Relevancy of motive, preparation & conduct – Law of Evidence


According to section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act, the following facts are relevant-

  • Motive & Preparation:

Facts showing or constituting a motive or preparation for any fact in issue or relevant fact.

  • Conduct:
    • Facts that constitute the conduct of any party or of any agent to any party, to any suit or proceeding, in reference to such suit or proceeding, or in reference to any fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, or
    • facts that constitute the conduct of any person an offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding ,

if such conduct influences or is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact and whether it was previous or subsequent thereto.

For conduct, the section further provides two explanations:

  1. “Conduct” in this section exclude statements except those accompanying and explaining acts other than statements, but this explanation is not to affect the relevancy of statements under any other section of the Indian Evidence Act.
  2. When the conduct of any person is relevant, any statement made to him or in his presence and hearing, which affects such conduct, will be relevant.


A motive is that which moves a man to do a particular act. It is an emotion, a state of mind supposed to have led to the commission of an act. It is generally prooved by two sorts of circumstantial evidences- by the conduct of any person or by the events around that person which could excite that emotion.

In State of M.P. v. Dhirendra Kumar AIR 1997 SC 318, Munnibai was killed. Respondent Dhirendra Kumar had an evil eye on her. Respondent was a tenant in the house of father-in-law of the deceased. She reported the matter to her mother-in-law who in turn told her husband who asked the respondent to vacate the house. Held, it could be taken as a motive.


  • State of Punjab v. Bittu AIR 2016 SC 146 p. 150: “The proof of motive alone cannot be sufficient to convict the accused as it is not a substantive piece of evidence but only a corroborative one in nature.”
  • Wakkar v. State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 2011: “It is equally well settled that in a case which is based on circumstantial evidence, motive for committing the crime on the part of the accused assumes importance.”
  • Natha Singh v. Emperor AIR 1946 PC 187: It was held that motive is not always necessary when the evidences are higly convincing.


Evidence tending to show that the accused made preparation to commit a crime is always admissible. Preparation only evidences the design or plan to do a certain thing as planned, it is not always carried out but is more or less likely to be carried out. The existence of a plan is always used in daily life as the basis of inferences to the act planned. The preparation on part of the accused can be to accomplish the crime, to prevent the discovery of crime or to aid the escape of the criminal and avert suspicion.

  • Appu v. State AIR 1971 Mad 194.: An inn-keeper were accused of murdering a guest. It was shown that on the night of murder, they sent the maid servant out of the house so that there may not be anyone to see the offence being committed. When she returned the next morning, she was made to sleep in the other part of the building. This preparation was deemed as relevant as it was made to prevent the discovery of the crime.
  • Mohan Lal v. Emperor AIR 1937 Sind 293: The accused was charged with cheating for importing goods in Karachi port without paying the proper custom duty. Evidence was adduced of previous visit of the accused to the port of Okha, where it was said he tried to make some arrangements with the customs whereby he could import other goods without payment of proper duty. The evidence was held admissible.


The conduct is the expression in outward behaviour of the quality or condition operating to produce those effects. These results are the traces by which we may infer the moving cause. A man’s conduct includes what he does and at the same time, what he omits to do.

  • Paras Ram v. State AIR 1970 ALJ 149­­: Sadho was tried for the murder of Srimati Manni. After being arrested by the police he made a statement to the police that he had the key of the house of co-accused Parasram and that he would recover the dead body of Srimati Manni from the house of co-accused where it was buried. Sadho opened the lock of the house of co-accused with a key which was in his possession and Sadho went inside the house and dug out the dead body of Smt. Manni from the corner of a kothri. The fact of opening of the lock by the accused and digging out the body of Smt. Manni are relevant as conduct.
  • Emperor v. Moti Ram AIR 1936 Bom. 372: Moti Ram and Ram Singh were tried for the murder of Sita. She was found injured on her neck in a room. One Bhika reached the house and found the door chained from outside. On entering the house he found Sira reclining on the floor with her throat cut and bleeding profusely. By her side lay a vili. Bhika locked the door and went to the police station to make a report. When the Sub-inspector entered the house with witnesses he found Sita reclining on the floor and holding her throat. When questioned as to who has cut her throat, she tried to speak and with great effort uttered the word “Moti”. When asked further whether she meant Moti Ram, she nodded her head with assent and also pointed her finger to the vili. Later in the hospital also, she answered the questions of the Magistrate by pointing towards the accused. All of these facts were held to be relevant.

Conduct in reference to a proceeding: A is being suspected of poisoning B. He tried in every way to prevent the body of B from being medically examined. This conduct of A in preventing the medical examination of B’s body is relevant.

A conduct to be relevant under this section need not be contemporaneous. It may be subsequent or antecedent to the fact in issue or relevant fact-

  • Bishwanatha v. Dhapudevi AIR 1960 Cal. 494: In an adoption case deed of adoption found not to be clinching but as evidence of subsequent conduct of the parties is relevant.
  • Alijan Munshi v. State AIR 1960 Bombay 290: Complaints of the deceased to the police explaining apprehension of death made two months before the death are admissible.

Author: Rudra Gupta,
3rd Year, B.A. LL.B., Aligarh Muslim University

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