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Test Identification Parade in Evidence Act

Updated: May 18


Test Identification Parade

Content:-



Legal Provisions


Section 9 stipulates the relevance of certain types of facts as follows:


  • Facts essential for elucidating or prefacing a fact in question or a pertinent fact.


  • Facts that bolster or counter an inference proposed by a fact in question or a pertinent fact.


  • Facts that confirm the identity of an object or individual.


  • Facts that determine the time or location of the occurrence of any fact in question or pertinent fact.


  • Facts that illustrate the relationship between parties involved.

 
 

Test Identification Parade


In cases where the court requires knowledge of the identity of an object or an individual, any fact establishing such identity holds relevance.


Personal attributes including age, height, complexion, voice, handwriting, demeanour, attire, distinguishing features, blood group, occupation, familial ties, educational background, travel history, religious affiliation, acquaintance with specific individuals, places, or events, along with other aspects of personal background, constitute relevant facts.


Various methods such as fingerprint or thumbprint analysis, footprints, handwriting comparison, and police-organised "identification parades" serve this purpose.


"Identification parades" are organised by investigating officers to facilitate witnesses in identifying either the items involved in alleged offences or the accused individuals. The aim is to evaluate the accuracy of a witness's ability to identify an unfamiliar person whom they may have seen only once.


This practice aims to test and reinforce the credibility of testimony. The principle is for witnesses who claim to have observed the perpetrators during the incident to recognize them among a group of individuals without assistance.


Notably, neither the Criminal Procedure Code nor the Evidence Act provides for Test Identification (TI) parades.



Case laws

Ideally, a TI parade should be conducted promptly after the arrest of the accused (Abdul Waheed Khan v State of A.P. (2002) 7 SCC 175). When evidence against an accused rests solely on identification, the Magistrate must arrange a parade.


If the accused contests the witnesses' ability to identify them, the court should order a parade. A TI parade should be overseen by a Magistrate without police presence. However, it can also be conducted by the police or any citizen.


Identification through a photograph can substitute for a formal TI parade (Laxmi Raj Shetty v State of T.N. AIR 1998 SC 1274). A delay of 47 days in holding a TI parade does not diminish its evidentiary value (Anil Kumar v State of U.P, (2003) 3 SCC 569).


Although the holding of a TI parade is not mandatory, even if demanded by the accused, the prosecution is not obliged to comply (Surendra Narain v State of U.P. AIR 1998 SC 3031).


However, if the prosecution fails to conduct it claiming that the witnesses already knew the accused, and during trial it emerges that the witnesses did not know the accused previously, the prosecution risks losing its case (Jadunath Singh v State of U.P. AIR 1971 SC 363).


If an eyewitness knows the accused and unequivocally identifies them in court, a TI parade is unnecessary (State of H.P. v Prern Chand (2002) 10 SCC 518).


A TI parade constitutes weak evidence and is not substantive. The substantive evidence lies in identification testimony in court, with the TI parade offering corroborative support if necessary.


Nonetheless, the failure to conduct a TI parade does not render the identification evidence inadmissible (Malkhan Singh v State of M.P. (2003) 5 SCC 746).


In Ramnath v State of T.N. (AIR 1978 SC 1201), it was ruled that identification of the accused in court without prior TI parade renders such evidence futile.


When the sole evidence against an accused consists of identification by a single witness, as a precautionary measure, it should not suffice for conviction (Habib v State of Bihar AIR 1972 SC 283).


Rajesh v. State of Haryana 


In the case of Rajesh v. State of Haryana, (2020) SCC OnLine SC 900, the Supreme Court emphasised the significance of identification in a Test Identification Parade (TIP) to establish the identity of the accused.


It clarified that a conviction cannot be solely based on the accused's refusal to undergo such a parade. The Court outlined the following principles:



  1. The purpose of a TIP is to enable witnesses who claim to have seen the offender during the crime to identify them from among other individuals without any external assistance. Essentially, it tests the witnesses' memory to ascertain their credibility as eyewitnesses.

  2. TIPs are part of the crime investigation process, and there's no legal obligation for the investigating agency to conduct them, nor does the accused have a right to demand one.

  3. TIPs are regulated by Section 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

  4. Ideally, a TIP should be conducted promptly after the accused's arrest to prevent any potential exposure of the accused to the witnesses prior to the parade.

  5. Facts establishing the identity of the accused are deemed relevant under Section 9 of the Evidence Act.

  6. A TIP may serve to corroborate the witness's identification in court if necessary.

Generally, the court seeks corroboration of the witness's identification of the accused through previous identification proceedings as a prudent measure. However, there are exceptions when the court deems the witness's evidence reliable without such corroboration.


  1. As TIPs do not constitute substantive evidence, the failure to conduct one does not automatically render the identification evidence inadmissible.

  2. The court determines the weight to be given to such identification evidence based on the circumstances of each case.

  3. Depending on the circumstances, the court may decide whether to draw an adverse inference against the accused for refusing to participate in a TIP. Nevertheless, the court requires substantial corroborating evidence before reaching a conclusion regarding the accused's guilt.

 
 

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