AN OVERVIEW OF INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT,1872
In a court case, the opposing parties provide evidence to refute one another’s claims. This area is governed by the law of evidence in legal systems. This piece of legislation is important. Both civil and criminal law are affected. Any criminal or civil trial must follow the law of evidence. The purpose of evidence law is to use science to reconstruct the historical events that the parties to a dispute disagree about. The pursuit of truth and serving as a useful tool in the gathering of facts are the two main objectives of evidence law. Relevance and admissibility are two important ideas that the law of evidence has developed. Relevance and admissibility are two terms that are commonly used in the legal profession and are frequently used synonymously in legal proceedings. Both principles are at the essence of the law of evidence.
ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, WHAT CONSTITUTES EVIDENCE?
The following are defined as “Evidence” under Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872:
Oral evidence refers to all testimony given in front of the court by witnesses about facts being investigated that the court authorizes or demands. Documentary evidence refers to all items (including electronic records) presented for the court’s review.
The Supreme Court made the following observations about evidence in the case of Kalyan Kumar Gogoi v. Ashutosh Agnihotri and Anr, AIR 2011. The word “evidence” has been used in common parlance in three different senses: as Equivalent to relevant, As Equivalent to proof, and As Equivalent to the material, based on which Courts conclude the existence or non-existence of disputed facts.
INTRODUCTION OF ENGLISH LAW
In the Presidency Towns of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, english common law and statute law were established by the Charter of 1726. English law was enforced in these Presidency towns by the Courts established by the Royal Charter. The Mofussil domains, or the regions outside the Presidency Towns, lacked a clear law of proof. The laws of evidence were determined by customs and usages. The courts were given complete discretion regarding the admission of evidence. The law of evidence was not governed by any precise rules, hence the mofussil courts’ entire system of administering justice was in disarray.
ENACTMENT OF THE INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT OF 1872
In 1835, the Governor-General passed the first Act establishing the rules of evidence. A number of Acts were passed between 1835 and 1855 to successfully implement the reforms envisioned by Jeremy Bentham.
Acts 10 of 1855, Act 8 of 1859, Act 25 of 1861, and Act 15 of 1869 were also passed, however the Indian courts nevertheless applied English law of evidence when rendering rulings, with the exception of the Mofussil region and Presidency Towns, where just a fraction of English law was applicable. The Judges in the case of Gajju Lal v. Fattehlal, ILR 6 Cal 171 made comments regarding the position being quite unsatisfactory as a result.
SCOPE OF THE INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, 1872
The law of evidence in India is consolidated, clarified, and amended by the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. It encompasses the entirety of India. The Act is applicable to all judicial proceedings before any court in India, including Courts-martial (aside from those called pursuant to the Army Act, Naval Discipline Act, Indian Navy Discipline Act, 1934, or the Air Force Act), but it does not apply to affidavits made to any court or officer or to arbitration proceedings.
SIGNIFICANT CLAUSES IN THE INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT OF 1872
Simply expressed, the “Law of Evidence” is a system of rules for settling disputed facts in legal processes.
Preamble: Presumptions and the clause on interpretation
The act’s preamble and chapter one make up the first section. The terminology used in the Act are defined in this section. The Preliminary part is what it’s called.
VARIOUS FORMS OF EVIDENCE
If any evidence is to be provided, it must be either oral or documentary, according to Section 59. Direct oral evidence is required by Section 60. According to Section 61, either direct or indirect evidence may be used to substantiate a document’s contents. Primary and secondary evidence are discussed in Sections 62 to 66, which also provide that primary documents must be presented before outlining the circumstances under which secondary evidence may be offered. Then there are provisions for providing oral proof to support a document’s veracity (Sections 67, 67-A, 68, 69, 71, and 72). The length of a deed is determined by Sections 73 and 73-A. The Chapter cannot be applied to the terms of Section 100.
ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE
There is only one section in Chapter XI that prohibits a new trial due to the erroneous inclusion or rejection of evidence, Section 167.
The Act is flexible and has changed over time. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2018, and the Information Technology Act of 2000 were three of the most recent revisions to the law.
JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS WITH RESPECT TO THE INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, 1872
State Bank of India v. Om Narain Agarwal, AIR 2011
In the above case, the Court highlighted that the main feature of the rule of evidence is to limit the scope of the dispute before the Court to those facts that have logical evidentiary value in determining a fact and to prevent giving judgments based on illogical conclusions or prejudices, as well as to aid in the administration of justice.
State of HP v. Kishore Chand, AIR 1990
When using circumstantial evidence to prove a murder, the burden of proof is high; all circumstances from which guilt is to be inferred must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; any circumstance that supports the accused’s innocence will grant him the benefit of the doubt; and confessions obtained in violation of sections 25 to 27 of the Evidence Act cannot be trusted.
State of Gujarat v. Adambhai Sulemanbhai Ajmeri, 2014
When the prosecution relies on a subsequent statement recorded after the accused was detained, the Hon. Supreme Court has made it plain in the aforementioned case that such material cannot be considered sufficient material on record even for the arrest of a defendant.
The word “evidence” describes something that is simple, obvious, or well-known. It is referred to as anything that tends to provide proof or evidence, though. Evidence is a process that deals with both the right and the processes, according to one definition.
A number of rules regarding examination, relevance, admissibility, and factual evidence are contained in the Indian Evidence Act. Confessions, character significance, the standard of proof in criminal cases, last will and testaments, professional judgments, and different phases of the witness interrogation.
Author: Anshika Jain,
Amity University, Madhya Pradesh, B.A. LL.B (Hons.), 3rd year