Hon’ able Supreme Court has given the guidelines for Test identification parade

2020 Y L R 644 [Balochistan]
NASRULLAH—Appellant  Versus  The STATE—Respondent

In the case of Kanwar Anwaar Ali, Special Judicial Magistrate PLD 2019 Supreme Court 488, the Hon’ able Supreme Court has given the guideline in detail as under:

(a) Memories fade and visions get blurred with passage of time. Thus, an identification test, where an unexplained and unreasonably long period has intervened between the occurrence and the identification proceedings, should be viewed with suspicion. Therefore, an identification parade, to inspire confidence, must be held at the earliest possible opportunity after the occurrence;
(b) a test identification, where the possibility of the witness having seen the accused persons after their arrest cannot be ruled out, is worth nothing at all. It is, therefore, imperative to eliminate all such possibilities. It should be ensured that, after their arrest, the suspects are put to identification tests as early as possible. Such suspects should preferably, not be remanded to police custody in the first instance and should be kept in judicial custody till the identification proceedings are held. This is to avoid the possibility of overzealous I.Os. showing the suspects to the witnesses while they are in police custody. Even when these accused persons are, of necessity, to be taken to Courts for remand etc. they must be warned to cover their faces if they so choose so that no witness could see them;
(c) identification parades should never be held at police stations;
(d) the Magistrate, supervising the identification proceedings, must verify the period, if any, for which the accused persons have remained in police custody after their arrest and before the test identification and must incorporate this fact in his report about the proceedings;
(e) In order to guard against the possibility of a witness identifying an accused person by chance, the number of persons (dummies) to be intermingled with the accused persons should be as much as possible. But then there is also the need to ensure that the number of such persons is not increased to an extent which could have the effect of confusing the identifying witness. The superior Courts have, through their wisdom and long experience, prescribed that ordinarily the ratio between the accused persons and the dummies should be 1 to 9 or 10. This ratio must be followed unless there are some special justifiable circumstances warranting a deviation from it; (f) if there are more accused persons than one who have to be subjected to test identification, then the rule of prudence laid down by the superior Courts is that separate identification parades should ordinarily be held in respect of each accused person;
(g) It must be ensured that before a witness has participated in the identification proceedings, he is stationed at a place from where he cannot observe the proceedings and that after his participation he is lodged at a place from where it is not possible for him to communicate with those who have yet to take their turn. It also has to be ensured that no one who is witnessing the proceedings, such as the members of the jail staff etc., is able to communicate with the identifying witnesses;
(h) the Magistrate conducting the proceedings must take an intelligent interest in the proceedings and not be just a silent spectator of the same bearing in mind at all times that the life and liberty of someone depends only upon his vigilance and caution;
(i) the Magistrate is obliged to prepare a list of all the persons (dummies) who form part of the line-up at the parade along with their parentage, occupation and addresses;
(j) the Magistrate must faithfully record all the objections and statements, if any, made either by the accused persons or by the identifying witnesses before, during or after the proceedings;
(k) where a witness correctly identifies an accused person, the Magistrate must ask the witness about the connection in which the witness has identified that person i.e. as a friend, as a foe or as a culprit of an offence etc. and then incorporate this statement in his report;
(l) and where a witness identifies a person wrongly, the Magistrate must so record in his report and should also state the number of persons wrongly picked by the witness;
(m) the Magistrate is required to record in his report all the precautions taken by him for a fair conduct of the proceedings and
(n) the Magistrate has to give a certificate at the end of his report in the form prescribed by CH. H.C. of Vol. III of Lahore High Court Rules and Orders.
The measures above listed should, however, not be taken as exhaustive of the steps which are required to be taken before, during and after the identification proceedings. All these requirements are no doubt mandatory but at the same time they are only illustrative of the precautions which the Courts of law demand before some respect can be shown to the evidence offered through the test identification proceedings.

Post excerpts