person to perform a particular act. While motive, in itself, is not a crime, it is of great importance in the context of a committed crime. Evidence of the existence of a motive for the crime charged is admissible.

It's important to note that motive differs from intention, as intention refers to immediate consequences, whereas motive refers to the ultimate purpose behind an act. An act may be done with bad intention but a good motive.

Illustration: Let's consider a scenario where A, the sole heir, kills his father. The fact that A was in desperate need of money and had an eye on his father's property becomes relevant as evidence of motive.


2.      Preparation

Preparation involves the actions taken by a person before committing a specific act, encompassing plans, steps, or arrangements made to carry out the act. Evidence of preparation for a crime is relevant under the Indian Evidence Act. When determining whether a person committed a particular act, evidence of preparations made related to that act becomes relevant.

Illustration: Suppose A is on trial for poisoning B. The fact that A procured poison similar to what was administered to B before B's death is relevant evidence of preparation.


3.      Conduct

The significance of conduct is emphasized in the second paragraph of Section 8. Conduct here refers to the external behavior of a person, as opposed to character, which relates to the impression about a person in the minds of others. Conduct, to be relevant under Section 8, need not be simultaneous or spontaneous with the incident in question. It can be either previous or subsequent to the main fact in issue.


I.                     Previous conduct: Complaints made by the deceased two months before their death become admissible as evidence.

II.                    Subsequent conduct: Let's consider a scenario where the question is whether A robbed B. The fact that, after B was robbed, C said in A's presence, "the police are coming to look for the man who robbed B," and immediately afterward A ran away becomes relevant evidence of subsequent conduct.

For conduct to be admissible, it must satisfy the following conditions:

I.                     It must be in reference to the suit or proceeding or in reference to any fact in issue therein or relevant thereto.

II.                   It must directly influence or be influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact.


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