Tuesday 25 June 2024

What is basic concept of plea of alibi? Explain this concept with examples

The concept of the plea of alibi is an important defense mechanism in criminal law, and it is articulated in the S 9 of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam or S 11 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Here’s a detailed explanation along with examples:

Definition and Legal Basis

Alibi: The term "alibi" is derived from Latin, meaning "elsewhere." A plea of alibi is a defense used by an accused person claiming that they were at a different location at the time the alleged offense was committed, making it impossible for them to be the perpetrator.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872:

  • The plea of alibi is governed by S 9 of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam of Section 11 of the Indian Evidence Act, which states:
    • "Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant if they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact."
    • "Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant if by themselves or in connection with other facts they make the existence or non-existence of any fact in issue or relevant fact highly probable or improbable."

Application of the Plea of Alibi

  1. Burden of Proof:

    • The burden of proving the plea of alibi lies on the accused. This is because it is a special defense, and the accused must establish it by producing convincing evidence.
    • However, the standard of proof required for an alibi is not beyond a reasonable doubt but should be strong enough to create reasonable doubt about the presence of the accused at the crime scene.
  2. Evidence Required:

    • The accused needs to present credible and reliable evidence to support the alibi, such as witness testimonies, documents, or other forms of proof that confirm their presence at a different location during the time of the crime.


Example 1:

  • Scenario: An individual is accused of committing a robbery in Mumbai on 15th June at 8 PM.
  • Plea of Alibi: The accused claims they were attending a wedding in Delhi on the same date and time.
  • Evidence: The accused presents wedding invitations, travel tickets, hotel bills, and testimonies from guests at the wedding to support the alibi.

Example 2:

  • Scenario: A person is charged with a murder that took place on 10th August at 6 PM in Chennai.
  • Plea of Alibi: The accused asserts that they were in a hospital in Bangalore attending to a medical emergency during the time of the murder.
  • Evidence: The accused provides medical records, CCTV footage from the hospital, and statements from hospital staff to substantiate the alibi.


The plea of alibi is a crucial defense in criminal trials, enabling the accused to demonstrate that they could not have committed the alleged crime because they were elsewhere at the relevant time. Under the Indian Evidence Act, it requires the accused to present compelling evidence to substantiate their claim, thereby creating reasonable doubt about their presence at the crime scene. This plea must be carefully evaluated in the context of all available evidence to ensure a fair trial.

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