Alibi is a Latin word, which means elsewhere. It is used when the accused
takes the plea that when the occurrence took place he was elsewhere. In such a
situation the prosecution has to discharge the burden satisfactorily. Once the
prosecution is successful in discharging the burden it is incumbent on the
accused who takes the place of alibi to prove it with absolute certainly. An
alibi is not an exception envisaged in the IPC or any other law. It is a rule of
evidence recognized by Section 11 of the Evidence Act that facts inconsistent
with fact in issue are relevant. However it cannot be the sole link or sole
circumstance to bare conviction. When one fact is necessary to the hypothesis of
the guilt of the accused, but strikingly absent in the chain of circumstantial
evidence, the prosecution case certainly will fail. Because, an alibi the
relevancy of which is totally inconsistence with hypothesis that the accused had
committed an offence.
When the accused took the plea of alibi the burden of proof lies on him under
section 103 of this Act. If a person is charged with murder he is to prove that
he was elsewhere. The plea of alibi has to be taken at the earliest opportunity
and it has to be proved to the satisfaction of the court.
Where an alleged offense has been committed and the prosecution accuses a person
of having committed the same it would be a complete answer to the accusation
for that person to plead that he was at that time elsewhere; this has of course
no reference to offense in which time or place are not material factors; and if
that person succeeds in establishing that plea technically called the plea of
alibi he will be entitled to an acquittal. The reason is that what may appear on
examination of the defence evidence alone to be proved may turn out really not
to be so, viewed in the light of evidence to the contrary adduced by the
When to raise the plea of alibi:
In order for a plea of alibi to be effective, it is always wise to make the plea
at the earliest possible time in the initial stage of a case; this stage could
be at the stage of framing of charge or preliminary hearing. However, in some
jurisdictions, there may be a requirement that the accused disclose a defence
prior to the trial. On the contrary, jurists in other jurisdictions have held an
opinion that the mandatory early disclosure of alibis is unfair, possibly even
Lakhan Singh @ Pappu vs The State of NCT of Delhi
, Delhi HC Crl Appeal No.
The plea of alibi cannot be equated with a plea of self-defence and ought to be
taken at the first instance and not belatedly at the stage of defence 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 vs The State of Bihar
, (1997) 1 SCC 283
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.
(a) When the defence of alibi fails-Failure on the part of accused to establish
plea of alibi does not help the prosecution and it cannot be held that the
accused was present at the scene of occurrence, the prosecution must prove it by
positive evidence. Thus the mere failure on the part of the accused to establish
the plea of alibi, shall not lead to an inference that the accused was present
at the scene of occurrence.
(b) Non access of husband to show illegitimacy of the child:
Since legitimacy of the child implies a cohabitation between husband and wife.
For disproving the legitimacy the husband has to prove that he had no
cohabitation with his wife during the probable time of begetting as he was in
(c) Survival of the alleged deceased:
A is accused of murdering В on 10th August 1996 at Delhi. But A tried to prove
and led evidence to show that В was alive on 25th December 2004. Both the facts
are relevant under section 11 only because these are not consisting with each
(d) Commission of an offence by a third person:
A is charged with the murder of B. A leads evidence that В was murdered by C.
This is admissible being inconsistent with fact in issue.
(e) Self-infliction of harm:
A is charged with the murder of B. A proves that В had committed suicide. The
evidence is admissible.
(f) Non-execution of document:
A files a suit for recovery of possession against В alleging that he has
purchased the land. В leads evidence that the deed of sale was not executed as
yet. The fact is relevant.
1.The law of evidence by Batuk Lal (Central law agency) 2010