The most complicated area of criminal jurisprudence is the tool
of proving, what type of evidence is presented for proving in court of law.
Here is one of the principles of law of evidence is Res Gestae. The doctrine of
Res Gestae is based on the assumption that every relevant part of the chain of
event is consider before the final disposal by the judiciary as under criminal
justice system so that no evidence can be discarded on the ground of irrelevant
considerations even if some technicality is also differs from case to case.
reason behind is for the adoption of the doctrine of res gestate under the
criminal law as the necessity of proving some relevant facts. It is not possible
for the proving of whole incident without the helping of some missing facts. It
may be proved by some other piece of evidence examined and titled as doctrine of
Res Gestae. Res Gestae is a Latin phrase which means that forming part of the
same transaction. It means that relevant portion of the event which is connected
with directly or indirectly with the main transaction of the event.
of doctrine of Res Gestae is unclear and it is not definitive. It is so confused
term as we cannot say that what is exactly consider as the doctrine of Res
Gestae. It is not stated clearly because it is discretion left to the courts to
consider the relevant evidence based on the whole facts of the cases.
History of Res Gestae
The rule of Res Gestae first appeared in the year 1693 in Thompson v.
,where it was held that declarations accompanying an act are
receivable in explanation thereof. In the year 1736, in Ambrose v. Clendon
were again held to be admissible if concomitant with facts.Then the use of the
doctrine of Res Gestae was in a brief discussion over a point of evidence in
Home Tooke’s trialfor high treason.
Nevertheless, the development of this doctrine did not begin until after
Aveson v. Lord Kinnaird
,in 1805, when the phrase in question had begun
to be freely used in connection with it; and only since the middle of the 1800s
has it been possible to say that this Exception was firmly established. In the
infamous decision of Cockburn C.J. in R v. Bedingfield
of Res Gestae and exception to the hearsay rule was discussed. Lord Justice
Cockburn held that the statement was not admissible, since it was something
stated by her after it was all over. He said that it was not part of the
transaction, that it was said after the transaction was all over, the
transaction being the cutting of the throat. Although this decision has been
effectively overruled, it accurately illustrates the erstwhile principle used to
define the Res Gestae exception, which often resulted in unjust consequences.
Actually the decision of Bedingfield case
was too strict. However, this decision
was overruled in the case of Ratten v.R
where under common law, the
doctrine of Res Gestae was defined in liberal and wider terms. Another case Ratten
, Lord Wilber force said: “Evidence would have been admissible as
part of the Res Gestae because not only was there a close association in place
and time between the statement and the shooting, but also the way in which the
statement came to be made, in a call for the police and the tone of voice used
showed intrinsically that the statement was being forced from the wife by an
overwhelming pressure of contemporary events”.
Res Gestae means things done or liberally speaking, the facts of the
transaction, explanatory of an act or showing a motive for acting; a matters
incidental to a main fact and explanatory of it; including acts and words which
are so closely connected with a main fact as will constitute a part of it, and
without a knowledge of which the main fact might not be properly understood,
even speaking for themselves though the instinctive words and acts of
participants not the words and acts of participants when narrating the events,
the circumstances, facts and declaration which grow out of the main fact, and
contemporaneous with it and serve to illustrate its character or these
circumstance which are the atomic and undersigned incidents of a particular
litigated act and are admissible when illustrative of such act”
In Babulal v. W.I.T Ltd
 it was observed that the statement of law in section
6 of the evidence act is usually known as Res Gestae. Res Gestae has been
described as a term of protean significance and that there have been many
definitions of the term Res Gestae. The incapable of any precise definition and
it has been applied to so many different and unrelated situations that it has
been said that the difficulty of formulating a description of Res Gestae which
will serve all circumstances seems insurmountable.It would be little short
of miraculous if one single doctrine of Res Gestae would suffice for every
There must be a main or principal fact or transaction; and only such
declarations are admissible which grow out of the principal transaction and
serve to illustrate its character, and are contemporary with, and derive some
degree of credit from it. The main transaction is not necessarily confined to a
particular point of time, but may extend over a long or shorter period,
according to the nature and character of the transaction.
Res Gestae may be broadly defined as matter incidental to the main fact and
explanatory of it, including acts and words which are so closely connected
therewith as to constitute a part of the transaction and without a knowledge of
which the main fact, are contemporaneous with it and serve to illustrate its
The term Res Gestae has been used in two senses – in the
restricted sense it means words happening out of which the right or liability in
question arises. In restricted meaning Res Gestae imports the conception of
action by some person producing the effects for which the liability is sought to
be enforced in action. Res Gestae is an expression mainly of utility in the
criminal law concerning the contemporaneity of statements to incidents but in so
far as contemporaneous statements are relevant and accompany and explain matters
in issue, they will be admissible.
Res Gestae Under Indian Evidence Act:
Every such act, omission or statement as throws some light upon the
nature of the transaction or reveals its true quality or character should be
held as a part of the transaction and the evidence of it should be
receivedTo state a fact or event in isolation without reference to its
antecedents in time, place or surrounding circumstances may render the fact,
difficult or even impossible to comprehend. Other facts or circumstances may be
so closely connected with the fact in issue as to be, in reality part and parcel
of the same transaction. The term Res Gestae has not been used in the Evidence
Act. But section 6is analyzed under the head of Res Gestae In determining
the relevance of facts, Section 6 deals with facts connected with the fact in
issue so as to form ‘part of the same transaction’, regardless of whether the
occurred at the same time and place. The relevance of the fact flows from the
determination of whether it is part of the same transaction; this reflects, not
surprisingly, the early interpretation of the Res Gestae exception. It must also
be noted that the Act clarifies that the term ‘fact’ shall include statements.
The aspect of section 6 are:-
1.The act may not have occurred in the same place.
2.The time gap should be very little or contemporaneous so that there is
no time to fabricate or make up a story.
3.Act of witness during the same time and same place where the offence was
4.Gestures made by the victim when dying.
5.When FIR becomes Res Gestae
Transaction may have defined as the sequence of the events or all
part of the incident which is systematically examined a whole and for the proper
understanding not separated from as a single act. In other words, we can say
that the all the relevant parts of the events which is connected with happening
or the different parts of the whole incident as without examined all parts no
events are complete in itself. This is general meaning of the term transaction.
The transaction it starts from initial to end point of the event.
is arising here that what amounts to transactions or exactly what we can say
that as the relevant and admissible as transaction? Another question is that
what is the time period when the transaction as beginning or the end point of
the transaction. The transaction which includes single or more than single acts
constitute the whole incident. So it is defines as according to the facts and
circumstances of the case Roughly a transaction may be described as any physical
act or series of connected physical act, together with the words accompanying
such act or acts.
Principle of Admissibility of Declarations:
·The statement must explain, elucidate or characterize the incident in
·The statement must be spontaneous or contemporaneous, but not mere
narrative of a completed past event.
·The statement must be a statement of fact but not a statement of
·The statement must have been made either by a participant in the
transaction or by a person who has himself witnessed the transaction.
·The statement made by the bystanderwould be relevant only if it
is shown that he was present at the time of the happening of the event and
witnessed the same.
Test For Res Gestae:
1.The first test says that if there a relation of cause and effect or vice
versa, i.e. a causal relation between the fact in issue and the fact which is
intended to be given as evidence, then that fact can be said to form part of the
same transaction as the fact in issue. This test, however, is of not much worth
as every event is the collaborative effect of innumerable effects. Now,
supposing that all these causes and effects are to be treated as relevant and
evidence is permitted to be given of all these facts, then the very purpose of
restricting the evidence in a court of law to relevant facts is lost. The
precious time of the court will be rendered in vain in listening to evidence of
remote causes and distant effects.
2.The second test suggests that facts connected by proximity of time and
place would come under the section. No doubt facts happening at about the same
time and place can be treated as closely connected and therefore relevant under
the section. But this is not enough, because the section itself contemplates the
possibility of facts happening at different times and places, being connected
with the fact in issue, so as to form part of the same transaction.
3.A third test suggests that there should be a continuity of purpose and
action running through the fact in issue and the fact of which evidence is
sought to be given. This, it is submitted, is considered equally unworthy as it
merely substitutes one vague phrase for another.
Expansion of The Doctrine:
The court have often applied this doctrine in murder cases, which
contain the requisite underlying shocking event. But courts, have broadened the
scope of this doctrine by applying it in cases like domestic violence, child
witness, rape etc.
In case of domestic violence or assault cases, which involves a
startling event includes the issue of excited utterances. In India, women may
not react just after the crime of rape or sexual violence because they are under
the influence of such gruesome event that they do not respond immediately. It is
possible that they respond after a day or two but such statement spoken can
still be admitted under res getae. If it can be proved that victim was still
under the stress of shock then such statement can be admitted. Usually cases of
rape take place in isolation. So there is no eye witness to such event. Rape and
domestic violence cases are different than any other crime. The testimony of
such victims may be taken into consideration, because only they can identify the
Usually when ever there is a time gap, the transaction is said to end and any
statement which do not form part of the transaction is inadmissible. However in
cases of children this rule is relaxed. The rationale for expanding the
exception for children emphasizes how children cope with stress because their
statements are often made well after events occur at the first safe opportunity
to speak.In Uttam Singh vs State of Madhya Pradesh, the child witness was
sleeping with the deceased father at the relevant time of incident and was
awakened by the sound of the fatal blow of the axe on the neck of the deceased.
Seeing it, the child shouted to his mother for help by naming the accused as
assailant. On hearing the sounds the mother and sisters of the child and other
witnesses gathered at the spot. This evidence was held to be admissible as a
part of the same transaction as such shout was the natural and probable as per
the facts of the case. In this case if child witness failed to react on the spot
but spoke later, it could still be admissible under sec. 6.
Indian Judiciary has interpreted Res Gestae as only those statements
made contemporaneously with the event or immediately after it, but not ‘at such
interval of time’ as to allow fabrication.
1.State of Andhra Pradesh v. Panna Satyanarayan
murdered his wife and
daughter. The statement by the father of deceased wife that father of accused
told him on telephone that his son has killed the deceased. Absence of a finding
as to whether the information given by accused’s father to the deceased’s father
that the accused had killed the deceased was either of the time of commission of
the crime or immediately thereafter so as to form the part of same transaction.
The statement cannot be considered as relevant under section
2. Bishna alias Bhiswadeb Mahato & Others v. State of West Bengal
witnesses came to place of occurrence immediate after incident had taken place.
They found dead body of deceased and other injured victim in unconscious state
and also found mother of deceased weeping as also injured witness present there.
They heard about entire incident from injured witness and other witness
including role played by each of accused and others. The evidence of these two
witnesses corroborate the evidence of the prosecution witnesses as also the
allegations made in the F.I.R.Their evidence is admissible under section 6.
3. Jagser v. State of Haryana
In the present case, corroboration
to the dying declaration
comes from the statement of Mangat Ram, brother, Ruldu, father of the deceased,
who provided eye witness account, supporting the prosecution story on material
aspects. Although they do not state that the accused had set Yashin Khan on fire
in their presence, since according to them both the accused had taken Yashin
Khan and his wife Pinki to a room of the house, so as to resolve the dispute but
they said that after some time Yashin Khan while on fire came running out of the
house. Applying the principle of res gestae, it comes out that both accused are
clearly connected with the crime. The medical evidence duly corroborates the
4. Sri Samar Das vs The State of Tripura
important issues arise for consideration in the present appeal:
(a) As to
whether a minor witness is competent to testify in the Court in terms of Section
118of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (hereinafter referred to as the Evidence
Act) and whether her deposition can be considered for examining the guilt of the
(b) As to whether her testimony necessarily requires corroboration; and
(c) As to whether testimony of the parents of the victim can be considered,
applying the doctrine of Res Gestae, in view of Section 6of the Evidence Act.
find the testimonies of the parents, even if hearsay in nature, being in close
proximity to the time of crime and relating to the act which is in issue,
substantially contemporaneous to the acts in issue to be proven as a fact, can
be referred to and relied upon for establishing the prosecution case.
Res Gestae An Exception To Hearsay:
Res Gestae is an exception to the principle that hearsay evidence is
no evidence. Res Gestae being admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule can
be stated as being a hearsay statement, relating to an extraordinary evidence or
condition, that was made while the witness was still under the effect and stress
of excitement caused by that event or condition. The reasoning provided behind
such statement is that the witness while providing such exceptional hearsay
statement lacks reflective capacity due to the event being so startling, and is
only able to speak the truth. In Sukhar v State of U.P
.the question whether
the witness could give evidence of what the victim told him was raised? It was
held that Section 6 as an exception to general rule that hearsay is not
admissible as evidence. But it has to be established that ‘’the statement was
about contemporaneous with the fact in issue and there should not be any
interval for fabrication, so that it forms part of the same transaction.” In
this case the evidence of the witness is admissible. When the witness came to
the place of occurrence where they found the dead body of the deceased and
injured victim in unconscious state.
Even when the development of the term Res Gestae was in its
infancy,there was sign that it was not altogether regarded with favor. It became
popular because of its convenient obscurity. Wigmore has also been highly
critical of the use of the phrase Res Gestae. He has written that it is "not
only entirely useless, but even positively harmful."' The phrase is useless
because "every rule of Evidence to which it has ever been applied exists as a
part of some other well-established principle and can be explained in the terms
of that principle. "The phrase is harmful because.
"by its ambiguity it invites the confusion of one rule with another and thus
creates uncertainty as to the limitations of both." Thus, Wigmore concluded that
the " Res Gestae, "should never be mentioned.
Usually evidence is brought under Res Gestae when it cannot be
brought under any section of the Indian Evidence Act. The intention of the law
makers was to avoid injustice, where cases are dismissed due to lack of
evidence. Courts have always been conscious that this docrtrine should never be
expanded to an unlimited extent. Each case in criminal law should be judged
according to its own merit. When it is proved that the evidence forms part of
the same transaction it is admissible under sec. 6 but whether it is reliable or
not depends on the discretion of the Judge. This doctrine is more complex and
vague, this forms the loophole.
The ambiguity of this doctrine is highly
criticized. Therefore we can see that what originally started meant only acts
done (actus) to form Res Gestae, now covers all acts done or statements made
during the happening of the crime, at the same time or same place of the crime
or different times at different places, is said to be forming a part of the same
transaction and thereby admissible by virtue of doctrine of Res Gestae. Dean
Wigmore comments, “The phrase Res Gestae is, in the present state of the law,
not only entirely useless, but even positively harmful… It ought therefore
wholly to be repudiated, as a vicious element in our legal phraseology. It
should never be mentioned.”
1693 Skin 402
Rep. Temp. Hardw. 267
25 Howells State trials, 444 (1794)
(1805) 6 East 188
14 Cox C.C. 341
 AC 378
(1887) 18 QBD 537
P Ramanatha Aiyar (2000). The Law Lexicon, 2nd Edition, Nagpur: Wadhwa and
Company, p. 1668
VinodkumarBaderbhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, 1998 INDLAW GUJ 22
1956 INDLAW CAL 105
31 A CJS 978
Monir. M (2001),Principles and Digest of the Law Evidence(p. 47).
Allahabad : The University Book Agency
Dr. Singh Avtar (2010).Principles of the Law of Evidence(p. 42).
Allahabad : Central Law Publications
“Facts which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact in issue as
to form part of the same transaction, are relevant, whether they occurred at the
same time and place or at different times and places.”
Supra note 7.
SUKHAR V. STATE of UP (1999) 9 SCC 507
SAWAL DAS V. STATE of BIHAR 1974 AIR 778
QUEEN V. ABDULLAH. (1885) ILR 7 All 385
SHYAM NANDAN SINGH V. STATE of BIHAR 1991 Cri LJ 3350
Dr. Krishnamachari.V (2019),Law of Evidence(p.43). Hyderabad : Narander
Gogia & Company.
a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part
2002 INDLAW MP 79
AIR 2000 SC 2138
AIR 2006 SC 302
20 November 2018
14 December, 2018
2000 Cr.L.J. 29Also Read:Res Gestae Section 6 Indian Evidence Act,1872