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Actus Non-Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea

  • Criminal guilt would attach to a man for violations of criminal law. However, the rule is not absolute and is subject to limitations indicated in the Latin maxim, actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea. It signifies that there can be no crime without a guilty mind. To make a person criminally accountable, it must be proved that an act, which is forbidden by law, has been caused by his conduct, and that the conduct was accompanied by a legally blameworthy attitude of mind. thus, there are two components of every crime, a physical element, and a mental element, usually called actus reus and mens rea respectively – R.Balakrishna Pillai Vs State of Kerala, MANU/SC/0212/2003: 2003 (9) SCC 700: 2003 (2) SCR 436.
  • To commit a criminal offense, men’s rea is generally taken to be an essential element of the crime. It is said furiosi nulla voluntus est. In other words, a person who is suffering from a mental disorder cannot be said to have committed a crime as he does not know what he is doing. For committing a crime, the intention and act both are taken to be the constituents of the crime, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea. Every normal and sane human being is expected to possess some degree of reason to be responsible for his/her conduct and acts unless the contrary is proved. But a person of unsound mind or a person suffering from a mental disorder cannot be said to possess this basic norm of human behavior – State of Rajasthan Vs Shera Ram, MANU/SC/1428/2011: AIR 2012 SC 1: 2012 (1) SCC 602.
  • Criminal guilt would attach to a man for violations of criminal law. However, the rule is not absolute and is subject to limitations indicated in the Latin maxim, actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea. It signifies that there can be no crime without a guilty mind. To make a person criminally accountable it must be proved that an act, which is forbidden by law, has been caused by his conduct, and that the conduct was accompanied by a legally blameworthy attitude of mind. Thus, there are two components of every crime, a physical element, and a mental element, usually called actus reus and mens rea respectively – C.K. Jaffer Sharief Vs State (Through CBI), MANU/SC/0960/2012: AIR 2013 SC 48: 2013 (1) SCC 205.

  • Court relying on Halsbury Laws of England held that in general a person does not incur criminal liability unless he intended to bring about, or recklessly brought about, those elements which constitute the crime which is traditionally expressed in the maxim “actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea”. Enforcement of a right and seeking remedy are two distinct facets. It should not be confused – Subramanian Swamy Vs Union of India (UOI) and Ors., MANU/SC/0621/2016: AIR 2016 SC 2728: 2016 (7) SCC 221. 

Ei incumbit probation, qui dicit, non qui negat 

Burden of proof lies upon him who asserts and not upon him who denies.

  • The general rule as to the onus of proof is, that the proof of any particular fact lies on the party who alleges it, not on him who denies it, “ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat”. The reason for the rule is, first that it is but just that he who invokes the aid of the law should be the first to prove his case, and, secondly, that a negative is more difficult to establish than an affirmative. These principles have been clearly laid down in Sections 101 and 103 of the Evidence Act – Patel Ramanbhai Mathurbhai Vs Govindbhai Chhotabhai Patel & Ors., MANU/GJ/0774/2018.
  • This rule is adopted principally because it is but just that he who invokes the aid of the law should be the first to prove his case; and partly because, in the nature of things, a negative is more difficult to establish than an affirmative. This is simply a rule of convenience which in the Roman Law is thus expressed, Ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat and is adopted in practice, not because it is impossible to prove a negative assertion but because the negative does not admit of the direct and simple proof which the affirmative is capable of – Jaytee Exports Vs Natvar Parikh Industries Limited & Ors., MANU/WB/0244/2018.
  • Section 101 enacts that whoever desires a Court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability dependent upon the existence of facts which he asserts must prove that those facts exist. This section is based on a Maxim Ei Incumbit Probatio Qui Dicit Non Qui Negat which means that the burden of proving a fact rests on the party who substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue and not on the party who denies it, as the negative is usually incapable of proof – Bhoora Singh Vs State of U.P., MANU/UP/0378/1991.
  • SC applied the principles underlying the maxim to hold that it is a well-settled principle of law that the person who sets up a plea in the existence of the relationship of employer and employee, the burden would be upon him – Workmen of Nilgiri Co-op. Mkt. Society Ltd. Vs State of T.N., MANU/SC/0100/2004: (2004) 3 SCC 514.
  • In an industrial claim, its procedure is guided by the general principles of the law of evidence that he who asserts must prove. Based on the rule of Roman Law – `ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat’ – the burden of proving a fact rests on the party who substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue and not upon the party who denies it, for a negative does not admit of direct and simple proof. It is well settled that the onus and burden of proof of establishing the employment are consequently on the workman – (i) Ravi N. Tikoo Vs Deputy Commissioner (S.W.) & Ors., MANU/DE/3015/2005: 2006 (128) DLT 267; (ii) G.D. Engineering Works Vs Arvind Kumar, MANU/DE/3031/2015.

  • Throughout the web of the Criminal Jurisprudence, one golden thread is always seen that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused. This burden of proof on the prosecution to prove guilt is also known as the presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence sometimes referred to by the latin expression “ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat” (the burden of proof is on one who declares, not to one who denies) is the principle that one is considered innocent unless proven guilt – Ram Pal Vs State of U.P., MANU/UP/2378/2017.


A “suspect” is an individual who is believed to be involved in a crime or unlawful activity based on evidence, information, or other factors, but they have not yet been formally charged with a crime. Suspects are typically identified during the investigative phase of a criminal case by law enforcement agencies or authorities. The process of identifying suspects often involves gathering evidence, conducting interviews, and collecting information related to the alleged criminal activity.

It’s important to note that being a suspect does not imply guilt, and individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Suspects have legal rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. Law enforcement officials must follow specific procedures and respect these rights when dealing with suspects.

The term “suspect” is used to describe the status of an individual during the early stages of a criminal investigation, before formal charges are filed. If there is sufficient evidence and probable cause to support a criminal charge, the suspect may eventually become an “accused” when charges are officially brought against them by law enforcement or a prosecutor.

An “accused” is an individual who has been formally charged with a crime by law enforcement or a prosecutor. This means that they are accused of committing a specific criminal offense, and formal charges have been filed against them. The accusation is typically backed by evidence and legal documentation, and it initiates the legal process against the accused.

Key points about the term “accused” include:

Formal Charges: The term “accused” is used to describe a person who is facing criminal charges. These charges outline the specific criminal offenses they are alleged to have committed.

Legal Process: Being accused signifies that the individual has entered the criminal justice system, and the legal process is set in motion. This often involves court appearances, legal proceedings, and the opportunity to present a defense.

Presumption of Innocence: Just like suspects, accused individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution to demonstrate the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Legal Rights: Accused individuals have various legal rights, including the right to legal representation, the right to a fair trial, and the right to remain silent. These rights are designed to ensure a fair and just legal process.

The term “accused” is commonly used in the context of criminal trials and proceedings, and it signifies a more advanced stage of the legal process compared to being a “suspect.” Accused individuals are given the opportunity to defend themselves and to challenge the evidence and charges brought against them in a court of law.

A “defendant” is an individual who has been formally charged with a crime and is actively participating in a criminal trial. In the legal context, the term “defendant” refers to the person who is being prosecuted by the government or the plaintiff (in a civil case) in a court of law. Here are some key points about defendants:

Formal Charges: A defendant is someone against whom specific criminal charges have been filed, and they are named as the party responsible for the alleged criminal offense.

Legal Proceedings: The defendant is a central figure in a criminal trial. They are afforded the opportunity to present a defense, challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and participate in the legal process.

Presumption of Innocence: Just like with suspects and accused individuals, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Legal Rights: Defendants have a range of legal rights, including the right to legal representation, the right to remain silent, the right to a fair and impartial trial, and the right to cross-examine witnesses. These rights are intended to protect the defendant’s interests and ensure a fair legal process.

नेपाली कानून अनुसार चेक बाउन्स मुद्धामा २ वटा बाटो कारवाहीको लागी पिडितको रोजाईमा रहेको छ।  सर्वोच्च अदालतका विभिन्न समयका फैसलाले समेत कुनै एक बाटो रोज्न सकिने गरी मार्ग प्रशस्त गरेको समेत छ। 

विनिमय अधिकार पत्र ऐन २०३४

बैंङ्किङ्ग कसूर तथा सजाय ऐन २०६४

विनिमय अधिकार पत्र ऐनको बाटो रोज्दा पिडितले फिराद दर्ता गरी सोझै अदालत प्रवेश गर्न पर्ने हुन्छ र सो दुनियाँवादी फौज्दारी मुद्धाको रुपमा चल्दछ भने अर्को ऐन अनुसार प्रहरीमा जाहेरी गरी सरकारवादी फौज्दारी मुद्धाको स्वरुपमा अदालत प्रवेश गर्दछ। 

चेक बाउन्समा कारवाही अघि बढाउनु अघि जारी गरिएको चेक बैंकबाट बाउन्स गरे भएको हुनुपर्दछ।  चेक बाउन्स नगरीकन कारवाहीको प्रकृयामा अघि बढन सक्दैन। 

भारतिय कानून अनुसार चेक बाउन्स गरेर मात्रै पुग्दैन, चेक जारी गर्ने पक्षलाई विधिवत सूचना समेत प्रदान गरेको हुनुपर्दछ, यद्धपी सूचनाको व्यबस्था नेपाली कानूनले समेत गरेको भएता पनि विनिमय अधिकार पत्र ऐन २०३४ को दफा ७० को प्रयोग गरी सम्पूर्ण सूचनाको प्रकृयालाई अपवादको रुपमा लिई अदालत प्रवेश गर्ने प्रचलन व्यापक छ। 

चेक बाउन्सको मुद्धामा बैंङ्किङ्ग कसूर तथा सजाय ऐन २०६४ को दुरुपयोग अलि ज्यादै छ, किनकि उक्त ऐनको दफा ३ (ग) को कसूर हुनको लागी चेक जारी भएको मितिमा जारी गर्ने व्यक्तिको खातामा चेकमा उल्लेखित रकम मौज्दात छैन भन्ने जानी जानी चेक काटी दिएमात्रै उक्त कसूर हुने  हो ।  तर बाउन्स भएको आधारमा मात्रै उक्त कानून प्रयोग गर्नु भनेको कानूनको दुरुपयोग मात्रै हो। यो दफाको प्रयोजनको लागी मुद्धा चलाउनको लागी चेक जारी भएको मितिमा चेक जारी भएको बैंक खातामा उक्त चेकमा उल्लेखित रकम मौज्दात रहे नरहेको निर्क्यौल गर्नको लागी बैंकबाट सो समेत उल्लेख गर्न लगाउन लगाई चेक जारी भएको मितिमा उक्त खातामा सो चेकमा उल्लेखित रकम मौज्दात नरहेको प्रमाणित गराउन नसके उक्त ऐनको मकसद बमोजिम मुद्धाको प्रकृया अघि बढाउन उपयुक्त देखिने हैन, विधायिकी मनसाय समेत हेर्ने हो भने जानी जानी मौज्दात नरहेको रकमको चेक जारी गर्नेको हकमा मात्रै वदनियतपूर्वकको काम कारवाहीलाई रोक्न र दण्डित गर्न उक्त व्यबस्था भएको मान्नु पर्ने हुन्छ । 

वास्तविक रुपमा भन्नुपर्दा विनिमय अधिकार पत्र ऐन २०३४ नै चेक बाउन्सको सम्पूर्ण प्रकृतीको विषयलाई समेटने गरी बनेको ऐन हो।  उक्त ऐनको प्रयोगमा समेत हेरिनुपर्ने केहि तथ्यहरु छन जसलाई सामान्यतः उठान गर्ने गरिएको छैन वा उठान गरेपनि अदालती फैसलाको रोहमा तिनको प्रयोग गरी तिनको बारेमा संबोधन गरिएको देखिन्न। 

चेकको विबाद भएको मा सामान्यतः चेकको आधार बाहेक अन्य विषयलाई हेरिने गरेको थिएन, त्यसको कारण शायद होल्डरको पक्षमा न्यायिक अनुमानको तथ्य हुन सक्ने भएर होला, तर यस विषयमा निर्णय नं १०४२६ को ठगी मुद्धामा सम्मानित सर्वोच्च अदालतले गरेको व्याख्याले विनिमय अधिकार पत्र ऐन २०३४ को दफा १०७ र १०७ क को व्याख्या गर्दै “कुनै वैधानिक कारोबार, कर्जा, वा कुनै दायित्व निर्वाह गर्नका लागी उत्तरदायी रहेको व्यक्तिले धारकलाई जारी गरेको चेक अनादर भएमा मात्र त्यस्तो दायित्व पूर्ती गराउन उपचार प्राप्त हुने देखिन्छ।  त्यसका लागी वैधानिक दायित्व वा कर्जा वापत चेक जारी भएको हो वा होइन भनी निरुपण गरिनु अनिवार्य हुन्छ।………………….. वैध वा कानूनले कर्जा भन्न मिल्ने कर्जा वा दायित्व वापत धारक वा भुक्तानी पाउनेले चेक प्राप्त गरेको देखाउन नसकेको अवस्थामा जारी भएको चेकले चेक अनादरबाट सिर्जना हुने दायित्व वा सजाय आकर्षण गर्न सक्ने देखिदैन।  ……………….. चेक अनादरका सम्बन्धमा निर्णय गर्दा अदालतले कतै कर्जा दिन नसक्ने व्यक्ति वा वैधानिक ष्रोत नभएको व्यक्तिले कसैबाट चेक प्राप्त गरेको र सो चेक अनादर भएको दावी लिई राज्य संयन्त्र प्रयोग गरी भुक्तानी प्राप्त गर्न वा ड्रयीलाई सजायभागी बनाउन खोजिएको हो वा होइन भन्ने प्रश्नमा गम्भिर भै निर्णय गर्नुपर्दछ।” यसरी उक्त मुद्धाको रोहमा सर्वोच्च अदालतले व्याख्या गर्दा देहाय बमोजिमको तथ्यलाई निरोपण गर्नुपर्ने देखाएको छ। 

(क) वैधानिक दायित्व वापत चेक प्राप्त गरेको हो भन्ने देखिनु पर्दछ।

(ख) वैधानिक दायित्व सिर्जना हुदाँ सो को श्रोत समेत वैधानिक थियो भन्ने देखिनु पर्दछ।

(ग) सापटी, उपहार वा खुशी वापत चेक प्राप्त गरेको हुनुहुदैंन ।

उक्त व्याख्याले भारतिय सर्वोच्च अदालत बाट भएको “Legally enforceable debt or liability” को व्याख्या सित समेत तादाम्य राखेको देखिन्छ।  

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