by | Sep 4, 2023

Relevancy of Character in Criminal Cases:-

  • Section 53 ( Good Character,Relevant) – In criminal proceedings, the character of the accused plays a relevant role in assessing their innocence or guilt. The accused has the right to present evidence of their good character, and even when determining the appropriate punishment, the general good character of the accused can be considered.
  • Section 53A (Evidence of Character or Previous Sexual Experience,Irrelevant)- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 introduced this section to offer protection to victims of sexual offenses when there are doubts about their consent. The aim is to prevent the victims from facing harassment during the trial process.
  • Section 54 ( Bad Character,Not Relevant)-In criminal proceedings, the negative character of an accused individual holds no relevance. This is because the court’s focus is on the trial itself rather than the individual, as a person with a questionable character might still have a justifiable case.Exceptions relating to Section 54 are –
  • When the accused has presented evidence demonstrating their good character.
  • Where the bad character of the accused itself is a fact in issue.[Explanation 1 of Section 54].
  • Previous conviction is relevant as evidence of bad character.[Explanation 2 of Section 54] 

Relevancy of Character in Civil Cases:-

  • Section 52 (In Civil Cases,Character to be Irrelevant absolutely)- In civil cases, the standard practice is that evidence related to the character of any involved individual is not permissible to draw conclusions about their behavior.Exception to this general rule of Section 52 are-  
  • When the character is itself a fact in issue.
  • Where character is otherwise relevant.
  • When character affects damages-Section 55 introduces an exception to the general rule stated in Section 52. It allows for the consideration of the plaintiff’s character, whether positive or negative, when determining the awarded damages amount.

In conclusion, the Relevancy of Character in Evidence Act, serves to strike a balance between presenting a complete picture of an individual’s character and preventing the misuse of such evidence to unfairly influence judgments. It underscores the importance of considering character traits that are directly relevant to the case while upholding the principles of fairness and justice in legal proceedings.



Written By Archana Singh

I am Archana Singh, a recent law master's graduate with a strong aspiration for the judicial service. My passion lies in elucidating complex legal concepts, disseminating legal news, and enhancing legal awareness. I take immense pride in introducing my new legal website - The LawGist. Through my meticulously crafted blogs and articles, I aim to empower individuals with comprehensive legal insights. My unwavering dedication is to facilitate a profound comprehension of the law, enabling people to execute judicious and well-informed choices.

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