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Test identification Parade

By : Prakash Yedhula on 06 February 2009 Report Abuse Print Print this
 



1. TEST IDENTIFICATION PARADE Introduction: The term 'Identification' means proving or fixing before the court that a person, article or animal is the very same that he- or it is alleged, charged or reputed to be. The term used in police investigation is 'test identification' i.e. a process by which the identity of persons, things or animals concerned in the offence under investigation or trial is established through a test parade. The word 'Test' is used in the actual meaning of an examination in which the witness is to pinpoint the person, thing or animal in a test, identification parade. The witness whoever, that they have seen the accused or his articles or weapons during the commission of the offence, are asked to identify such accused or suspect by picking them out from among a number of persons or such articles or animals, or a bunch of articles or animals of the same kind. Identification parades are held to satisfy an investigating officer on the bonafides of their witnesses. It also helps the investigating officers to concentrate their focus of attention and ambit of suspicion to a few only which automatically help to eliminate much labour and wastage of time and energy. TEST IDENTIFICATION PARADE What is Test Identification ? 1. Identification means proving or fixing before the Court that a person, article or animal is the very same that he or it is alleged, charged or reputed to be. 2. Test identification means process' of identification of a person, property or animal through test parade. TEST IDENTIFICATION PARADE Object of Test Identification Parade 1. To satisfy the 1.0. regarding :— (1) identity of suspect/accused (2) identity of stolen property (3) identity of stolen animal 2. To help the 1.0. to concentrate his focus of attention and ambit of suspicion to a few only, which eliminates wastage of time and energy. 3. To satisfy the Court regarding :— (1) identity of accused (2) identify of stolen property During investigation when a witness on being examined by the police avers that he will be able to identify the accused who participated in the offence, if shown to him, and that he will be able to identify the stolen property, if produced before him, the necessity of holding test identification by the Police to test the memory and veracity of the witness does arise. Test identification has been held to be part of investigation. Identification is always a matter of opinion or belief. With regard to a criminal offence, identification has a two-fold object: (i) to satisfy the investigating authorities before sending a case for trial to the Court that the person arrested but not previously known to the witnesses was one of those who committed the crime or the property concerned was the subject of such crime and (ii) to satisfy the Court that the accused was the real offender of the article and was concerned with the crime. As regards the admissibility of such evidence of test identification, it is pertinent to point out that facts which establish the identity of any person or thing whose identity is relevant are, by virtue of Sec. 9 of the Indian Evidence Act, always relevant. Sec. 9 of the Indian Evidence Act says :— "Facts necessary to explain or introduce a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which support or rebut an inference sug- gested by a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which establish the identity of any thing or person whose identity is relevant, or fix the time or place at which any fact in issue or relevant fact happened, or which show the relation of parties by whom any such fact was transacted, are relevant in so far as they are necessary for that purpose". In other words, facts which are explanatory or introductory of a relevant fact are often of considerable help in understanding the real nature of transaction, in supplying missing links, in leading upto main fact or in establishing some connection or throwing light on the fact in issue. 3. Test identification is invariably held by a Magistrate although there is no legal bar on the part of ordinary citizens holding such identification parade. As regards the Police Officer who seeks to prove the fact of test identification, such evidence of his would attract the provisions of Sec. 162 Cr. P.C. and would be inadmissible in evidence. The purpose of such prior test identification is to test and strengthen the trustworthiness of the evidence of the witnesses. It is accordingly considered a safe rule of prudence to generally look for corroboration of the sworn testimony of witnesses in the Court as to the identity of the accused who are strangers to them in the form of earlier proceedings. The evidence against the accused must be evidence given by the identifier in the Court. It provides a very good piece of corroborative evidence and greatly enhances the credibility of the evidence of identification in the Court. In fact, mere evidence of identification in the Court in the absence of a prior identification test is of very little consequence. It is also to be born in mind that the test identification parade conducted by the Police is not a piece of substantive evidence and cannot be the basis of conviction by itself. 4. Who can hold T.I. Parade ? TEST IDENTIFICATION PARADE Who can Hold T.I.P. ? (1) POLICE (2) PRIVATE PERSON (3) MAGISTRATE The persons who can conceivably hold identification proceed ings are (i) Police, (ii) ordinary citizens and (iii) Magistrate. In theory, there is no objection to a test identification being held by the Police. But in such an event, the express or implied statement made by the identifier before them would be a statement which would immediately be hit by Sec. 162 Cr. P.C. where under it can be used only for the purpose of contradicting him under Sec. 145 I.E. Act and cannot at all be used for corroborating him. Consequently a test identification held by the police nullifies the object of using the identification for corroborating the testimony given by the identifier before the Court. It is for this reason that such proceedings should never be held by the Police. 5. As to ordinary citizens, there is no legal objection to their holding identification proceedings even though these are arranged for by the Police. The Supreme Court has pointed out in Ramkishan Vs. State of Bombay (AIR 1955 SC 104) that the communication of the fact of identification by the identifier to the person holding the proceedings is tantamount to a statement made by the identifier to that person. The note or memo of the proceedings prepared by the person in question is, therefore, a record of the statement of the identifying witnesses. Since there is no legal bar to any person recording the statement of another, any person can conduct a test identification. But it is very essential that the process of identification be carried out under the exclusive direction and supervision of the persons themselves and the Police should completely obliterate themselves from the parade before the statements made by the identifiers could fall outside the purview of Sec. 162 Cr.P.C. Hence, identification proceedings may be conducted by pinch witnesses. Nevertheless, the desirability of getting test identification conducted by ordinary citizens is seriously open to question. It has, therefore, now become a universal practice that the test identification parade are never held by the Police or ordinary citizens but by the Magistrates. A proper test identification parade held by the Magistrate would have dispelled many of the doubts and difficulties that be set the case and would have been of great assistance to the Court in punishing the real offenders. They are more conversant with the procedure to be followed to ensure their proper conduct. They can be more relied upon. They are less amenable to extraneous influences. They can act with great authority over the Police and the jail staff who have to arrange for the parade. They will also take all precautions as are required by the High Courts for the proper conduct of the identification without any defect or flaw in the proceedings. If the Magistrate who is empowered to hold such test identification, his identification memo. is a record of the statement which the identifier expressly or impliedly made before him. In this connection, it is relevant to mention the contents of Secs. 145, 155, 157 and 80 of the Indian Evidence Act before discussing the relevance of these Sections to the T.I. Parade. Sec. 145 I.E. Act "A witness may be cross-examined as to previous statement made by him in writing or reduced into writing and relevant to matters in question, without such writing being shown to him or being proved; but, if it is intended to contradict him by the writing, his attention, must, before the writing can be proved, be called to those parts of it which are to be used for the purpose of contradicting him." Sec. 155 I.E. Act "They credit of a witness may be impeached in the following ways by the adverse party, or, with the consent of the Court, by the party who calls him : (1) by the evidence of persons who testify that they, from their knowledge of the witness, believe him to be un- worthy of credit ; (2) by proof that the witness has been bribed, or has accepted the offer of a bribe, or has received any other corrupt inducement to give his evidence ; (3) by proof of former statements inconsistent with any part of his evidence which is liable to be contradicted . (4) When a man is prosecuted for rape or an attempt to ravish it may be shown that the prosecuterix was of generally immoral character." Sec. 157 I.E. Act "In order to corroborate the testimony of a witness, any former statement made by such witness relating to the same fact, at or about the time when the fact took place or before any authority legally competent to investigate the fact may be proved." Sec. 180 I.E. Act "Whenever any document is produced before any court, purporting to be a record or memorandum of the evidence, or of any part of the evidence, given by a witness in a judicial proceeding or before an officer authorised by law to take such evidence or to be a statement or confession by any prisoner or accused person, taken in accordance with law and purporting to be signed by any Judge or Magistrate or by any such officer as afore said, the Court shall presume :— that the document is genuine; that any statements as to the circumstances under which it was taken purporting to be made by the person signing it, are true and that such evidence statement or confession was duly taken." The statement is a formal statement of the identifier and in Court is unable not only for contradicting him under Section 145 or 155 of the Evidence Act but also for corroborating him under Sec. 157 of the Act. Besides, the proceedings of the test identification come under the ambit of the provision of Sec. 164 Cr. P.C. The section reads as follows :— "Recording of the Confessions and Statements—(1) Any Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate may, whether or not he has jurisdiction in the case, record any confession or statement made to him in the course of an investigation under this Chapter or under any other law for the time being in force, or at any time after wards before the commencement of the inquiry or trial :— (1) provided that no confession shall be recorded by a Police Officer on whom any power of a Magistrate has been conferred under any law for the time being in force. (2) The Magistrate shall, before recording any such confes- sion, explain to the person making it that he is not bound to make a confession and that, if he does so, it may be used as evidence against him; and the Magistrate shall not record any such confession, unless upon questioning the person making it, he has reason to believe that it is being made voluntarily. (3) If at any time before the confession is recorded, the person appearing before the Magistrate states that he is not willing to make the confession, the Magistrate shall not authorise the detention of such person in Police custody. (4) Any such confession shall be recorded in the manner provided in Sec. 281 Cr. P.C. for recording the exami- nation of an accused person and shall be signed by the person making the confession; and the Magistrate shall make a memorandum at the foot of such record to the following effect : "I have explained to (name) that he is not bound to make a confession and that, if he does so, any confession he may make may be used as evidence against him and I believe that this confession was voluntarily made. It was taken in my presence and hearing, and was read over to the person making it and admitted by him to be correct, and it contains a full and true account of the statement made by him : (Signed) A.B. MAGISTRATE (5) Any statement (other than a confession) made under- sub-section (1) shall be recorded in such manner here- in after provided for the recording of evidence as is, in the opinion of the Magistrate, best fitted to the circumstances of the case; and the Magistrate shall have power to administer oath to the person whose, statement is so recorded. (6) The Magistrate recording a confession or statement under this Section shall forward it to the Magistrate by whom the case is to be inquired into or tried." The test identification memo of the Magistrate is admissible in evidence under Sec. 80 of the Evidence Act without proof. In other words, there is no need for his appearance in the Court to prove the memo unless it is required to explain ambiguities or omissions there from. Where Sec. 164 Cr. P.C. operates, the proceedings are independent even of the territorial jurisdiction of the Magistrate concerned. On the other hand, if private persons hold identification, they must be called in evidence to prove their memo. 6. Duty of the Police in the T.I. Parade When a witness says that he can identify an accused person connected to the crime under investigation, the I-O. should record their description in detail in the C.D. It is the foremost duty of the Police while arranging a T.I. Parade to seal off all probabilities of a defence suggestion that the witness had any opportunity of viewing the suspect person before the parade was actually held. For this purpose, the arrested person should be warned on his arrest that he might be placed in T.I. parade and as such may take all precaution to cover up his identify before he is so placed. Though the 1.0. should satisfy himself that proper accused or accused persons are placed in the T.I. Parade, he should better avoid any sort of association with the witness during the T.I. parade. All precautions taken in this regard should be noted in the official records such as general diary and case- diary, The idea is that precautionary measures should not only be taken but should be proved in the court of law. When there is evidence to indicate that the Police had shown the accused to the witnesses prior to T.I. Parade, an adverse inference would arise against the prosecution. The whole purpose of holding an identification parade is defeated and its value almost completely lost if there is a long lapse of time between the date of arrest of the accused and the date of identification parade. When delay is inordinate, it is a question which must be answered by reference to all the circumstances of the case. The nature of the offence, the state of mind of the witness at the particular time when the offence was committed (terror, excitement), and the duration in which the witness had the opportunity to see the accused are tacts to be particularly taken into account. The obvious reason for rejecting the evidence of identification on the ground of inordinate delay is that ordinarily the human mind does not register an impression of a face seen only once for a brief moment for a long time thereafter unless that face has some special feature which help to fix its memory on the mind of the witness. Hence the delay in holding the T.I. Parade should be avoided as far as possible. Sometime an accused person prior to his identification succeeds in securing bail on giving an under taking that he would take precautions to keep himself concealed from the prosecution witnesses and that he would not raise the plea that they had seen him before the identification parade. Such an undertaking never acts as an estoppels and hence is worthless (AIR 1956 ALL 122). In order to escape punishment a criminal may get himself released on such an undertaking and then go and show himself to the witnesses. If he does so he commits a criminal offence for any identification of him made subsequently becomes perfectly useless. Hence, it is the duty of the Police to oppose the bail of the accused prior to identification. As pointed out by the Allahabad High Court in Asarif Vs. State (A.I.R. 1961 ALL 153) "the Magistrate and the courts of Appeals should be careful not to enlarge arrested persons on bail whose identification is desired though it is their duty to see that no undue delay in holding the T.I. Parade is permitted. The question of bail should be considered only after the test has been accomplished". As contemplated in Sec. 437 Cr. P.C. the mere fact that an accused is required for being identified by witnesses during investigation shall not be sufficient ground for refusing to grant bail, if he is otherwise entitled to be released on bail. The 1.0. should also press absconding of the accused, gravity of charge, danger of accused tampering with the evidence during investigation as other grounds for the refusal of the bail so that the T.I. parade could also be arranged by the Magistrate during the investigation. TEST IDENTIFICATION PARADE. DOs 1. Should be held soon after arrest 2 move comt to refuse bail 3. Invariably arrange TIP by Magistrate 4.Get identifier's statements recorded u/s 164Cr. PC before identification 5.Identifiers should also identify accused or property in Court as TI proceeding is not substantive evidence 6.Identification of persons differs from identification of property DONT's 1. Dont's delay in arranging TIP after accused's arrest 2. Dont's give scope to Court. For release of accused on bail. 3. Dont's held TIP by Police or private persons 4. Dont's show witnesses to accused before TIP 5. Dont's arrange TIP if accused is caught red-handed 6. Dont's allow presence of Police officer during TIP or their presence with witnesses before TIP 7.General precautions and procedure followed by the Magistrate while holding the T.I. Parade A Magistrate conducting a TI parade must take an intelligent interest in the proceeding as the life of an accused person depends on his vigilance and the caution he exercises. The Police, after making all arrangements for the parade, should completely efface themselves leaving it to the Magistrate or the panchayatdars to conduct the actual identification proceeding. The accused should as far as possible be mingled with persons of similar description, status, build and age in the proportion of a minimum of 1:5 and maximum of 1:10 and they must be made to take their positions along with the persons with whom they are mingled up in a line. They should not be made to stand together. The Magistrate or other persons conducting the parade should satisfy himself or themselves, that no Police Officer takes part in the actual identification, that 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. Witnesses should then be called in, one by one, and they should be asked to go round the persons assembled for the parade and point out the accused if any. If a witness identifies any of the accused, it should be verified whether his description tallies with that recorded already in the case diary and proceedings regarding the identification should be drawn up. If the identification is held by a Magistrate, the proceedings should be drawn up and signed by him. If the identification is held by panchayatdars, the proceedings should be drawn up by one of the panchayatdars and attested by other panchas. Statements made by the identifying witnesses to the panchayatdars at the time of identification should be recorded in the proceedings. Even if a witness makes a mistake, it should be recorded. In short, the proceedings must contain a complete record of all that takes place in the identification parade. After the identification by, one witness is over, care should be taken to see that the witness does not mingle or communicate with the other witnesses for whom identification parade is yet to be conducted or with other outside persons, and the whole parade will be reshuffled and the accused made to take different positions. If the accused so desire, they should be allowed to change their dress also. The same procedure will be repeated in the case of other witnesses also Any well founded objection by any accused during the identification parade should be recorded. The Magistrate or panchas holding T.I. parade shall see for himself whether any of the accused intended to be identified has such visible marks on him as are likely to facilitate his identification. If that be the case, then it is his further duty either to cover up such marks or mix that accused with several other persons having similar marks, Failure to take this precaution is sufficient to take away the value of the identification. If the accused requests for the presence of his counsel at the test identification, his request should never be rejected though of course the counsel is not entitled to take any part in the actual holding of the test. Since justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done, the accused must be afforded reasonable opportunity not only to safeguard his interest but to satisfy himself that the proceedings are conducted fairly and honestly. Similarly the prosecution too have a right to be represented by the counsel if they wish to do so. If a Magistrate who is competent to record statement u/s 164 Cr.P.C. is asked to hold the TI parade, the 1.0. should invariably request the Magistrate to record the statements of identifying witnesses u/s 164 Cr. PC before holding the test identification. After the completion of the identification parade and drawing up of the proceedings a certificate must be appended duly signed by the Magistrate or panchayatdars as the case may be. Demand of T.I. Parade by the Accused It is extraordinary for an accused to demand an identification parade, for if the police do not hold one, in cases where it should be held, they take the risk and the accused can make the best use of it in trial. The accused is likely to demand such a parade only when he has gained over the witness and is sure that witnesses would not identify him. Even here, it would be safer for him to have the witness 'fail to identify him' at the trial then at the parade. But in law, identification is considered part of police investigation and the accused has no right to demand an identification parade at any stage of investigation. At the trial, however, he has a right to demand that he be identified and in such cases the court will have to make proper arrangements to have him mixed up with others before the witness has any opportunity to see him. But in castes where the accused demands identification parade during investigation, the police are put in a delicate position. It might be that the accused is an innocent person who hopes to get out of the case if a parade is held. It might also be that he has gained over the witness. Anyway, though the accused has no right in law to demand an identification parade, if he makes a request for it and the request is turned down by the police, the lurking suspicion takes root that really the witnesses have not seen him and would be able to identify him. The whole purpose of TI parade is to assure the court of the credibility of the witnesses and this purpose will be really affected if the parade demanded by the accused is not held. Allahabad High Court in Laljiram Vs. State 1955 (All 671 1955 Cr.L J 1547) has ruled that 'Although the accused has no right to claim identification, if the prosecution turns down his request for identification, it runs the risk of the veracity of the eyewitnesses being challenged on that ground'. It is advisable to hold the parade if the accused holds out a challenge that he could not be identified. For the police it is also a confirmatory process and they can be sure of their witnesses only after the holding of an identification Parade on both points whether the witness is speaking the truth and also whether he has been gained over by the accused. Non-holding of Test identification parade, though may not be a ground to vitiate the trial, is undoubtedly a very important feature in considering the credibility of the witnesses on the point of identification (Awadh Singh Vs. State 1954 Pat 483 1954 Cr. L.J. 1546). T.I. parade is basically an investigative procedure of the police. It was held in a case that 'In view of the police having full powers during investigation, it would appear that the Court has no powers, to order T.I. parade at the investigation stage, i.e. before the case comes to the Court (State Vs. Raghu Roy Singh 1970 Cr. L.J. 78 at page 80). No rule of law requires that a oral testimony of a witness should be corroborated by evidence of identification. Evidence of identification is itself a weak type of evidence. But where the accused claimed to be known to the witnesses and had applied for his identification by the witnesses, a denial of that opportunity is an important point in his favour (Shri Ram Vs. State of UP- 1975 Cr. LJ 240 AIR 1975 SC 175). It was also decided in Jogendran Singh Vs. Punjab 1974 (Cr. L.J. 240 75 Punjab LR 786) that denial of an opportunity to an accused to obtain an identification proceedings at his own request tantamount to stopping him from setting up a defence which he wants to set up in a criminal case. Denial or Refusal to Appear in a TI Parade by the Accused If the accused person refuses to appear in a T.I. parade a presumption may be drawn against him under sec. 114 Evidence Act. [State Vs. Lavender Singh and another 1973 Cr. L.J. 1023 (1972) 3 Simla LJ 349]. Record of Identification Memo A record called the 'identification Memo' is made of the entire identification proceedings. Such a record should be in the prescribed form and should contain : 1. the date and time when the identification began. 2. where from the suspect was brought to the parade and when? 3. Steps taken to conceal any patent defect or mark on the suspect. 4. the number of suspects and accused who were mixed up. 5. how the suspects and the accused were arranged and what was the place given to the suspect in different arrangements ? 6. how the witness identified the suspect, whether he pointed the finger etc ? 7. (he number of wrong persons the identifier picked up and the number of times he did so. 8. any statements, gestures, etc. made by the witness. 9- names and addresses of the witnesses present at the parade. The signatures of these witnesses should be taken on the record of identification proceedings. 10. the objections of the accused regarding identification of the witnesses. Any other particulars regarding the conduct of the parade and about the identification, etc. which requires special mention should also find entry in the memo. After the completion of the identification parade and drawing up of the proceedings a certificate must be appended duly signed by the Magistrate or panchayatdars as the case may be. Evidentiary Value of T.I.P. (1) Admissible u/s 9 IEA (2) Identifier's statements before Magistrate admissible for corroborative evidence u/s 157 and 158 IEA (3) T.I. Memo of Magistrate admissible without proof u/s 80 IEA. 8. Evidentiary value of Identification Evidence of T.I. Parade is admissible u/s 9 of the Evidence Act. Value of such evidence is indeed very high when it can be established that the parade was held above suspicion and when such evidence is corroborated by the witness while being examined in the trial. Statements made by witnesses in course of T.I. proceeding are admissible both for the purpose of corroboration under Sec. 157 and 158 of the Evidence Act and contradiction under Sections 145 and 155 of the Act. A memorandum prepared by the Magistrate is admissible in evidence u/s 80 of the Evidence Act without any proof. It means that the Magistrate need not come to the Court to prove the memo unless the accused points out ambiguity or defects or lacuna in the T.I. proceedings. The test identification parade conducted by a Police Officer attracts the operation of Sec. 162 Cr. P.C. which makes that evidence in admissible (AIR 1955 SC 104). Identification test has been deprecated even where the Police Officer was present at the time of the parade or even when the witnesses remained with the Police before T.I. parade. 9. Identification of Property Identification parades are held by the Police for the purpose of enabling witnesses to identify the properties which are the subject matter of offence In important cases the practice of having articles of property recovered from suspects and suspected to be stolen, mixed up with other articles of a similar nature when the property is shown to the complainants for identification, may often be followed with advantage. In such cases precaution should be taken similar to those laid down for observance in the case of identification parade of accused persons; the person before whom the identification is held must be done without giving room for suspicion and it will be essential to prove that neither the property suspected nor that with which it has been mixed, could have been seen by the witnesses before hand- Identification of property needs also enough precaution which consists of, such as. sealing of the properties to be identified and similar sealing of properties to be mixed in the T.I. parade. The Police Officer who takes the sealed bundles to the Police Station after recovery and also to the Magistrate for identification should be examined to prove that the sealed bundles were not tampered with in any way. The sealed bundles should be opened before a Magistrate, if the property is not deposited in the Court. Where T.I. parade of property might not be necessity Where articles, stolen or lost have any peculiarity and are not available in the market, identification may not be necessary. In cases of copper wire used by the Postal Deptt. where it is of a particular gauge and is not available in the market, no identification would be necessary. Identification of things is necessary only to counter the claim of the accused that he had bought the articles in open market when such articles are so available. Identification of Animals In cases of animals, the police officer should ascertain whether there is any tattoo mark or any defect with which the animal can be identified when a report of any animal being lost or stolen is given to him and all these should find entry in the report. This will help future identification process easier and more believeable. Animals are, however, much more easily identified than articles. It is also well known that animals such as dogs, cows or other domestic animals have an attachment to their owners and sometime they themselves indicate such attachments through their gestures and postures making it easier for the police to fix up the identity of the animals by observing the peculiar behaviour of the animals. 10. Important Rulings of High Courts and Supreme Court It need hardly be said that the evidence of identification whether of the accused or of the recovered articles before a Police Officer amounts to a statement within the meaning of Sec. 162 Cr. PC and as such becomes inadmissible in evidence (AIR 1955 SC 104). Test identification parade should be arranged early before the accused goes on bail (1968 Cr. LJ 181). In fact the Court ought to refuse bail if an identification parade is going to be held. Thus not only the test identification parade has to be arranged at the earliest possible opportunity, but bail will have to be opposed until the test I.P. is finished . Identification evidence is not to be rejected simply because the accused was on bail. The main contention is whether the parade was conducted in a fair manner and whether the witnesses in fact saw the accused before the commission of offence and the identification parade (A.L.J. 1959 548). The result of test identification parade conducted at the stage of investigation is not a piece of substantive evidence and cannot be the basis of conviction by itself. The evidence against the accused must be the evidence given by the identifying witnesses in the witness box. It however provides a good piece of corroborative evidence and greatly enhances the credibility of the evidence of TI Parade given in the Court (AIR 1960 SC 1340). Failure to hold identification parade does not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in Court. The weight to be attached to such evidence is a matter of fact (AIR 1958 SC 350). There can be no question of identification where the accused is apprehended or caught red handed in the presence of several persons (AIR ALL 1968 337). The non holding of TI parade through it may not vitiate the trial, is undoubtedly a very important feature in considering the credibility of the witness on the point of identification (1954 Pat. 48). The contention that the identification of articles (recovered from dacoits) in Court cannot be believed because they were not put forth for identification u/s 9 of Evidence Act which applies both to the identification of person and property is not acceptable, for the identification in Court assumes more importance (AIR 1959 Andhra 387). Identification of property cannot be placed on the same footing as that of a person. Identification of persons means recognising the face of a stranger who was seen momentarily only at the time of a crime. The identification of property is really the recognition of property for the owner knows his own articles and when he sees them he picks them out. He is well acquainted with all the peculiarities of that articles and even though ostensibly there may be no distinctive mark, an owner can very frequently be trusted to pick out his own article from a large number of similar articles. There is some peculiarity in the article which is present in his subconcious mind and which be himself may not be able to describe (ALL Cr. R. 123 1954 Cr. L.J. Mad. 583). Though there is no objection if the Police show a series of photographs and only one or two, in order to seek information as to the person who may have committed a crime, yet such a practice is bound to impair the value of the subsequent TI Parades (1963 Cr. L.J. 121). 11. Erroneous Identification and Causes thereof In England and America most of the spectacular miscarriages have been due to wrong and erroneous identification of the suspect as the accused. Mr. Patrick M. Wall in his book Eye Witness Identification in Criminal Cases has observed that basically there are two causes, namely (1) the normal and universal fallibilities of human sense of perception and human memory and (2) susceptibility of the human mind to suggestive influences. Just as there are no two fingerprints exactly alike, no two persons, not even identical twins, look exactly alike. Yet cases of mistaken identity are surprisingly frequent in criminal cases. The cause of this apparent anomaly is the fact that a normal person sees but a few of someone else's distinguishing characteristics, retains even fewer in his mind, and is able to revive fewer still when asked to describe person observed or to identify one thought to be the same. If the characteristics of the person to be identified are similar to the characteristics of the person originally observed, as they now exist in the mind of the witness, the witness may very well recognise them and make an erroneous identification. This is merely an over simplification of the psychological phenomena involved in erroneous identification. The mere fact that three or four witnesses identifying a suspect provides no assurance that they are correct, especially when all have been subjected to a suggestive or erroneous identification procedure. The author of the book has quoted several true cases wherein innocent persons were convicted due to erroneous identification. In a case robbery in Philadelphia in 1919, two policemen and twenty other witnesses identified one Adolf Beck as one of the cluprits in that case while Beck was already under-going his ordeal in England. In this case 22 witnesses identified an innocent person as culprit, all tragically in error. In another case, one Thomas Berdue of California was convicted in 19 century, largely upon identification evidence, of a murder actually committed by James Stuart, a notorious outlaw of the time. Shortly before Berdue's scheduled execution, Stuart was captured and confessed to the crime. In a Georgia case a man named James Fulton Foster convicted of murder and sentenced to death upon his identification by the victim's widow, the sole eye witness to the crime. But before the date of execution, further investigation led up to another man who confessed the crime. Thus the above instances refer to one of the principal causes of conviction based upon erroneous evidence of identification. But it is also true that part of the identification problem lies in the fact that guilty men often escape punishment because witnesses fail to identify them or because of certain defects in identification procedures or in rules of evidence. Prof. Borchard in his book 'Convicting the Innocent' records 65 criminal convictions including three in England in which the accused were subsequently proved innocent, e.g. by the alleged 'murdered' person turning up alive, by subsequent conviction of the real culprit or by the discovery of new evidence leading to a pardon. The major source of error was found to be the identification of the accused by the victim of a crime of violence. This mistake was practically alone responsible for 29 of the convictions and in 8 of them the wrongfully accused persons and the guilty criminals bore not the slightest resemblance to each other. Experience on the continent of Europe is precisely similar. To quote Gorpe, 'Errors of recognition can longer be counted; a volume would not suffice to contain all those that have been discovered and that is only a small part of the whole. They pertain above all to the identification of persons'. Identification evidence has expounded the manifold inaccuracies of recall. Therefore identification evidence should be examined with great care and caution. BIBLIOGRAPHY (1) Law of Identification by Ejoy Ahmed (2) Evidence Act Vol. I by Mohd Ali Woodroffe (3) Eye Witness Identification in Criminal Cases by Patrick M. Wall (4) Principles of Criminology and Criminal Law by R. Deb. (5) Police Diaries, Statements, Reports, Investigations, Arrests etc. 1979 (K. Krishna Murthi).
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