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Alibi in Indian Evidence Act

Updated: May 18


Legal Provisions

As per Section 11, facts that aren't directly pertinent can still be relevant if:

(i) they clash with any fact under discussion or relevant to the matter,

(ii) they, on their own or alongside other facts, strongly suggest the likelihood or unlikelihood of the existence of a fact in question or relevant fact.


(a) Consider the scenario where the query is whether A committed a crime in Calcutta on a specific day. It's relevant that A was actually in Lahore on that day.

Also relevant is the fact that around the time of the crime, A was far away from the location of the crime, making it highly improbable, though not impossible, for him to have committed it.

(b) Now, suppose the query is whether A committed a crime. The circumstances suggest the crime could have been perpetrated by A, B, C, or D. Any fact indicating that the crime couldn't have been committed by anyone else, and wasn't done by B, C, or D, is relevant.

"Inconsistent with any fact in issue"

The conventional understanding of essential inconsistency posits that a particular fact cannot coexist with the commission of the alleged act, thus making it impossible for the individual associated with that fact to have committed the act.

For instance, the fact of being elsewhere is fundamentally at odds with being present at the alleged place and time, and consequently, with personal involvement in the act (the alibi theory).

The plea of "alibi" is evaluated in light of the positive evidence presented by the prosecution, including not only the direct testimony of witnesses and dying declarations but also scientific evidence such as DNA analysis, fingerprint analysis, and bite mark analysis, the reliability of which is recognized in scientific circles.

The Supreme Court has affirmed that it is firmly established that the plea of alibi in evidence act must be established with absolute certainty to completely rule out the possibility of the individual being present at the scene of the incident.


Case Law on Alibi in Evidence Act

In the case of State of UP v. Mukunde Singh (1994) 2 SCC 191, evidence concerning an alibi was introduced for the first time during the appeal process in the High Court.

However, this evidence was deemed highly unsatisfactory, and relying on such an alibi, the testimony of eyewitnesses, including two injured witnesses, could not be disregarded.

Similarly, in Gurcharan Singh v. State of Punjab, 1994 Supp (1) SCC 515, the accused asserted that he was absent from the crime scene and had gone to purchase a thresher.

Although the thresher dealer testified to this, the evidence presented, including an irregularly shaped book with blank pages, was deemed insufficient.

In Rajesh Kumar v. Dharamvi, AIR 1997 SC 3769 : 1997 Cr LJ 2242, the accused claimed to have visited an advocate for consultation at the time of the incident.

However, no contemporaneous document was produced by the advocate to verify the timing and fact of the visit, leading to the rejection of the alibi plea in Evidence Act.

Similarly, in Binay Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar, AIR 1997 SC 322, strict proof was demanded for establishing the plea of alibi. The court below had already disbelieved the alibi plea based on compelling reasons, and the Supreme Court chose not to intervene.


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