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An Appraisal For Test Identification Parade

Test Identification Parade is discussed under Section 9 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which states about the admissibility of facts with the relevancy of facts, facts like establishing the identity of any person or thing whose identity is relevant. The act makes the identification of proper accused and properties admissible and relevant facts in a court of Law, but there is no specific provision to direct the suspected to be present for the identification parade by the Investigating Officer. Test identification parade is used as a means to examine the truthfulness of the witness and his ability to identify unknown person.

It is a process by which the identity of the person, things or animals concerned in the offence under investigation or trial is established, through a test parade. The test is used in actual meaning of an examination in which the witness is to find out the person, thing or animal in Test Identification.

The Test Identification Parade maybe done by a Police Officer or by a magistrate. But it will hold an evidentiary value under section 80 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The Test Identification Parade can be held for various offences such as dacoits, riots or any other heinous crimes. This kind of Identification is done with a state of mind where a person who is supposed to be as good as a younger man to easily recognise and identify the accused.

If Test Identification Parade is not conducted and the witness helps to identify the accused for the first time in court, the evidence regarding identification in court does not ipso facto become inadmissible and cannot be struck out on the basis that it was not preceded by Test Identification Parade; the court identification of accused without Test Identification Parade is admissible if the court finds it reliable.

Identification proceedings are facts which establish the identity of an accused person as the doer of a particular act, and would be relevant under Section 9; but only if evidence of such identification is given by the witness. Police officer should not be present at the time of identification parade, whether it is of the accused or of the properties. If it is conducted in the presence of police officer, it amounts to a statement within the meaning of Sec. 162 Cr.P.C, and becomes inadmissible in evidence.

It cannot be then used for the purpose of corroboration. An accused cannot demand TIP as a matter of right but if demanded, never turn down such demand. If the prosecution turns down the request of the accused for identification, it runs the risk of the veracity of the eye witnesses being challenged on that ground, as held in Lajjaram v. State.

Purpose Of Holding A Test Identification Parade

The purpose of the Test Identification Parade is to test the trustworthiness of the evidence of the witness. The sole function of Test Identification Parade is to determine whether or whether the witness who claims to have seen the offenders at the time the offence occurred or was committed is totally honest and capable of identifying the offenders among other people without the use of outside sources. Test Identification Parade is used to verify the reliability of witnesses who say they saw the crime being committed.

The Test Identification Parade approach is motivated by safety rather than procedure. Identification of an accused in a court of law is substantive evidence; but, identification evidence in Test Identification Parade, while primary, is not substantive evidence and can only be used to assist the witness's identification of the accused in a court of law.

The Supreme Court ruled in Deep Chand v. State of Rajasthan (1962) that, when it came to the admissibility of evidence, "if a Magistrate talks of evidence which establish the identity of anything, the said facts would be relevant within the meaning of Section 9 of the Evidence Act; but if the Magistrate seeks to prove statements of a person not recorded in compliance with the mandatory provisions of Section 164 CrPC, such part of the evidence, though it may be relevant, would not be admissible

In the case of Ramanathan v. State of Tamil Nadu in which it stated the importance of the evidence provided by the Test Identification Parade where the Supreme Court held that the "Identification parades have been in common use for a very long time for the object of placing suspect in a line up with other persons for identification. It enables the investigating officer to ascertain whether the witnesses had really seen the perpetrator of the crime and test their capacity to identify him and thereby to fill the gap in the investigation regarding the identity of the culprit."

During the investigation of a crime the police has to hold identification parades for the purpose of enabling witnesses to identify the properties which are the subject-matter of the offence or to identify the persons who are concerned therein.
  1. To satisfy the investigating authorities that a certain person not previously known to the witnesses was involved in the commission of the crime or a particular property was the subject of the crime.
  2. It is also designed to furnish evidence to corroborate the testimony which the witness concerned tenders before the Court.
  3. It is also for the benefit of accused to rule out the possibility of false implication.

Provisons For The Test Identification Parade Under The Various Indian Legislations:
  • Section 9 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872:
    It allows the identification of the accused as well as the proofs admissible in the courtroom though there is the absence of compulsory process of sending the suspected for identification parade, in order to facilitate such process.
  • Section 54A of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973:
    The procedure to submit the accused for an identification parade test was provided under Section 54A.According to section 54A, the court can direct the person arrested to present for identification parade on the request of the investigating police officer.
  • Section 291A of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973:
    After the amendment of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Section 291A was added. Under section 291A, it states that any document claimed to an identification report which is authorised by the Executive Magistrate can be as an evidence in a trial or inquiry according to this section.But the Magistrate cannot be called as a witness.
  • Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, 1949:
    This Article 20(3) states that no person should be compelled to be a witness against himself is not violated with test identification parade, it doesn't mean appearing for test identification parade is giving testimony.

Evidentiary Value Of Test Identification Parade

The Test Identification Parade conducted during the investigation period cannot be considered as important substantial evidence but the evidence given in court can be considered as substantive evidence.

As in the case of Ram Nath Mahto v. State of Bihar, It was held by the Supreme Court that the conviction of the accused has been rightly upheld by the High Court, if the witnesses identified the accused in the Test Identification Parade but in evidence did not identify him and the remarks of the trial judge regarding the behaviour of the witness is that the witness was frightened to accord recognition to the accused at the trial, then such non-identification of the accused at the trial is not fatal or serious.

The conviction cannot be made solely on the basis of the Test Identification Parade as it is the witnesses' identification in the court which is required in order to convict the accused or the offender. If the person identifying in the Test Identification Parade has identified in the court as well, it will not the change the evidentiary value of the Test Identification Parade.

In the Case of Raju Manjhi v. State of Bihar (2019), It was held by the Supreme Court that, "the Test Identification Parade is not substantsive evidence. And its sole purpose is only to help the investigating agency to ascertain as whether the investigation in the case is heading in the right direction or not. There is no provision in Criminal Procedure Code which obliges the investigating agency to hold or confer a right on the accused to claim a test identification parade.

Absence to hold it would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in court." The Parades are essentially governed under section 162 of the CrPC and the failure to hold a Test Identification Parade would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in court as the weight to be attached to such identification should be a matter for the courts of fact.

Section 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that, statements given to the police during an inquiry cannot be used to corroborate other claims. It is based on the assumption that the police cannot be relied upon to accurately record the statements and that the statements cannot be used by the prosecution to corroborate its witnesses since they may be made with ulterior motives. The use of the remarks made to police officers is not completely prohibited.

Essentiality Of Holding A Test Identification Parade

A Test Identification Parade is generally required when the dispute arises as to that of the identity of the accused, which is required in situations where the victim never saw the accused in life before the incident took place.

Not Necessary:
A Test Identification Parade is not required when both witness and accused know each other. The main necessity for the test identification parade is to support and inspect the trustworthiness of that evidence. If the witness has already identified the accused in the court of law the Test Identification Parade is not necessary.

In the case of Malkhan Singh V. State of Madhya Pradesh, the court stated that the failure of holding a Test Identification Parade would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification of the accused in the court of law if such court identification of accused is found to be reliable, trustworthy and dependable.

Rule of Authenticity: When a witness testifies in court to identify an accused person who is a stranger to them, it is generally regarded to be a safe rule of authenticity to seek for prior identification procedures to support the witness' statement.

Although there is an exception of Rule of authenticity, where the court has acknowledged any other evidence deem fit, and can rely on that completely then no party has a right to question or initiate the test identification parade. Test identification parade is not to be considered as substantial evidence as laid down under section 162 of the act and non-performance in doing so wouldn't affect the admissibility of evidence in court. In certain cases it can be admissible even without corroboration.

Test Identification Parade As A Substantive Evidence

The identification done in the court of the accused who had committed an offence can be observed as a substantive evidence. However, the process itself of the identification which is the Test Identification Parade cannot be called as a substantive evidence but a primary evidence.

Whereas it can be used as a corroborative piece of evidence where it can corroborate the identification of the accused by the witness in court. The testimony of a witness in court of law is substantive testimony and identification of an accused in Test Identification Parade is only confirmatory of the testimony made before the court.

In the case of Dana Yadav v. State of Bihar, It was held that "the evidence of Test Identification Parade is not substantive evidence whereas evidence given in the court, is. However, when a witness correctly identifies the accused at the parade but not in the court, the evidence of the Magistrate, who conducted the test parade that the witness correctly identified the accused at the parade, supported by the remarks of the trial Judge regarding the demeanour of the witness that he was frightened and was unable to recognise the accused at the trial, was sufficient to convict the accused."

Delay In Holding A Test Identification Parade

The procedure of holding a Test Identification Parade must be conducted as soon as the accused is in the custody so that the witness does not forgot any minute details in witnessing the accused. The delay might also cause a doubt on the genuineness and trustworthiness of the identification parade not to mention about the difficulties of the witness to remember certain things in identifying after lapse of such a long time.

In the case of Lal Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2003, it was held that there should not be any delay in conducting the Test Identification Parade as to avoid the miscarriage in the justice. Similarly in the case of Muthuswami v. State of Madras, 1954, it was said that the Test Identification Parade held after months of occurrence, the court cannot safely rely on the witness' identification of the accused.

In a case Rajesh Govind Jagesha vs. State of Maharashtra, where identification parade was held after an inordinate delay of about five weeks from the arrest of the accused, the explanation for the delay was not trustworthy. Plea as to the non-availability of a Magistrate in a city like Bombay though the investigating agency was not obliged to get the parade conducted from a specified Magistrate, was not accepted. It was held that the accused was entitled to benefit of doubt.

Appraisal Of Evidence On Test Identification Parade

The credibility of the identification done by the identifier a regard to the test identification parade, the credibility varies from circumstance to circumstance and case to case. When the eye witness cannot give the name of the offender however can identify the offender, it is necessary to hold a Test Identification Parade. It was held in the case of Lakhwinder Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2017.

The scope of the Test Identification Parade was held and had laid down the law of land that the identification parades are not meant for the courts primarily and are meant for the investigation purposes. There are two essential objectives in order to conduct the Test Identification Parade where it is primarily satisfy the witness themselves that they are so sure about identifying the accused whom they have seen while the commission of the crime.

And secondly it is to satisfy the investigation officers that the accused is the actual person witnessed by the eyewitness' while committing the offence. Evidence of a witness against an accused is the direct statement made in court that he was the offender or one of the offenders. The prior identification is simply corroboration of the evidence given by him in court.

The identification has by itself no independent value. The witness should have no opportunity to see the accused after the occurrence and before Test Identification Parade. If a witness fails to identify the accused in the Court, his identification at the proceedings cannot be of any value.

Thus, merely because the test identification parade was not arranged by the Investigating Agency, would not discredit the clear, cogent and trustworthy evidence.

Procedure Of Holding The Test Identifcation Parade

Firstly a crime is reported to the police and certain descriptions of the suspect might be collected. During the investigation period the police might arrest a particular person as the culprit of the offence. Later the procedure of the Test Identification Parade is processed in order to identify the actual accused with the help of a witness.

Before conducting the parade, the investigation officer is supposed to record the descriptions in detail of the accused given by the witness and the following details shall be recorded by the investigation officer,
  1. The availability of light at the time of the offence to the extent as such of daylight, moonlight, flashing of torches, burning kerosene, electric or gas lights, etc.;
  2. Details of opportunities of seeing the accused at the time of the offence; anything outstanding in the features or conduct of the accused which impressed him (identifier);
  3. Distance from which he saw the accused; and
  4. The extent of time during which he saw the accused.

Later to which the Test Identification Parade must be conducted by the Magistrate. These are the some of the most important procedures and precautions to be followed as to be used by the court as a corroboration.
  1. Test identification parade will be conducted by the Judicial Magistrate at the jail as far as possible. The Judicial Magistrate must prepare an identification memo where it should contain the details as regards the time, place and date of the parade, details of the witnesses (two independent individuals), names of the persons standing in the parade and statements made by the identifying witnesses. Identification memo must be written in the language of the court.
  2. The Test Identifications Parades are conducted in special rooms in all prisons with one side view glass where on one side of it the suspects are lined up and on the other side the witness and Magistrate.
  3. The suspects should not be made to stand together. The suspect must be placed among persons of similar height, weight, age, physical structure and complexion to an possible extent.
  4. The Magistrate or other person should satisfy that there are no other persons or police officer at the time of TIP.
  5. The witnesses are kept out of view from the premises where the parade is taking place and that it is not possible to communicate with them by signals or other communications.
  6. The statement made by the witness can be recorded.
  7. The witness and Magistrate must not be on the side where they are not visible to the suspects. The main reason behind this is the protection of the witness and also to avoid any kind of influence or threat which could compel the witness to make false identification.
  8. Also, the attire of the suspects must be changed every time a witness is called to identify the accused among them.
  9. After the identification of one witness is over, care should be taken to see that the witness does not mingle or communicate with other witness for whom identification parade is yet to be conducted.
  10. If the identification by one witness is over, the whole parade will be reshuffled and the accused can take different positions.
  11. The objections by the accused person(s) must be recorded.
  12. The Magistrate must prepare, certify and carry multiple copies of Test Identification Parade reports under his direct supervision.

Identification Methods

Identity of accused is important in criminal trial. If the accused disputes his identity, the burden heavily lies on the prosecution to prove his presence at the scene of offence. The Test Identification parade is necessary to help the investigation officer to concentrate his focus and ambit of suspicion to a few only, which eliminates waste of time and energy, and to specify the investigating officer regarding the identity of suspects/accused.

Identification parades are held in criminal cases to identify hand writing, photographs; finger and foot prints. Finger impressions found on the scene can be developed and tested to find out whether they tally with those of the suspected persons or not. Foot impressions left on the scene can also be lifted and compared later with foot impressions of the suspects.

Giving thumb impression, or, foot impression, or, palm/finger impression, or, specimen of handwriting, or, exposing parts of body for the purpose of identification, is outside the periphery of "to be a witness" so far as the mandate of Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India, 1950 is concerned.

Identification of the culprit can be made through by Gait, which is by the walk of the accused or the walking style; Voice; Sniffer Dog, the services of a sniffer dog may be taken for the purpose of investigation, it faculties cannot be taken as evidence for the purpose of establishing the guilt of an accused; Tyre marks- identity; Identity of things.

The Test Identification Parade is much necessary to make sure that the investigation is done in the right way possible. The admissibility and credibility of such identification evidence given by a witness need to be weighed, especially in cases where the case of prosecution solely depends on such identification evidence.

The drawback here in the test identification can be seen as if the identification of the accused is misidentified by the witness the whole case is side tracked and the case is said to be prolonged. Finally it can be concluded that the purpose of Test Identification Parade is to ensure that the investigation is going on right track. It is merely a corroborative evidence.

As per all the case laws we can conclude that the actual Identification is to be down in a court and that was a substantial evidence. The Test Identification parade has been active in India for almost more than a 100 years for now and it surely ensures the investigation faster and solving the pending cases as soon as possible.

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