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Section 114 Court may presume existence of certain facts

Section 114 Court may presume existence of certain facts.

The Court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have happened, regard being had to the common course of natural events, human conduct and public and private business, in their relation to the facts of the particular case.

Illustration

The Court may presume –

(a) That a man who is in possession of stolen goods after the theft is either the thief or has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession;

(b) That an accomplice is unworthy of credit, unless he is corroborated in material particular;

(c) That a bill of exchange, accepted or endorsed, was accepted or endorsed for good consideration;

(d) That a thing or state of things which has been shown to be in existence within a period shorter than that within which such things or state of things usually cease to exist, is still in existence;

(e) That judicial and official acts have been regularly performed;

(f) That the common course of business had been followed in particular cases;

(g) That evidence which could be and is not produced would, if produced be unfavorable to the person who withholds it;

(h) That if a man refuses to answer a question which he is not compelled to answer by law, the answer, if given, would be unfavorable to him;

(i) That when a document creating an obligation is in the hands of the obligor, the obligation has been discharged.

But the Court shall also have regard to such facts as the following, in considering whether such maxims do or do not apply to the particular case before it –

As to illustration (a)—A shop-keeper has in his till a marked rupee soon after it was stolen, and cannot account for its possession specifically, but is continually receiving rupees in the course of his business;

As to illustration (b)—A, a person of the highest character, is tried for causing a man’s death by an act of negligence in arranging certain machinery. B, a person of equally good character, who also took part in the arrangement, describes precisely what was done, and admits and explains the common carelessness of A and himself;

As to illustration (b)—A crime is committed by several persons. A, B and C, three of the criminals, are captured on the spot and kept apart from each other. Each gives an account of the crime implicating D, and the accounts corroborate each other in such a manner as to render previous concert highly improbable;

As to illustration (c)—A, the drawer of a bill of exchange, was a man of business. B, the acceptor, was young and ignorant person, completely under A’s influence;

As to illustration (d)—It is proved that a river ran in a certain course five years ago, but it is known that there have been floods since that time which might change its course;

As to illustration (e)—A judicial act, the regularity of which is in question, was performed under exceptional circumstances;

As to illustration (f)—The question is, whether a letter was received. It is shown to have been posted, but the usual course of the post was interrupted by disturbances;

As to illustration (g)—A man refuses to produce a document which would bear on a contract of small importance on which he is sued, but which might also injure the feelings and reputation of his family;

As to illustration (h)—A man refuses to answer a question which he is not compelled by law to answer, but the answer to it might cause loss to him in matters unconnected with the matter in relation to which it is asked;

As to illustration (i)—A bond is in possession of the obligor, but the circumstances of the case are such that he may have stolen it.

COMMENTS:

Adverse inference

Ordinarily, the adverse inference can be drawn in respect of allegations not traversed. But there is no general rule that adverse inference must always be drawn, whatever the facts and circumstances may be; Jagjit Singh v. State of Haryana, AIR 2007 SC 590.

Presumption

(i) Presumption is rebuttable. If there is any such circumstance weakening such presumption, it cannot be ignored by the court; Sobha Hymavathi Devi v. Setti Gangadhara Swamy, AIR 2005 SC 800.

(ii) When oral and other reliable evidences are satisfactorily giving evidence that the pair lived together as husband and wife, merely because family register does not show them as husband and wife is not a clinching evidence to deny their relationship of husband and wife; Lalta v. District IVth upper Distt. Judge Basti, AIR 1999 All 342.

(iii) Execution of will made under fraud and under influence not denied. Evidence not adduced in support of allegation inference drawn that will is valid; S. Kaliyammal v. K. Palaniammal, AIR 1999 Mad 40.

(iv) Genuine and correctness of document have to be proved by a person believes upon it by cogent and direct evidence; Ashok Kumar Uttam Chand Shah v. Patel Mohmad Asmal Chanchad, AIR 1999 Guj 108.

(v) A court may legitimately draw a presumption not only of the fact that the person in whose possession the stolen articles were found committed the robbery but also that he committed the murder; Mukund alias Kundu Mishra v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1997) 4 Supreme 359.

(vi) The recovery made some days after the dacoity does not raise a presumption under section 114(a) in respect of the offence of dacoity; Vasant alias Roshan Sogaji Bhosale v. State of Maharashtra, (1997) 2 Crimes 104 (Bom).

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Mridul Rajvanshy

Mridul Rajvanshy

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