MODULE 18: INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT,
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 – (functional 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 disaffirmative of the existence of some other matter of fact." (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 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 “Means".
• Sec-3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 reads: EVIDENCE means and includes
(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 did not cover 'Material Objects' like, photos,
weapon used in murder, bloodstained clothes etc. which are admitted in practice.
• Court need not concern itself with the method by which such evidence is obtained.
(Pushpa Devi M. Jatia vs. M.L.Wadhwan).
• Tape recorded conversation is held as documentary evidence. (Rama Reddy Vs.
• Dock tracking evidence is held to be scientific evidence. (Abdul vs. State)
Object of Law of Evidence
• Ascertaining 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.(S-56)
v) Facts admitted need not be proved. (S-58)
Extent and Application of Indian Evidence Act
• Sec-1 The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 came into force on 1st. September, 1872.
• 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. Not
applicable to -
i) proceedings under The Army Act, The Naval Discipline Act, 1934 and the Air Force Act
passed by the British Parliament.
iii) Arbitration proceedings.
• The provisions of this Act are not applicable to Departmental Inquiries Domestic
Inquiries/Commissions of Inquiries / Administrative Tribunals.
• Refer to Court - Judicial Proceedings - Taking 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.
Stephen says that Section 5 to 16 are enumerated specifically the different instances of the
connection between cause and effect which occur most frequently in judicial proceedings. They
are designedly worded very 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 the other Sections.
The object of this Section is to restrict the investigation made by courts within the bounds
prescribed by general convenience.
No evidence of facts can be given unless it be either a fact in issue or one declared
relevant under the following sections. Thus evidence of all 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
II. RELEVANCY OF FACTS FORMING PART OF SAME
TRANSACTION: SECTION 6
The facts which, thought 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 form the part of same transaction is 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 issue.
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
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
The conduct of any party of 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 1-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 on 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 on the he
question of his guilty.
The conduct of any part or his agent in reference to a suit or proceeding will be scanned under
this section: 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, or
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 transacted.
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. (Brinder 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 unlawful means.
VII. WHEN FACTS NOT OTHERWISE RELEVANT BECOME
RELEVANT: SECTION 11
Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant-
a) If they are inconsistent with any fact in is Sue 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
a) That the collateral fact must itself be established by reason ably conclusive evidence;
b) That it must, when established afford a reasonable presumption or inference as to the matter in
VIII. IN SUITS FOR DAMAGES, FACTS TENDING TO ENABLE COURT
TO DETERMINE AMOUNT ARE RELEVANT: SECTION 12
In 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:
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 ownership"
The Collector of Gorakhpur vs. Palakdhari Singh (1889) (All) FB-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
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. [Sardul Singh Coveeshar vs. State of
Bombay,(1958) SCR 161]
XI. FACTS BEARING ON QUESTION WHETHER AN ACT WAS
ACCIDENTAL OR INTENTIONAL: SECTION 15
i) The question is whether an act was (i) accidental or (ii) intentional.
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 intentional.
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 accidental.
XII. EXISTENCE OF COURSE OF BUSINESS WHEN RELEVANT:
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
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 alleges it.
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 general rule.
Omnia proesumuntur rite esse acta
It means 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 presumption.
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,
i) An admission is a statement (i) oral or (ii) documentary
Bhogilal vs. State SC-Statement means something stated. It does not requires State to a particular
ii) Which suggests any inference as to any (i) fact in issue or (ii) relevant tact
ii) Which is made by a person authorised by the Indian Evidence Act
iv) And under the circumstances as described by the Indian Evidence Act
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 act 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 (Section 31). 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 (Section 31)
ADMISSION BY PARTY TO PROCEEDING OR HIS AGENT: SECTION
Section 18 lays down fine classes of persons who can make an admission-
a) Party to the proceeding
b) Agent authorised by such party
c) Party suing or suedcin a representative character making admissions while holding such
d) Persons who have any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject-matter of the proceeding
during the continuance of such interest.
e) Person from whom the parties to the suit have derived their interest in the subject-matter of the
suit during the continuance of such interest.
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
c) If such statements would be relevant as against such persons in relation lo such position or
liability in a suit brought by or against them,
d) And if they are made whilst the person making them occupies such position or is subject to
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
Taylor states: The 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 Section 32
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
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. [Bharat Singh vs. Bhagirathi, AIR 1966
WHEN ORAL ADMISSIONS AS TO THE CONTENTS OF DOCUMENTS
ARE RELEVANT SECTION 22
Oral admissions as to the contents oi a document are not relevant unless
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
Such admissions are also admissible whien the genuineness of the document produced is in
ADMISSION IN CIVIL CASES WHEN RELEVANT: SECTION 23
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, or
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 own interest.
CONFESSION TO POLICE OFFICER NOT TO BE PROVED: SECTION
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 the accused
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:
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: SECTION
A relevant confession does not becomes irrelevant because it was made-
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 answered; or
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:
Under this section, a confession made by one person may be taken into consideration against
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 offence
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 quilt operates as a sort of sanction, which, to some extent,
takes the place of the sanction of an oath and so affords some quarantee 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:
Admissions are not conclusive proof of the matters admitted, but they may operate as estoppels
under the provisions hereinafter contained.
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 estoppel they are not
conclusive, but are open to rebuttal or explanation
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.
Narayan vs. Gopal, AIR 1960 SC 100
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 him.