What is an Alibi?
The term ‘Alibi’ is a Latin word which means ‘elsewhere’ or ‘somewhere else’. In criminal proceedings alibi is used as a form of defence by the accused against the commission of an alleged offence. When an accused makes a plea of alibi in a court he or she attempts to prove that he or she was in some other place at the time the alleged offence was committed. In general, a plea of alibi implies that the accused was physically not present at the scene and time of the commission of an offence due to the reason that he was present somewhere else.
THE SECTIONS DEALING WITH ALIBI IS SECTION 11 AND SECTION 103 OF THE EVIDENCE ACT 1872.
Plea of alibi is a rule of evidence recognized under Section 11 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. “When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant: facts otherwise not relevant are relevant
1. If they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;
2. If by themselves or in connection with other facts they make the existence or non-existence of any fact in issue or relevant fact highly probable or improbable.
EXAMPLE OF PLEA OF ALIBI-(a) The question is, whether A committed a crime at Calcutta on a certain day. The fact that, on that day, A was at Lahore is relevant. The fact that, near the time when the crime was committed, A was at a distance from the place where it was committed, which would render it highly improbable, though not impossible, that he committed it, is relevant.
(b) The question is, whether A committed a crime. The circumstances are such that the crime must have been committed either by A, B, C or D, every fact which shows that the crime could have been committed by no one else and that it was not committed by either B, C or D, is relevant.
SECTION 103 OF EVIDENCE ACT 1872:-
Section 103 of the Evidence Act, 1872 provides for Burden of proof as to particular fact which states that the burden of proof as to any particular fact lies on that person who wishes the Court to believe in its existence, unless it is provided by any law that the proof of that fact shall lie on any particular person.
Example: the question is, whether A committed a crime at Calcutta on a certain day. The fact that, on that day, he was at New Delhi is relevant.
SOME MORE EXAMPLE OF PLEA OF ALIBI DEFENCE:-
If a man named Bill is charged with selling drugs to a minor two blocks from a school, Bill can present evidence that he was at work at a construction site at the time of the sale and, therefore, not the person who committed the crime.
Any person who was with Bill or saw Bill at the construction site at the time of the crime can testify to these facts.
Witnesses could include Bill’s boss, co-workers or the owner of the property – any credible witness who knows Bill was at the site and did not leave around the time of the crime.
Bill is not required to testify on his own behalf to raise this defense. In addition to witnesses, the defense can present video footage or photographs taken at the time of the crime that show Bill at the construction site . If Bill worked in an area where he had to swipe an ID or key card to enter, the records of the card swipes can support his alibi defense
Munshi Prasad v state of bihar 2001 (sc)
In this case court held that the presence of accused at reasonable distance from place of occurrence necessary to prove alibi. (500 metre)
Mukesh v. State of N.C.T. of Delhi, AIR 2017 SC 2161
The plea taken by an accused person was that he was attending a musical programe at a park with his family at that time of the incident. The plea of alibi contradicted the evidence of injured informant, dying declaration of the victim, DNA analysis and finger print analysis. Evidence of authorities of the park revealed that no permission was granted by any authority for a musical programe and no such was held on the date of the incident. The plea of alibi was held to be rightly rejected.
Lakhan Singh @ Pappu v. The State of NCT of Delhi
In this case, the plea of alibi cannot be equated with a plea of self-defense and ought to be taken at the first instance and not belatedly at the stage of defense evidence. In any case, the appellant/accused gives no reason or explanations for not taking this plea of alibi at the earliest opportunity.
Binay Kumar Singh v. The State of Bihar – THE COURT HELD THAT ,We must bear in mind that alibi, not an exception (special or general) envisaged in the Indian Penal Code or any other law. It is only a rule of evidence recognized in Section 11 of the Evidence Act that facts which are inconsistent with the fact in issue are relevant.
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