Test Identification Parade; 20 Important Supreme Court Judgments

Case Laws on Test Identification Parade

1. Kanta Prashad v. Delhi Admn. AIR 1958 SC 350

The purpose of holding Test Identification Parade is to test the statement of a witness made in the Court. The test identification parade which belongs to the investigation stage is conducted to assure the investigating agency that the investigation is proceeding in the right direction.

2. Sheikh Hasib v. State of Bihar, (1972) 4 SCC 773

A three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court reiterated that it is only the identification of the accused in the Court which is a substantive evidence and the test identification parade is held during investigation to minimize the chances of memory to identifying witnesses fading away due to long lapse of time.

3. Dana Yadav v. State of Bihar AIR 2002 SC 3325

The Supreme Court culled out certain exceptions to the ordinary rule that identification of an accused for the first time in the Court is a weak type of evidence. The importance of holding test identification parade was highlighted by the Supreme Court in this case.

It is also well settled that failure to hold test identification parade, which should be held with reasonable dispatch, does not make the evidence of identification in court inadmissible, rather the same is very much admissible in law.

Question is, what is its probative value? Ordinarily, identification of an accused for the first time in court by a witness should not be relied upon, the same being from its very nature, inherently of a weak character, unless it is corroborated by his previous identification in the test identification parade or any other evidence.

The purpose of test identification parade is to test the observation, grasp, memory, capacity to recapitulate what a witness has seen earlier, strength or trustworthiness of the evidence of identification of an accused and to ascertain if it can be used as reliable corroborative evidence of the witness identifying the accused at his trial in court.

If a witness identifies the accused in court for the first time, the probative value of such uncorroborated evidence becomes minimal so much so that it becomes, as a rule of prudence and not law, unsafe to rely on such a piece of evidence.

4. State of Maharashtra v. Sukhdev Singh, (1992) 3 SCC 700

Test identification parade, if held promptly and after taking the necessary precautions to ensure its credibility, would lend the required assurance which the court ordinarily seeks to act on it. In the absence of such test identification parade it would be extremely risky to place implicit reliance on identification made for the first time in Court after a long lapse of time and that too of persons who had changed their appearance.

5. Ronny @ Ronald James Alwaris v. State of Maharashtra (1998) 3 SCC 625

The Supreme Court noticed that where the witness had a chance to interact with the accused or where the witness had an opportunity to notice the distinctive features of the accused which lends assurance to his testimony in the Court, the evidence of identification in the court for the first time by such witnesses cannot be thrown away merely because any identification parade was not held.

6. Kunjumon @ Unni v. State of Kerala 2012 (11) SCALE 212

In the latest judgment of the Supreme Court in while referring to its earlier judgments the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that mere failure to hold a test identification parade is not fatal to the prosecution case but the Trial Judge will need to be circumspect in accepting the identification of an accused by a witness in the Court if the accused is a stranger to the witness.

7. Malkhan Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2003) 5 SCC 746

It is well settled that the substantive evidence is the evidence of identification in court and the test identification parade provides corroboration to the identification of the witness in court, if required. However, what weight must be attached to the evidence of identification in court, which is not preceded by a test identification parade, is a matter for the courts of fact to examine.

8. Vijay @ Chinee v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2010) 8 SCC 191

Holding of the Test Identification Parade is not a substantive piece of evidence, yet it may be used for the purpose of corroboration; for believing that a person brought before the Court is the real person involved in the commission of the crime. However, the Test Identification Parade, even if held, cannot be considered in all the cases as trustworthy evidence on which the conviction of the accused can be sustained. It is a rule of prudence which is required to be followed in cases where the accused is not known to the witness or the complainant.

9. State of Himachal Pradesh v. Lekh Raj & Anr. (2000) 1 SCC 247

The Supreme Court relied upon the identification of the accused by the witness for the first time in the Court where the witness and the culprit were face to face.

10. Mulla & Anr. Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (2010) 3 SCC 508

The Tests Identification Parades do not constitute substantive evidence. They are primarily meant for the purpose of providing the investigating agency with an assurance that their progress with the investigation into the offence is proceeding on right lines. The Test Identification Parade can only be used as corroboration of the statement in Court. The necessity for holding the Test Identification Parade can arise only when the accused persons are not previously known to the witnesses. The test is done to check the veracity of the witnesses.

Test Identification is a part of the investigation and is very useful in a case where the accused are not known before hand to the witnesses. It is used only to corroborate the evidence recorded in the court. Therefore, it is not substantive evidence. The actual evidence is what is given by the witnesses in the court.

11. Matru @ Girish Chandra Vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 1971 SC 1050

Identification tests do not constitute substantive evidence. They are primarily meant for the purpose of helping the investigating agency with an assurance that their progress with the investigation into the offence is proceeding on right lines.