Procedure of Test Identification Parade under Evidence Act

According to Section 9

Facts which establish the identity of anything or person whose identity is relevant,

Where the court has to know the identity of anything or any person, any fact which establishes such identity is relevant. Personal characteristics such as age, height, complexion, voice, handwriting, manner, dress, distinctive marks, blood group, occupation, family relationship, education, travel, religion, knowledge of particular people, places or fact and other details of personal history are relevant facts. Various methods like finger/ thumb-impressions, foot-marks, comparison of writing, ‘identification parade by police are used in this regard.

There are following provision regarding identification Parade:

Section 9 Indian Evidence Act ,1872:  This Section makes the identification of accused and properties admissible and relevant facts in a court of Law, but there was no specific provision to direct the suspects to be present for the identification parade by the Investigating Officer.

Section 54A Code of criminal Procedure , 1973 :  Section 54A has been inserted in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 vide Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 w.e.f. 23.06.2006, to meet this situation, according to which, the court can direct the person arrested to present for identification parade on the request of the investigating police officer.

It provides that where a person is arrested on a charge of committing an offence and his identification by any other person or persons is considered necessary for the purpose of investigation of such offence, the Court, having jurisdiction, may on the request of the officer in charge of a police station, direct the person so arrested to subject himself to identification by any person or persons in such manner as the Court may deem fit.

Section 291A of the Criminal Procedure Code : it makes report of TIP by Executive Magistrate per-se admissible without calling him as a witness to prove the report subject to the order of the court. It further stipulates that where such report contains a statement of any suspect or witness to which the provisions of S. 21, S. 32, section 33, S. 155 or S. 157, as the case may be, of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872), apply, such statement shall not be used under this Sub-Section except in accordance with the provisions of those sections.

Meaning :

Identification means proving or finding before the court that a person, article or animal is the very same that he or it alleged, charged to be. Test identification is a process by which the identity of the persons, things or animals concerned in the offence under investigation or trial is established, through a test parade. It is a test to identify a person, thing or animal.

Types of Identification Parades

Identification parades are held in criminal cases to identify

  1. The persons living or dead known or unknown;
  2. Articles including fire arms
  • Hand writing, photographs, finger and foot prints etc.


Following cases highlighted the purpose of Test Identification Parade:

Dana Yadav vs State of Bihar AIR 2002 SC 3325:

The object of test identification parade is to confirm that suspects arrested by investigating agencies are the real perpetrators of crime where they are previously unknown. Thus if accused is well known to prosecution witness or named in the FIR, no TIP is required and it would be meaning less and sheer waste of time to hold the same.

State of Maharashtra vs. Suresh, 2000 (1) SCC 471:

Identification parades are not primarily meant for the Court. They are meant for investigation purposes. The object of conducting a test identification parade is twofold.

  1. First is to enable the witnesses to satisfy themselves that the prisoner whom they suspect is really the one who was seen by them in connection with the commission of the crime
  2. Second is to satisfy the investigating authorities that the suspect is the real person whom the witnesses had seen in connection with the said occurrence.

Matru vs. State of U.P., 1971 (2) SCC 75, 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 the right lines.

Concisely the purpose of test identification parade is to test and strengthen trustworthiness of the substantive evidence of a witness in court. It is for this reason that test identification parade is held under the supervision of a magistrate to eliminate any suspicion or unfairness and to reduce the chances of testimonial error as magistrate is expected to take all possible precautions.

After considering above cases regarding purpose of TIP , following points are noteworthy in this respect:

  • Test identification may be of person or property.
  • It is conducted only in those cases where assailants are unknown.
  • It is conducted during investigation for the following purposes:
  1. to ascertain that the suspects arrested are the perpetrators of crime;
  2. To see that investigation is proceeding in the right direction.

    Test identification parade may be conducted by police/inquiring officer itself or it can only arrange it and get it conducted by some independent person or executive or Judicial Magistrate.

Various facets of Test Identification Parade:

  • Identification by Voice: In Mohan Singh vs. State of Bihar, AIR 2011 SC 3534, the court held that identification of accused from voice is possible if there is evidence to show that witness was closely acquainted with the accused to identify him from his voice.
  • Identification by photograph: TIP can be done by photograph. It is not illegal. Photo identification or TIP during investigation is an aid in investigation and do not form the substantive evidence. The substantive evidence is the dock identification on oath. It was held that photo identification or TIP before the Magistrate, are all aides in investigation and do not form substantive evidence. Substantive evidence is the evidence of the witness in the court on oath, which can never be rendered inadmissible on this count. It is further pointed out that photo identification is not hit by 162 Criminal Procedure Code as adverted to by the defense as the photographs have not been signed by the witnesses. It is only by virtue of S. 9 of the Evidence Act that the same i.e. the act of identification becomes admissible in Court. The logic behind TIP, which will include photo identification, lies in the fact that it is only an aid to investigation, where an accused is not known to the witnesses, the 10 conducts a TIP to ensure that he has got the right person as an accused.
  • Identification by Gait: A witness can identify a person, with whom he is fairly acquainted or is in intimate terms, from his voice, gaits, features etc. even when the light is insufficient to see his face. [Anwar Hussain vs. The State of U.P. and another, AIR 1981 SC 2072]. To the similar effect is the decision in the case of Dalbir Singh vs. State of Haryana, AIR 2008 SC 2389.
  • ‘Identification by Super-imposition technique:
    In cases where skeleton is recovered as the dead had decomposed beyond recognition, the question which need resolution is identity of the dead body. Superimposition comparisons have developed into a useful tool for assessing identification of unknown skeletal remains.
    These techniques fall into three general categories: Photographic, Video and Computer added. All these methods indicate the mandatory use of skull for comparison. If skull of the body is intact, then this technique is employed. It is one of the parameters for personal identification. It is a technique applied to determine whether the skull is that of a person in photograph. It is considered to be facial reconstruction. Generally, this technique is best used for exclusion, but a positive identification is possible if the morphological features are unique and it becomes more valuable when it is coinciding with other data of identification.
    Recently it was employed in Sheena Bora’s murder case, where the skeleton recovered from the forest was identified to be that of Sheena Bora. In the case, the mother of deceased namely Indrani Mukharji is facing the trial as an accused.

Delay in conducting TIP:

The delay in conducting the TIP may affect its credibility depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. There may be situations where the occurrence or incident has left deep impact on the witness that it gets etched in his memory and a person may be able to re-collect the perpetrator even after a long gap of time. It is human nature that some incidents affecting them churn up in their mind every day as they leave indelible impact on them. If that be the case, mere delay in conducting the TIP would not have any effect on it and would be entitled to due weight.

Case Laws :

Abdul Waheed Khan v State of A.P. (2002) 7 SCC 175

It was held that a TI parade should be conducted as soon as after the arrest of the accused

 Anil Kumar v State of U.P. (2003) 3 SCC 569

A delay of 47 days in holding TI parade would not erase the evidentiary value of it.

Brij Mohan vs. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1994 SC 739, In this case, the test identification parade was held after 3 months. The arguments were that it was not possible for the witnesses to remember, after a lapse of such time, the facial expressions of the accused. It was held that generally with lapse of time memory of witnesses would get dimmer and therefore the earlier the test identification parade is held it inspires more faith. It is held that no time limit could be fixed for holding a test identification parade. It is held that sometimes the crime itself is such that it would create a deep impression on the minds of the witnesses who had an occasion to see the culprits.

In the case of Daya Singh vs. State of Haryana, 2001(1) RCR(Crl.) 842 (SC)

The test identification parade was held after a period of almost 8 years inasmuch as the accused could not be arrested for a period of 7½ years and after the arrest the test identification parade was held after a period of 6 months. The injured witnesses had lost their son and daughter-in-law in the incident. It was pointed out that the purpose of test identification parade is to have the corroboration to the evidence of the eye witnesses in the form of earlier identification. It was held that the fact that the injured witnesses had lost their son and daughter-in-law showed that there were reasons for an enduring impression of the identity on the mind and memory of the witnesses.

Test identification parade – Protection against self-incrimination

Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India is also not violated by compelling an accused to stand up and show his face for the purpose of identification. It does not amount to giving of testimony as to the final facts. He can also be ordered to disclose any scar or mark on his body for the purpose of identification.

Non-holding of test of identification parade:

Failure to hold Test of Identification Parade is not fatal in all cases.

Case Laws:

Surender Narayan vs State of UP 1998 SC 3031

It was that the holding of TI parade is not compulsory, even where the accused demands it the prosecution is not bound to do so. However, if the prosecution fails to established the fact that the witness already knew the accused well and it transpires in the course of trial that the witness didn’t know the accused previously, the prosecution would be at the risk of losing the case as held in the case of Jadunath Singh vs State of UP AIR 1971 SC 363.

Awadh Singh vs. State, 1954 Cri LJ 1546 (Patna), it was held that non-holding of a test of identification parade, though may not be a ground to vitiate the trial, but is undoubtedly a very important feature in considering the trial, but is undoubtedly a very important feature in considering the credibility of the witness on the point of identification.

Khalak Singh vs. State of M.P., 1992 Cri LJ 1150, It was held that the purpose of the identification is to test the statement of witnesses made in the court, which constitutes substantive evidence, it being the safe rule that the testimony of the witness in court as to the identity of the accused requires corroboration in the form of an earlier identification proceedings. Such parades, which belong to the investigation stage, serve to provide the authority with material to assure themselves if the investigation is proceeding on right lines and therefore it is desirable to hold them at the earliest opportunity. A further reason is that an early opportunity to identify also tends to minimize the chances of memory of the identifying witnesses fading away due to long lapse of time.

In Rameshwar Singh vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir, AIR 1972 SC 102, it was held that identification of accused by the witnesses soon after the former’s arrest is of vital importance in the interest of justice on the fair play, both to the accused and the prosecution.

State of H.P. v. Lekh Raj 2000 Cri.L.J. 44,  the Supreme Court has observed “The absence of test identification parade may not be fatal if the accused is known or sufficiently described in the complaint leaving no doubt in the mind of court regarding his involvement. Identification may also not be necessary in a case where accused are arrested at the spot….” It was also observed by the court “During the investigation of crime, the police agency is required to hold identification parade for the purpose of enabling the witness to identify the person alleged to have committed the offence particularly when such person was not previously known to witnesses or informant.”


  1. The investigating authority should send a requisition to the concerned Magistrate for conducting TIP of the accused person who is in jail or has been granted bail.
  2. TIP is conducted by Executive Magistrates or Sub Divisional Magistrates.
  3. The magistrate then informs the jail authorities to make necessary arrangements regarding the date, time and day.
  4. The Magistrate selects 2 persons who have no relation with the accused or the witness called “Punch Witnesses”
  5. Magistrate then selects dummy persons having similar appearances to that of the accused. For every accused there should be 5 dummy persons.
  6. The Magistrate then ensures that the accused and the witnesses sit in separate rooms and also makes sure that the witnesses cannot meet the accused before conducting the test.
  7. The magistrate must also see to that the no third person or police officer is in the room.
  8. The magistrate also takes the precaution to ask the accused questions to give him an opportunity.
  9. If there is a distinguishing mark on any one of the persons, a bandage or some other means should be used to cover it and the same should be done for all.
  10. As soon as the witness identifies the accused, he must be asked as to why he identified the said accused.
  11. The entire process should be recorded by the Magistrate in the IP memorandum along with time spent etc.
  12. Objections, if any, by the accused are to be recorded.
  13. After completion of the process, the Magistrate has to obtain the signature of the Punch Witnesses on the memorandum along with his own signature, the day, date and time.
  14. The magistrate hands over the memorandum to the investigating authority to carry on further investigation.

Evidentiary value

The result of the identification parade conducted at the stage of investigation is not a substantive piece of evidence and cannot be the basis of a conviction by itself. The evidence against the accused must be the evidence given by the identifying witness in the witness box.

Without this substantive evidence of identification by the witness in the Court the evidence of identification of the accused or property in a previous test of identification parade even by the self-same witnesses cannot really be taken into consideration against the accused, what to speak of basing a conviction of the accused on such evidence.

Suresh Chand Bahri v. State of Bihar, AIR 1994 SC 2420 , the Court held that identification of accused by witness in the Court is substantial piece of evidence where accused is not known previously by the witness. Test identification parade must be held at earliest possible opportunity with necessary safeguard and precaution.

Ram Babu v. state of U.P., AIR 2010 SC 2143 , the Apex Court observed that identification parade belongs to the stage of investigation. It is meant to test the veracity of the witness and his capacity to identity unknown persons. If adequate precautions are ensured, the evidence with regard to test Identification Parade may be used by the court for the purpose of corroboration. The purpose of test Identification Parade is to test and strengthen trustworthiness of substantive evidence.

Time or place of happening

Whatever fact will help the court to fix the time or place of the happening of the relevant fact can be admitted in evidence. The report of an expert is relevant to fix the time of murder and the marks of struggle on the ground are relevant to fix the place of the crime.

Example: A person was murdered in a train, the dead body was seen at the Karnal station. The ticket found in his possession was from Delhi to Ludhiana; it proves that the murder was committed between Delhi and Karnal.

The post mortem report indicating the probable time of death is covered under this provision as it fixing the time of death.

Similarly, the Medico-legal report indicating the probable time of injuries at the time its examination is also covered under this provision as it fixing the probable time of the alleged receipt of injuries.

Relation of parties

A large number of cases owe their origin to the pre-existing relations of the parties, such as, for example, those of undue influence and of libel.

It should be borne in mind that these seven categories of fact are not admissible generally. They are relevant only in so far as they are necessary for the purpose indicated in each category.


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