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“Identification” is evidence in a legal proceeding that alleged thing is an individual, record or something else. Identifying is proof of identity. The identity of the person that a witness testifies has seen on a significant occasion is also important to determine. The witness sometimes testifies that


“Identification” is evidence in a legal proceeding that alleged thing is an individual, record or something else. Identifying is proof of identity. The identity of the person that a witness testifies has seen on a significant occasion is also important to determine. The witness sometimes testifies that he had already seen the individual before or even known him well, and therefore acknowledges that he was seen on the occasion. The person’s identity can be identified by proof of people who know him.

Different techniques are used by investigating agencies to identify a person. These methods included DNA profiling, footprints, the most common test parade, and fingerprints and skull superimposition. Policy machinery uses a Test Identification Parade for the longest period, where the identifying witness never before saw the accused. The two most inherent determinations for all criminal trials are if the suspected crime was committed and whether or not the offender has committed the crime. One way of establishing a person’s identity as the perpetrator of a specific act is by identifying parades.

The identification parade aims to test the truth/veracity of the witness testimony. First of all, before referring the case to court for trial, the purpose of a test identification parade is to reassure the investigative authority that a person who was detained and was not previously identified to the witness, was indeed one of the perpetrators of the crime, secondly, to satisfy the court that the person being detained is indeed the offender.

Test Identification Parade

The test identification parades are one of the methods used to determine a person’s identity as a performer of a specific act. A parade must take place in a case involving contested identification evidence if a suspects request one and one can be kept. A parade can also take place if the investigative officer believes it to be helpful and if the suspect agrees. Identification parade is mostly designed to validate the identity and help the police investigate the accused.[1]

In the case of an accused identity, the evidence before the court is substantive, while the identifying evidence in TIP is primary proof, however, it is not substantive which can only be used to corroborate a witness’ identification as in court. It is worth noting if the witness doesn’t recognize the defendant in court for the first time, the proof of identification in court is not ipso facto, and cannot be rejected because TIP did not precede, the court identification of a person accused without TIP is admissible whereas if the court determines it trustworthy.

Test identification parades applied under Section 9 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, section 54A, and section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The general principle is that, unless and until it is substantiated in a prior identification as in TIP or without any other proof, evidence for the accused’s identification well before a court of law does normally not form the foundation of prosecution, although some exceptions to the rule are present. For instance, the witness knew that accused had been his uncle there in case of the State of H.P. v. Prem Chand [2]who had seen him coming home the day of the incident or the day before, identifying it clearly in the Court of Justice, where Apex Court held that without the need to hold TIP.

In Ramanathan v. State of Tamil Nadu[3], the Supreme Court gave reasons why the evidence through an identification parade was useful, The Court said that “Identification parades have been in common use for a very long time for the object of placing the suspect in a line up with other persons for identification. It enables the investigating officer to ascertain whether the witnesses had seen the perpetrator of the crime and test their capacity to identify him and thereby to fill the gap in the investigation regarding the identity of the culprit.”

In the case of Kanta Prashad vs. Delhi Administration[4], as for the test identification parade, there was indeed no test identification parade was held. In the police officers who filed against the appellants and in previous cases the only people who hadn’t even known them were individuals who showed that the Higher Court did not give much significance to their organization. The appellants were known. The holding of a test identification parade for witnesses who knew the accused before this incident would certainly have been wise, but failure to do so would not make proof of identification in court unacceptable. It would be the Court’s responsibility to reassess the proof unless extraordinary reasons were provided that required such a course, and this Court must not reassess the evidence unless. Lordships of the Hon’ble Supreme Court have held that failure to hold an identification parade does not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in the Court”.


A crime is reported to the police. Any description may have been given of a suspect. In all cases, a specific individual is investigated and arrested by the police. The complainant is then brought to a police station to recognise it that is to say to choose it from a group of people identical in colour. If the complainant chooses him, the police are aware that the witness tells the facts and it is on the right path.

The Test Identification parade Magistrate (TIP) is instructed to take a photocopy of the TIP report under the direct supervision of a Magistrate and to forward it to the Investigative Officer, with clear instructions, one copy of that report before the charge sheet under section 173, CrPC, is submitted. The Magistrate shall, if possible in a sealed cover, maintain second photocopies as a “confidential” database for future purposes.[5]

Special areas for conducting the test identification parade shall be held in all prisons as in State in an adequate manner to perform the procedure. Such rooms had to have one side glass that separates the parade rooms, on the one side the witness and the magistrate, on another. Witnesses and magistrates should never be visible to lined up persons, but suspects and dummies should be seen to the witness as well as the magistrate. The box wherein the suspect and the dummies are placed shall be illuminated and they shall do have another space for changing their attire[6].

If, in any event, there is a police officer in the very same room as TIP, this is governed by sec 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 that would lose its evidence value and will throw the whole research into question. In certain rare cases, the identification testimony may even be conducted through photographs, sketches or even the voice of the suspect. It was held in Dola alias Dolagobinda Pradhan v State of Odisha[7] to allow voice identification when there is evidence that a witness was known enough to identify the accused voice, but the evidentiary value of voice identification was so very vulnerable if the witness could not be shown to know well the voice of the suspect which is supported by circumstances.

In the case Tek Chand v. State[8], however, TIP should normally be kept to ensure the legitimacy of the defence of an accused in this circumstance. If, however, the accused does not cooperate in the proceedings, the officer in charge can, according to sec 54A of the code of criminal procedure of 1973, write to a magistrate. This could also be used to derive the accused’s negative conclusions.


The aim is to determine if the suspect or accused does or does not commit the crime. That is even more important when the accused’s name and particulars are not known to eyewitnesses but are nevertheless able to recognize the accused/suspect by remembering the scenery of the crime and physical characteristics like complexion, height, eyes, face and body structure.

When identification by one witness seems to be the only evidence against the convicted person, it can, as a rule of caution, not be considered appropriate for prosecution. The importance can vary depending on whether the witness is reliable. Furthermore, where the witness was unable to locate but identified by a TIP person, the Supreme Court found that such evidence was farce evidence.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India observed in  Rabinder Kumar Pal v. the Republic of India[9], the photo identification of a suspect and the TIP are only aids to the investigation by an investigator and do not provide substantive evidence. The testimony in the court of law on oath is substantial evidence. The rationale behind TIP, which involves photos of a convicted suspect, is that it helps to investigate because the witnesses do not know him. To make sure that the right person is captured as the offender, the investigating officer carries out TIP.


A test like TIP is a crucial component of the investigation to assess if this is in the right direction. Like any procedure, it has its drawbacks, and if not carried out carefully it can alter the course of a case and hinder the legal process. There is no clear provision in the CrPC or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 that gives an identity parade legislative authority. Identification parades are a part of the criminal enforcement process, though no law requires the prosecuting department to hold one or that gives the accused the freedom to demand a TIP. The provision of Section 162 of the CrPC governs identification parades in this context.

Since a TIP doesn’t comprise substantive proof, its absence does not ipso facto render identifying evidence inadmissible; the weight given to such identification is a matter for the court to decide in the circumstances of the case. In a situation where guilt is identified based on conditions that lend assurance to the existence and consistency of the facts, identification of an accused in a TIP or court is not required.

Author(s) Name: K. Srivalli vaishnavi (Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam)


[1] Diganth raj sehgal, ‘demystifying test identification parade’ (ipleaders, 4 aug 2020) <> accessed 27 sept 2021

[2] State of H.P. v. Prem Chand, (2002) 10 SCC 518

[3] Ramanthan v. State of Tamil Nadu, (1978) 3 SCC 86

[4] Kanta Prashad vrs. Delhi Administration, AIR 1958 SC 350

[5] Murugasamy v. state, 2017 Cri LJ 5011

[6] Murugasamy v. state, 2017 Cri LJ 5011

[7] Dola alias Dolagobinda Pradhan v State of Odisha,  AIR 2018 SC 4020

[8] Tek Chand v. State, AIR 1965 P H 146

[9] Rabinder Kumar Pal v. Republic of India (2011) 2 SCC 490

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