This article is written by Madhur Smriti Sharma, ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad.
The Law of proof is outlined as a system of rules for ascertaining controverted queries of truth in judicial inquiries. It bears a similar relevancy to a judicial investigation as logic for reasoning. In Law of evidence, we have a tendency to study regarding numerous kinds of evidence and proofs, applicable and valid within the court of law. Further, the item of each proceeding is that the social control of some right or liability that invariably depends upon binding facts. The substantive law, whether or not or not its civil law or common law, simply defines what facts attend represent a right or liability. Before a court will pronounce on the existence of a right or liability, it should ascertain the facts that, in line with the rule of substantive law applicable to the case, area unit the required constituents of that right or liability. This duty of ascertaining the facts that area unit the essential components of a right of liability is that the primary, and maybe the foremost tough, operate of the court. The inquiry into these facts is regulated by a group of rules and principles that blow over the name of “Law of Evidence”. The primary task of a court is to determine the facts, the principles by which the inquiry before him is regulated mustn’t, in their fundamentals, dissent from those of that the other seeker once truth regulates his inquiries.
Historically, the Law of evidence, perhaps delineates as the child of the legal system. It absolutely was born, and has developed, with this ancient Anglo-Saxon establishment and remains nowadays as a characteristic feature of the system of communicator countries as, quite recently, the legal system of their judicial organizations. It’s going to be remarked as the terrible kick-off that the Indian Evidence Act, that was written by Sir James Fitzjames author, the distinguished jurist and politician, may be a distinctive piece of legislation that isn’t to be found anyplace else within the world. Within the symmetry of its structure, within the clearness and also the fullness of its outline, within the expressive style of its expressions, and within the compactness of its subject-matter, the work stands out incomparable and incomparable. a plan of the concision and comprehensive of the work is also forms by the actual fact that within the 167 principally single sentenced sections of the Act, the framer has compressed a subject-matter that covers some 6000 closely written pages of the work of the American author, and yet, throughout over hundred years that the Act has been operative, no necessary modification of principle or detail has been deemed necessary, and few question of proof has ever arisen that an answer in these 167 sections has not been found.
Scheme of the Evidence Act
The Act is split into 3 main parts;
1. Relevancy of facts
3. Production and result of proof
Part one of the IEA, is concerned with defining what facts are also given obvious so as to prove the actual fact in issue. This can be the subject-matter of chapter two of the Act consisting of starting from section six to fifty five. The fiftieth section which can be delineated because the cornerstone of the structure of half one specifies the actual fact which will tend within the proof. For the aim, truths are a unit divided into (1) truths in issue and (2) relevant fact each of those categories of fact having been antecedent outlined in section three. The excellence between truths in issue and relevant fact may be a basic one and should be completely comprehend to know and appreciate the total structure of the Act. Each right or liability that becomes the topic of legal proceeding, perpetually depends upon bound facts.
The proof Act specifies five instances of affiliation which can exist between the evidentiary truth and also the truth to be tried, so as to create the previous relevant;
1. Facts connected with the actual fact to be proved- sections 6-16
2. Statements regarding the actual fact to be proved- sections 17-39
3. Choices regarding the actual fact to be proved- sections 40-44
4. Opinions regarding the actual fact to be proved- sections 45-51
5. Character of the persons WHO area unit involved with the actual fact to be proved- sections 52-55
Part II of the IEA deals with the mode of proof. It consists of four chapters containing forty five sections. It deals with;
1. Judicial notice
2. Oral proof
4. Categories of documents
5. Writings, once exclusive
6. Principles of provisions in documentary proof
Part III of the IEA deals with the topic of ‘Production of Evidence’. This half contains three chapters and sixty seven sections.
History of the Law of the Evidence
The enactment of Indian Evidence Act was a landmark judicial measure in Indian History as the entire system of concepts refers to the acceptability of the law. Before passing of the Act there was no single exhaustive code containing the law of evidence of uniform application in the country. The rules of evidence were different in case of different individuals based on different social groups and communities of India, as well as his or her caste, religion and social faith. In the three Presidency towns of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay the courts followed the English rules of evidence. Outside the presidency towns, on the other hand, as there were no definite rules relating to law of evidence, the mofussil courts enjoyed unregulated liberty in the matter of admission of evidence. The administration of justice in the mofussil courts was in chaos. Later on, some regulations and enactments were passed. Act 11 of 1855 partially codified the law of evidence in its application to courts both in the Mofussil and in the Presidency towns. By the time the Act was passed a vast body of ‘customary rules’, mainly derived from English law, had developed chaotically. A need to replace the chaos by a code was felt and in 1868 Mr. Henry Maine prepared a draft of the Law of Evidence. It was discarded as not suited to Indian conditions. Later in 1870, the task of codification of the rules of evidence was handed over to Sir James Fitzjames Stephen. In 1871, Mr. James Stephen made a new draft which became Act 1 of 1872. Though the Act is a consolidating statute, yet it is not exhaustive. In addition to the general rules of evidence provided in the Act, there are other rules of evidence relating to special subjects contained in other enactments, e.g. section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 66(2) of the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949, created new presumptions against the accused. Now it is not open to the Courts to apply principles of equity, justice and good conscience, in the matters of evidence nor can they admit irregular evidence to throw light upon the issue. The principles of exclusion of evidence laid down in the Act must be strictly applied and cannot be relaxed at the discretion of the court as said in the case of Union of India v. T.R. Verma; AIR 1957 SC 882.
The Act is mainly based on Taylor’s Evidence.
Lex Fori or Rule of the Place of Trial
The Evidence Act being an adjective law, all questions of evidence must be decided according to the law of the forum in which the action is tried. Even where evidence is taken on commission or otherwise from abroad, its admissibility is determined by the law of evidence of the country where the action is being tried. The law of evidence is therefore, Lex Fori, i.e. the law of the place where the question arises. The evidence is essentially procedural law with overtones of substantive law in certain respects.
Evidence and Procedural Legislation
Procedural law is that branch which governs the process of litigation. Trial process of criminal or civil laws in India are ruled by three pillars;
- The Indian Penal Code, 1960
- The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
- Indian Evidence Act, 1872
CRPC/CPC is a comprehensive procedural law for running any case. This procedure includes the assembly of evidence, interrogation of accused, etc. Origin of evidence/proof can be anything including inspection of witnesses. Procedural law includes investigation, where evidence is of greatest value. The evidence can even be electronic. Evidence is usually classified as Oral, Documentary and real. Oral proof can be the declarations made by the eyewitnesses in a court. Documents produced before the court of law for examination are taken into account as Documentary proof. In judicial proceedings, objects produced in a court are the real evidence. All the three evidence can be produced in the court in order to reach the correct conclusion and based on the extent of the case. Email, text, cell phone recordings, etc. are also admissible in the court as evidence. Evidence is for the purpose of proving or disproving something (the alleged fact) before the court of law. In India, production of “evidence” is regulated by The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which is one of the pillars for conducting trials.
Evidence and Substantive Litigation
After the hearing is conducted, evidence in substantive law is used to control the nature of the case and settle the matter. Elements i.e. substance of the case are defined by the substantive law
Without evidence, it is hard to conduct the trial and decide the case. It is difficult to prove/disprove the suspected fact or issue under the dispute, prove the suspect guilty/not-guilty. Hence, evidence plays a significant part at every phase during a trial or in deciding the case.
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