INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, 1872
Meaning of Evidence
'Evidence' is derived from the Latin term "Evidere" which means -
"to show clearly, to make plainly certain, to ascertain, to prove".
Taylor says it is afunctional description of court process. The word
"evidence” includes all legal means, exclusive of mere arguments,
which tend to prove or disprove any matter of fact, the truth of
which is submitted to judicial investigation.
Classical exposition of Bentham –
"Any matter of fact, the effect or tendency of which is to produce
in the mind a persuasion, affirmative or non-affirmative of the
existence of some other matter of fact." This definition
comprehends both physical and psychological facts.
• Evidence may bear two meanings or refer to –
i) Means - that tend to create a belief in the mind of the judge; and
ii) Final Belief - actually created in his mind, known as Proof.
Proof is the end and evidence is the means to proof. In the Indian
Evidence Act, 1872, the word 'Evidence’ is used in the sense of
• Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 reads: Evidence means
(1) All statements which the court permits or requires to be made
before it by witnesses, in relation to matters of facts under inquiry
- such statements are called oral evidence.
(2) All documents produced for the inspection of the court - called
documentary evidence. This interpretation is not exhaustive. It
does not cover 'Material Objects' like, photos, weapon used in
murder, bloodstained clothes etc. which are admitted in practice.
Some important case laws on the point are-
• Court need not concern itself with the method by which
evidence is obtained. This was held in the case of Pushpa
Devi M. Jatia vs. M.L.Wadhwan.
• In the case of Rama Reddy v. V. V Giri, it was held that tape
recorded conversation is held as documentary evidence.
• Dock tracking evidence is held to be scientific evidence in the
case ofAbdul vs. State.
Object of Law of Evidence
• To ascertain controverted questions of fact in judicial
proceedings. Evidence is to a judicial investigation what
Logic is to reasoning.
• To prevent laxity in the admissibility of evidence.
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF LAW OF EVIDENCE:
i) Evidence must be confined to the matter in issue.
ii) Hearsay evidence must not be admitted.
iii) Best evidence must be given in all cases,
iv) Facts judicially noticeable need not be proved. (Section56)
v) Facts admitted need not be proved. (Section58)
Extent and Application of Indian Evidence Act
• The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 came into force on 1st
• It applies to the whole of India except J&K.
• It applies to all judicial proceedings in or before a court,
including court martials under the Army Act 1950, The
Navy Act 1957 and the Air Force Act 1950. It is not
applicable to -
i) proceedings under The Army Act, The Naval
Discipline Act, 1934 and the Air Force Act passed by the
iii) Arbitration proceedings.
• The provisions of this Act are not applicable to
Departmental Inquiries Domestic Inquiries/Commissions of
Inquiries / Administrative Tribunals.
• It applies to Court and Judicial Proceedings and totaking of
evidence on oath.
OF THE RELEVANCY OF FACTS (SECTIONS 5 TO 16)
I. EVIDENCE MAY BE GIVEN OF FACTS IN ISSUE AND
RELEVANT FACTS: SECTION 5
Evidence may be given
a) of the existence and non-existence of every fact in issue, and
b) of such other facts as are declared to be relevant, and of no others.
No evidence can be given of a fact which a person is disentitled to
prove under the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), 1908.
Section 5 to 16 of the Act are enumerate specifically the different
instances of the connection between cause and effect which occur
most frequently in judicial proceedings. They are designedly
worded widely, and in such a way as to overlap each other. Thus a
motive for a fact in issue (Section 8) is part of its cause (Section
7); subsequent conduct influenced by it (Section 8) is part of its
effect (Section 7).
Facts relevant under Section 11 would, in most cases, be relevant
to the other Sections.
• The object of this Section is to restrict the investigation
made by courts within the bounds prescribed by general
• No evidence of facts can be given unless it is either a fact in
issue or one declared relevant under the latter sections. Thus,
evidence of all the collateral facts, which are incapable of
affording any reasonable presumption as to the principal
matters in dispute, is excluded to save public time.
• This section excludes everything not covered by the purview
of some other succeeding section.
II. RELEVANCY OF FACTS FORMING PART
OF SAME TRANSACTION: SECTION 6
The facts which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact
in issue as to form part of the same transaction, are relevant,
whether they occurred at the same time and place or at different
times and places.
This section receives evidence of all acts and statements connected
with a happening in such wise as to form an integral part of the
happening. It is based upon the doctrine of res gestae.
The doctrine of Res gestae
Under English law, the facts that form part of same transaction are
called res gestae.
Res gestae means the things done or words spoken in the course of
same transaction. A transaction is a group of facts so connected
together as to be referred to by a single legal name, as a crime, a
contract, a wrong or any other subject of inquiry which may be in
III. FACTS WHICH ARE THE OCCASION, CAUSE OR
EFFECT OF FACTS IN ISSUE: SECTION 7
Facts which are the occasion, cause or effect, immediate or
otherwise, of relevant facts, or facts in issue, or which constitute
the state of things under which they happened, or which afforded
an opportunity for their occurrence or transaction, are relevant.
Evidence relating to collateral facts is admissible when such facts
will, if established, establish a reasonable presumption as to the
matter in dispute and when such evidence is reasonably conclusive
This section provides for admission of several classes of facts
which are connected with the transaction under inquiry in
particular modes, viz. (i) as being the occasion or cause of facts;
(ii) as being its effect; (ii) as giving opportunity for its occurrence;
and (iv) as constituting the state of things under which it happened.
When the question is, whether a person has committed a crime, the
fact that he had committed a similar crime before, is irrelevant.
IV. MOTIVE, PREPARATION AND PREVIOUS OR
SUBSEQUENT CONDUCT: SECTION 8
Any fact is relevant which shows or constitutes a motive or
preparation for any fact in issue or relevant fact.
The conduct of any party or any agent to any party to any suit or
proceeding, in reference to such suit or proceeding or in reference
to any fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, and whether it was
previous or subsequent thereto.
Explanation I-The word "conduct” in this section does not include
statements, unless those statements accompany and explain acts
other than statements, but this explanation is not to affect the
relevancy of statements under any other section of this Act.
Explanation II- When the conduct of any person is relevant, any
statement made to him or in his presence and hearing which affects
his conduct is relevant.
Under this section, the motive which induces a party to do an act,
or the preparation which he makes in its commission, will be taken
into account. Evidence of motive becomes important when a case
depends upon circumstantial evidence only.
This section embodies the rule that the testimony of res gestae is
allowable, when its goes to the root of the matter concerning the
commission of crime
Motive is that which moves a man to do a particular act. Motive in
the correct sense is the emotion supposed to have led to the act. It
is often proved by the conduct of the accused.
Preparation consists in devising or arranging the means or
measures necessary for commission of a crime. Preparation on the
part of the accused to accomplish the crime charged or to prevent
its discovery, or to aid his escape, or to avert suspicion from
himself are relevant to the question of his guilt.
The conduct of any party or his agent in reference to a suit or
proceeding will be looked into. A fact can be proved by conduct of
a party and by surrounding circumstances. The production of
articles by an accused person is relevant as evidence of conduct.
Statements accompanying or explaining conduct are also relevant
as part of conduct itself.
V. FACTS NECESSARY TO EXPLAIN OR INTRODUCE
RELEVANT FACTS: SECTION 9
a) Necessary to explain or introduce a fact in issue or relevant fact,
b) Which support or rebut an inference suggested by such a fact, or
c) Which establish the identity of anything or person where identity
is relevant, or
d) Which fix the time or place at which any fact in issue or relevant
fact happened, or
e) Which show the relations of parties by whom any such fact was
It is under this section that test identification parades are conducted
and in the matter of their evidentiary value, they have generated
much literature in terms of Supreme Court decisions, All factors
which can bring about identification are allowed, e.g. identification
by voice, gait, foot- prints, finger-impressions, photographs etc.
This section makes admissible facts, which are necessary to
explain or introduce relevant facts such as place name, date,
identity of parties, circumstances and relations of the parties.
VI. THINGS SAID OR DONE BY CONSPIRATOR IN
REFERENCE TO COMMON DESIGN-SECTION 10
Anything said, done or written, by a conspirator in reference to the
common intention of all the conspirators is relevant fact.
This section refers to things said or done by conspirators in
reference to the common design. The operation of this section is
strictly conditioned upon there being reasonable ground to believe
that two or more persons have conspired together to commit an
offence. This was held in the case ofBrinder Kumar Ghose vs
Emperor (1909) Cal.
Conspiracy consists in a combination or agreement between two or
more persons to do an unlawful act or to do a lawful act by
VII. WHEN FACTS NOT OTHERWISE RELEVANT BECOME REL
Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant-
a) If they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;
b) 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.
In order that a collateral fact may be admissible as relevant under
this section, these are two requirements
a) That the collateral fact must itself be established by reason ably
b) That it must, when established afford a reasonable presumption
or inference as to the matter in dispute.
VIII. IN SUITS FOR DAMAGES, FACTS TENDING TO
ENABLE COURT TO DETERMINE AMOUNT ARE
RELEVANT: SECTION 12
In a suit in which damages are claimed, any fact which will enable
the court to determine the amount of damages which ought to be
awarded is relevant.
This section enables the court to admit any facts which will help it
to determine the amount of damages which ought to be awarded to
a party when damages are claimed in a suit. The amount of
damages is a fact in issue.
Damages are the pecuniary satisfaction which the plaintiff may
obtain by success in an action. They are limited to the loss which
the plaintiff has actually sustained
IX. FACTS RELEVANT WHEN RIGHT OR CUSTOM IS IN
QUESTION: SECTION 13
Where the question is as to the existence of any right or custom-
a) Any transaction by which the right or custom in question was
created, claimed, modified, recognized, asserted or denied, or
which was inconsistent with its existence;
b) Particular instance in which the right or custom was
i. Claimed, recognized or exercised, or
ii. Disputed, asserted, or departed from are relevant facts.
The cases this section is intended to meet are those in which the
right or custom in question is regarded as capable of surviving
repeated instances of its assertion and denial.
The term “right” comprehends every right known to the law. It
includes both corporeal and incorporeal rights, including a right of
In the case of Collector of Gorakhpur vs. Palakdhari Singh (1889)
(All) FB, it was held that this section is not confined to public rights
only, but it covers private rights also.
A custom is a rule which in a particular family or in a particular
district has from long usage obtained the force of law. The English
rule that a custom, in order that it may be legal and binding must
have been used so long that the memory of man runneth not to the
comary does not apply to conditions in India. A custom observed in
a particular district derives its force from the fact that it has, from
long usage, obtained in that district, the force of law.
X.FACTS SHOWING EXISTENCE OF STATE OF MIND OR
OF BODY OR BODILY FEELING: SECTION 14
Under Section 14, the fact showing the existence of any state of-
a) Mind (e.g. intention, knowledge, good faith, negligence, rashness,
ill-will, good will) or
c) Bodily feelings are relevant when the existence of any such state
of mind or bodily feeling, is in issue or relevant.
Intention, knowledge and similar other states of mind, are matters of
cogent inquiry in criminal cases; in some civil cases they are very
material, e.g in cases of malicious prosecution, fraud negligence etc.
Phipson has stated, “the principle on which evidence of similar acts
is admissible is not to show that because the defendant has
committed one crime, therefore, he would likely to commit another,
but to establish the animus of the act and to rebut, by anticipation,
the obvious defenses, of ignorance, accident, mistake or other
innocent state of mind."
The conduct of each individual co-conspirator including his acts,
writing and statements irrespective of the time to which it relates can
be relied on by the prosecution to show the criminality of the
intention of the individual accused with reference to his proved
participation in the alleged conspiracy to rebut a probable defence
that the participation, though proved, was innocent. Such evidence is
admissible under this section. This was held in the case of Sardul
Singh Coveeshar vs. State of Bombay,(1958) SCR 161.
XI. FACTS BEARING ON QUESTION WHETHER AN
ACT WAS ACCIDENTAL OR INTENTIONAL:
i) The question is whether an act was (i) accidental or (ii)
ii) The fact that it formed part of a series of similar occurrences
iii) Is relevant to show that the act was not, accidental but it was
This section provides exceptions to the popular rule of excluding the
evidence of similar facts.
Where it is uncertain, whether an act was done with a guilty
knowledge or intention or whether it was innocent or accidental,
proof that it formed one of a series of similar acts raises the
presumption that the act in question and the others, together forming
a series, were done upon system, and were therefore not innocent or
XII. EXISTENCE OF COURSE OF BUSINESS
RELEVANT: SECTION 16
i) When there is a question whether a particular act is done or not.
ii) The existence of any course of business, according to which it
naturally would have been done
iii) It will be presumed that the act was done.
iv)The burden of proof that the act is not done is upon the party who
Under this section, when the ordinary course of a particular business
is proved, the court is asked to presume that, on the particular
occasion in question, there was no departure from the ordinary and
Omnia proesumuntur rite esse acta
It means that all acts are presumed to be rightly done. Section 16 of
the Evidence Act is based upon the above mentioned maxim. This
maxim is based on the fact that the conduct of men in official and
commercial matters is, to a great extent, uniform. In such cases,
there is a strong presumption that the general regularity will not, in
any particular instance, be departed from. This is a rebuttable
ADMISSIONS [SECTION 17-31]
ADMISSION DEFINED: SECTION 17
An admission is a statement, oral or documentary, which suggests
any inference as to any fact in issue, or relevant fact, and which is
made by any of the persons, and under the circumstances, hereinafter
i) An admission is a statement (i) oral or (ii) documentary
In Bhogilal vs. State, the SC held that statement means something
stated. It does not require that it be stated to a particular person.
ii) Which suggests any inference as to any (i) fact in issue or (ii)
iii) Which is made by a person authorised by the Indian Evidence
iv)And under the circumstances as described by the Indian Evidence
An "admission" is a statement of fact which waives or dispenses
with the production of evidence by conceding that the fact asserted
by the opponent is true.
Effect of admission:
1) Admission acts as a waiver of proof - if party has admitted a fact, it
dispenses with the necessity of proving that fact against him.
2) Admission is a substantive piece of evidence.
3) Admission is not a conclusive proof as given under Section 31 of
the Act. A person who has admitted the fact has right to contradict
it in subsequent proceeding. Therefore, he can rebut it by saying
that it was given voluntarily under stress etc.
4) Admission may operate as estoppel under Section 31 of the Act.
ADMISSION BY PARTY TO PROCEEDING OR HIS AGENT:
Section 18 lays down five classes of persons who can make an
a) Party to the proceeding
b) Agent authorised by such party
c) Party suing or suing in a representative character making
admissions while holding such character.
d) Persons who have any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the
subject-matter of the proceeding during the continuance of such
e) Person from whom the parties to the suit have derived their
interest in the subject-matter of the suit during the continuance of
All the persons who have no interest in the suits cannot make a
substantive admission. Admission made by a layman has no
importance at all. Section 18 lays down the rule that these persons
can make admissions. This section should be read with Sections 19
and 20 which are also part of this rule.
ADMISSIONS BY PERSONS WHOSE POSITION MUST BE
PROVED AS AGAINST PARTY TO SUIT: SECTION 19
a) Statements made by persons
b) Whose position or liability it is necessary to prove as against any
party to the suit, are admissions
c) If such statements would be relevant as against such persons in
relation to such position or liability in a suit brought by or against
d) And if they are made whilst the person making them occupies
such position or is subject to such liability
ADMISSIONS BY PERSONS EXPRESSLY REFERRED TO
BY PARTY TO SUIT: SECTION 20
Statements made by person to whom a party to the suit has
expressly referred for information in reference to a matter in
dispute are admissions.
This section forms another exception to the rule that admissions by
strangers to a suit are not relevant
Taylor states thatthe admissions of a third person are receivable in
evidence against, and have frequently been held to be in fact
binding upon, the party who has expressly referred another to him
for information in regard to an uncertain and disputed matter.
PROOF OF ADMISSIONS AGAINST PERSONS MAKING
THEM AND BY OR ON THEIR BEHALF: SECTION 21
Admissions are relevant and may be proved as against the person
who makes them or his representative in interest; but they cannot
be proved by or on behalf of the person who makes them or by his
representative in interest, except in the following cases:
i) An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person
making it, when it is of such a nature that, if the person making it
were dead, it would be relevant as between third persons under
ii) An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person
making it, when it consists of a statement of the existence of any
state of mind or body, relevant or in issue, made at or about the
time when such-state of mind or body existed, and is accompanied
by conduct rendering its falsehood improbable.
iii) An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person
making it, if it is relevant otherwise than as an admission.
This section lays down as a general rule that admissions are relevant
and may be proved against the person who makes them or his
representative in interest. Admission duly proved are admissible
evidence irrespective of whether the party making them appeared in
the witness-box or not and whether that party when appearing as
witness was confronted with those statements in case he made a
statement contrary to those admission. This was held in the case of
Bharat Singh vs. Bhagirathi, AIR 1966 SC.
WHEN ORAL ADMISSIONS AS TO THE CONTENTS OF
DOCUMENTS ARE RELEVANT: SECTION 22
Oral admissions as to the contents of a document are not relevant
a) The party proposing to prove them shows that he is entitled to give
secondary evidence of the contents of such documents, or
b) The genuineness of the document produced is in question.
The contents of a document which is capable of being produced
must be proved by the instrument itself and not by oral evidence.
But, oral evidence in respect of contents of a document can be given
when a party is entitled to give secondary evidence of the contents of
such document under Section 65 and 66 of the Act.
Such admissions are also admissible when the genuineness of the
document produced is in question.
ADMISSION IN CIVIL CASES WHEN RELEVANT:
An admission is not relevant in a civil case if it is made-
a) Upon an express condition that evidence of it is not to be given,
b) Under circumstances from which the court can infer that the
parties agreed together that evidence of it should be given.
Explanation: A barrister, pleader, attorney, or vakil, is not exempted
from giving evidence of any matter of which he may be compelled
to give evidence under Section 126.
This section gives effect to the maxim "interest rei publicae ut sit
finis litium (it is for the interest of the state that there should be an
end of litigation).
This section protects communications made "without prejudice",
confidential overtures of pacification and any other offers or
propositions between litigating parties, expressly or impliedly made
without prejudice are excluded on grounds of public policy.
CONFESSION CAUSED BY INDUCEMENT, THREAT OR
PROMISE, WHEN IRRELEVANT IN CRIMINAL
PROCEEDING: SECTION 24
A confession in an admission made at any time by any person
charged with a crime stating or suggesting an inference that he
committed that crime. Section 24 describes the grounds under which
confession is irrelevant-
a) if it is obtained by any (i) inducement, (ii) threat, (iii) promise;
b) Such inducement etc. must have reference to the charge;
c) Such inducement, etc. must proceed from a person in authority;
d) Such inducement etc. must be sufficient to give the accused
grounds for supposing that by making it he would gain an
advantage or avoid an evil of a temporal nature in reference to the
proceedings against him (Section 24)
The substantive law of confession is contained in Sections 24 to 30
of the Evidence Act and the adjective (procedural) law, in Sections
164, 281 and 463 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973. It is
presumed that a person will not make an untrue statement against his
CONFESSION TO POLICE OFFICER NOT TO BE PROVED:
No confession made a police-officer shall be proved as against a
person accused of any offence.
a) An accused person makes a confession.
b) To a police officer.
c) It is inadmissible in proceedings
CONFESSION BY ACCUSED WHILE IN CUSTODY OF
POLICE NOT TO BE PROVED AGAINST HIM: SECTION 26
a) The accused is in police custody
b) A confession is made by him (i) to the police officer (Section 25)
or (ii) to any person who is not a Magistrate
c) Is not admissible in the proceeding and cannot be proved against
d) Exception: It is admissible, if it is made in the immediate
presence of the Magistrate
Under this Section, no confession made by a person in custody to
any person shall be admissible, unless it is made in the immediate
presence of Magistrate. Section 25 excludes confessions to police-
officers under any circumstances. This Section excludes confessions
to anyone else, while the person making it is in a position to be
influenced by a police officer.
HOW MUCH OF INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM
ACCUSED MAY BE PROVED: SECTION 27
a) A person accused of any offence.
b) He is in the custody of police.
c) Some information relating to the offence is given by the accused.
d) Some facts are discovered in consequence of the information.
e) Only so much of information relates distinctly to the fact
discovered, can be proved.
CONFESSION MADE AFTER THE REMOVAL OF
IMPRESSION CAUSED BY INDUCEMENT, THREAT OR
PROMISE, RELEVANT: SECTION 28
If such a confession as is referred to in Section 24 is made after the
impression used by any such inducement, threat or promise has, in
the opinion of the court, been fully removed it is relevant.
A confession is admissible after the impression caused by an
inducement, threat or promise has been fully removed because it
becomes free and voluntary. The impression caused by inducement,
promise or threat, should have been fully removed before the
confession is admissible by the lapse of time or by caution given by
a person holding an authority superior to that of person holding out
the inducements, or by any intervening act.
In determining whether an inducement has ceased to operate, the
nature of such inducement, the time and circumstances under which
it was made, the situation of the person making it, will be taken into
consideration by the court.
The proper place of this section should have been after Section 24 as
it forms an exception to the provisions of that section.
CONFESSION OTHERWISE RELEVANT NOT TO BECOME
IRRELEVANT BECAUSE OF PROMISE OF SECRECY ETC:
A relevant confession does not becomes irrelevant because it was
a) Under a promise of secrecy, or
b) In consequence of a deception practised on the accused; or
c) When the accused was drunk; or
d) In answer to a question which the accused need not have
e) In consequence of the accused not receiving a waning (i) that he
was not bound to make it and
(ii) that it might be used against him.
In Re vs. Spilsbury, (1835) 11 C & P., it was held that statements
made by a person in sleep are not receivable in evidence. But, a
statement made by an accused when he is drunk is receivable
evidence. If a police-officer gives an accused liquor in the hope of
his saying something and he makes any statement, that statement is
not rendered inadmissible in evidence.
CONSIDERATION OF PROVED CONFESSION AFFECTING
PERSON MAKING AND OTHER JOINTLY UNDER TRIAL
FOR SAME OFFENCE: SECTION 30
Under this section, a confession made by one person may be taken
into consideration against another-
a) If both of them are tried jointly
b) If they are tried for the same offence
c) If the confession is legally proved
d) The explanation to section 30 makes it clear that ’offence, as used
in this section, includes the abetment of, or attempt to commit, the
This section says that where an accused person unreservedly
confesses his own guilt, and at the same time, implicates another
person who is jointly tried with him for the same offence, his
confession may be taken into consideration against such other
person as well as against himself, because the admission of his own
guilt operates as a sort of sanction, which, to some extent, takes the
place of the sanction of an oath and so affords some guarantee that
the whole statement is a true one.
But this is a very weak guarantee, or a confession may be true so far
as its maker is concerned, but may be false and concocted through
malice so far as it affects others.
ADMISSION IS NOT CONCLUSIVE PROOF, BUT MAY
ESTOP: SECTION 31
Admissions are not conclusive proof of the matters admitted, but
they may operate as estoppels under the provisions hereinafter
This section declares that admissions are not conclusive proof of the
matters admitted, but they may operate as estoppels. Admission is
defined in Section 17 and estoppel in Section 115.
• Unless admissions are contractual or unless they constitute an
estoppels. they are not conclusive, but are open to rebuttal or
• A mere admission is conclusive only where it has been acted
on by the party to whom it was made. An estoppel, i.e. a
representation acted on by the other party, by creating a
substantive right, does oblige the estopped party to make
good to his representation, in other words, it is conclusive.
Two other kinds of admissions may also be effective:
i) Admissions contained in the pleadings in a case which would
circumscribe the issues and avoid the necessity for proof, and
ii) Admissions made by the parties to a suit on earlier occasions either
in prior proceedings in a Court of law, or in statements made out
of court. What a party himself admits to be true may reasonably be
presumed to be so.
The section says that an admission is not conclusive proof, it does
not say that an admission is not sufficient proof without
corroboration. It deals with the effect as to conclusiveness of an
admission. The express admissions of a party to the suit or
admissions implied from his conduct are strong evidence against