Rule of Relevance in the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
The Rule of Relevance is not a specific concept or provision within the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Instead, the term "Rule of Relevance" is more commonly associated with the principles of evidence and the law of evidence in India. In the context of the IPC, the Rule of Relevance refers to the fact that only relevant facts can be admitted as evidence in a criminal trial.
The Indian Evidence Act, of 1872 (IEA) lays down the detailed rules of relevance in Section 3. Section 3 of the IEA states that:
"No fact is relevant unless it is of such a nature that, if proved, it would be probable or improbable that the fact in issue would have occurred or not occurred."
In other words, a fact is relevant if it has a bearing on the matter in issue. For example, if the matter in issue is whether the accused is guilty of murder, then the fact that the accused was seen arguing with the victim shortly before the murder is a relevant fact. However, the fact that the accused is a vegetarian is not a relevant fact, as it does not have any bearing on the matter in issue.
The Rule of Relevance is an important principle of the law of evidence because it helps to ensure that only relevant evidence is admitted in a trial. This helps to ensure that the trial is fair and that the accused is not prejudiced by the admission of irrelevant evidence.
Here are some of the important exceptions to the Rule of Relevance:
- Facts that are not relevant to the matter in issue may be admitted if they are relevant to the credibility of a witness. For example, the fact that a witness has a criminal record may be admitted to show that the witness is not credible.
- Facts that are not relevant to the matter in issue may be admitted if they are necessary to explain a relevant fact. For example, the fact that the accused was drunk at the time of the crime may be admitted to explain why the accused acted the way he did.
- Facts that are not relevant to the matter in issue may be admitted if they are necessary to rebut a presumption of law. For example, the fact that the accused was seen running away from the scene of the crime may be admitted to rebut the presumption of innocence.