TEST IDENTIFICATION PARADE
‘A’ registers a case of attempted robbery against one unknown person. However, within a week on the basis of some secret information, the police arrest a suspect ‘B’. In Test Identification Parade, A identifies the suspect as robber. After six months, during the trial ‘A’ identifies ‘B’ in his examination in- chief but his cross- examination is deferred at the request of the counsel for the accused. On next hearing after one month, in his cross- examination ‘A’ supports the case of prosecution on all aspects but deposes that he is not sure whether accused ‘B’ was the robber as the incident happened at night and he could catch only momentary glimpse of the robber. In his re- examination, he admits that he had identified accused ‘B’ in the Test Identification Parade. There is no other eye- witness to the incident of robbery. How will you decide the case?
The main issue which is involved in the present case is whether ‘B’ can be held guilty for committing the offence of robbery only on the basis of identification of ‘B’ by ‘A’ during the Test Identification Parade done while investigation.
Section 9 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, deals with the provisions of Test Identification Parade. According to section 9 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the identification of an accused which is helpful to prove fact in issue or relevant fact before the court of law is relevant.
According to the provisions of Criminal Justice System, Test Identification Parade is a part of investigation, that is why, police officer has right to conduct the Test Identification Parade and get the accused identified by the witness who has seen him while committing the offence. The main idea behind Test Identification Parade is that the police officer wants to clarify that whether they are conducting the investigation in proper direction.
In the leading case of State of Maharashtra vs. Suresh (SC), the Hon’ble court held that the Test Identification Parade is done for the benefit of the investigation. It is not primarily held for the court.
Moreover, in the leading case of Ramesh Kumar v. State of Punjab (SC), the Hon’ble court held that the Test Identification Parade is not necessary when the witness already knew the accused.
According to the provisions of Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the identification of an accused during Test Identification Parade cannot be the sole basis of conviction and the court considers it only if it corroborates with other substantial evidences and court considers it fully trustworthy, but if witness identifies the accused during Test Identification Parade and examination in- chief but does not identify him during cross- examination, then in such a situation, the court cannot rely upon that witness.
According to the Indian Justice Delivery System, cross- examination is a very crucial stage and right of an adverse party. The main purpose of cross- examination is to check the veracity and trustworthiness of a witness and to shake his credit. But if a witness during his cross- examination adhere to his testimony and proves it just and true, then only, the court can consider his testimony relevant and then only, it will be admissible before the court of law.
But, if during the cross- examination, witness fails to prove his testimony just and true, then in such a case, a doubt will be raised regarding the trustworthiness of the testimony and a benefit of doubt can be given to an accused person by the court of law.
In the leading case of State of A.P. v. V.K. Venkata Reddy (SC), the Hon’ble court held that the testimony of a witness in the court of law is the substantive testimony and identification of an accused in the Test Identification Parade is only the confirmatory of the testimony made before the court.
In the present case, ‘A’ identifies accused during Test Identification Parade as well as examination in- chief but during cross- examination he fails to identify accused by saying that he is not sure whether accused ‘B’ was robber as the incident happened at night and he could catch only momentary glimpse of the robber.
In this case, witness failed to prove the trustworthiness of his testimony during the cross- examination and failed to identify the real culprit. So, in this case, the court cannot rely upon the misguided statement of the witness. Hence, the accused ‘B’ could not be held guilty only on the basis of the Test Identification Parade because the prosecution failed to corroborate the identification by any other eyewitness. So, benefit of doubt will be given to the accused and he will get acquittal from the court of law.