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INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 1 of 1872


  • Part 1
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 2
  • Part 2
    • Chapter 3
    • Chapter 4
    • Chapter 5
    • Chapter 6
  • Part 3
    • Chapter 7
    • Chapter 8
    • Chapter 9
    • Chapter 10
    • Chapter 11
  • Schedules
  • Amending Acts
  • Act nº 1 of 1872

Preamble

THE INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, 1872

[Act, No. 1 of 1872]1

[15th March, 1872]

Arrangement of Sections

PREAMBLE

WHEREAS it is expedient to consolidate, define and amend the law of Evidence, it is hereby enacted as follows:-

1. The Act has been extended to Goa, Daman and Diu by Reg. 11 of 1963, section 3 and Schedule., extended to and brought into force in Dadra and Nagar Haveli by Reg. 6 of 1963, section 2 and Schedule 1 (w.e.f. 1-7-1965) and to the whole of Union territory of Lakshadweep by Reg. 8 of 1965 (w.e.f. 1-10-1967). The Act came into force in Pondicherry on 1-10-1963 vide Reg. 7 of 1963, section 3 and Schedule 1. The Act has been amended in West Bengal by West Bengal Act 20 of 1960 and in Tamil Nadu by Tamil Nadu Act 67 of 1979.


Part 1

Chapter 1

Section 1. Short title, extent and Commencement

This Act may be called the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

It extends to the whole of India1[except the State of Jammu and Kashmir] and applies to all judicial proceedings in or before any Court, including Courts-martial,2[other than Court-martial convened under the Army Act] (44 & 45 Vict., c. 58)3[the Naval Discipline Act (29 & 30 Vict., c. 109) or4[***] the Indian Navy (Discipline) Act, 1934 (34 of 1934)5 6[or the Air Force Act] (7 Gco. 5, c. 51) but not to affidavits presented to any Court or Officer, not to7proceedings before an arbitrator;

And it shall come into force on the first day of September, 1872.

1. Substituted by Act 3 of 1951, section 3 and Schedule, for "except Part BStates".

2. Inserted by Act 18 of 1919, section 2 and Schedule I. See section 127 of the Army Act (44 and 45 Vict., c. 58).

3. Inserted by Act 35 of 1934, section 2 and Schedule.

4. The words "that Act as modified by" omitted by the A.O. 1950.

5 . See now the Navy Act 1957 (64 of 1957)

6. Inserted by Act 10 of 1927, section 2 and Schedule I.

7. As to Practice relating to affidavits, see, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act 5 of 1908), section 30 (c) and Schedule 1, Order XIX. See also the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Act 2 of 1974), sections 295 and 297.


Section 2. Repeal of enactments

[Rep. by the Repealing Act, 1938 (1 of 1938) section 2 and Schedule]

Section 3. Interpretation clause

In this Act the following words and expressions are used in the following senses, unless a contrary intention appears from the context:-

"Court".-Court" includes all Judges1 and Magistrates, 2 and all persons, except arbitrators, legally authorized to take evidence.

"Fact".-"Fact" means and includes-

(1) any thing, state of things, or relation of things, capable of being perceived by the senses;

(2) any mental condition of which any person is conscious.

Illustrations

(a) That there are certain objects arranged in a certain order in a certain place, is a fact.

(b) That a man heard or saw something, is a fact.

(c) That a man said certain words, is a fact.

(d) That a man holds a certain opinion, has a certain intention, acts in good faith or fraudulently, or uses a particular word in a particular sense, or is or was at a specified time conscious of a particular sensation, is a fact.

(e) That a man has a certain reputation, is a fact.

"Relevant".-One fact is said to be relevant to another when the one is connected with the other in any of the ways referred to in the provisions of this Act relating to the relevancy of facts.

"Facts in issue".-The expression "facts in issue" means and includes--any fact from which, either by itself or in connection with other facts, the existence, non-existence, nature or extent of any right, liability, or disability asserted or denied in any suit or proceeding, necessarily follows.

Explanation:-Whenever, under the provisions of the law for the time being in force relating to Civil Procedure,3 any Court records an issue of fact, the fact, to be asserted or denied in the answer to such issue is a fact in issue.

Illustrations

A is accused of the murder of B.

At his trial the following facts may be in issue:--

That A caused B's death;

That A intended to cause B's death;

That A had received grave and sudden provocation from B;

That A at the time of doing the act which caused B's death, was, by reason of unsoundness of mind incapable of knowing its nature.

"Document".-"Document"4 means any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks, or by more than one of those means, intended to be used or which may be used for the purpose of recording that matter.

Illustrations

A writing5 is a document;

Words printed, lithographed or photographed are documents;

A map or plan is a document;

An inscription on a metal plate or stone is a document;

A caricature is a document.

"Evidence".-"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 fact under inquiry;

such statements are called oral evidence;

(2) 6 [all documents including electronic records produced for the inspection of the Court];

such documents are called documentary evidence.

"Proved".-A fact is said to be proved when, after considering the matters before it, the Court either believes it to exist, or considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists.

"Disproved".-A fact is said to be disproved when, after considering the matters before it, the Court either believes that it does not exist, or considers its non-existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it does not exist.

"Not proved".-A fact is said to be not proved when it is neither proved nor disproved.

7 ["India".-"India" means the territory of India excluding the State of Jammu and Kashmir.]

8 [the expressions "Certifying Authority", "9[electronic signature]", 10[Electronic Signature Certificate], 9[electronic form], "electronic records", "information", "secure electronic record", "secure [electronic signature]" and "subscriber" shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Information Technology Act, 2000.]

1. Cf. the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act 5 of 1908), section 2, the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860), section 19; and, for a definition of "District Judge", the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), section 3 (17).

2. Cf. the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), section 3 (32) and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Act 2 of 1974).

3. See now the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) as to the settlement of issues, See Schedule I, Order XIV.

4. Cf. the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860), section 29 and the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), section 3 (18).

5. Cf. definition of "writing in the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), section 3 (65).

6. Substituted by Act 21 of 2000, section 92 and Schedule II, for "all documents produced for the inspection of the Court." (w.e.f. 17-10-2000).

7. Substituted by Act 3 of 1951, section 3 and Schedule, for the definition of "State" and "States", which was inserted by the A.O. 1950.

8. Inserted by Act 21 of 2000, section 92 and Schedule II (w.e.f. 17-10-2000).

9. Substituted vide IT Amendment Act, 2008 prior text was "Digital Signature"

10. Substituted vide IT Amendment Act, 2008 prior text was "Digital Signature Certificate"


Section 4. "May presume"

Whenever it is proved by this Act that Court may presume a fact, it may either regard such fact as proved, unless and until it is disproved, or may call for proof of it.

"Shall presume".Whenever it is directed by this Act that the Court shall presume a fact, it shall regard such fact as proved, unless and until it is disproved.

"Conclusive proof.When one fact is declared by this Act to be conclusive proof of another, the Court shall, on proof of the one fact, regard the other as proved, and shall not allow evidence to be given for the purpose of disproving it.

Chapter 2

Section 5. Evidence may be given of facts in issue and relevant facts

Evidence may be given in any suit or proceeding of the existence or non-existence of every fact in issue and of such other facts as are hereinafter declared to be relevant, and of no others.

Explanation.-This section shall not enable any person to give evidence of a fact which he is disentitled to prove by any provision of the law for the time being in force relating to civil procedure1 .

Illustrations

(a) A is tried for the murder of Bby beating him with a club with the intention of causing his death.

At A's trial the following facts are in issue:-

A's beating Bwith the club;

A's causing B's death by such beating;

A's intention to cause B's death.

(b) A suitor does not bring with him, and have in readiness for production at the first hearing of the case, a bond on which he relies. This section does not enable him to produce the bond or prove its contents at a subsequent stage of the proceedings, otherwise than in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure.

1. See now the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908)


Section 6. Relevancy of facts forming part of same transaction

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.

Illustrations

(a) A is accused of the murder of Bby beating him. Whatever was said or done by A or Bor the by-standers at the beating, or so shortly before or after it as to form part of the transaction, is a relevant fact.

(b) A is accused of waging war against the 1 [Government of India] by taking part in an armed insurrection in which property is destroyed, troops are attacked and goals are broken open. The occurrence of these facts is relevant, as forming part of the general transaction, thought A may not have been present at all of them.

(c) A sues Bfor a libel contained in a letter forming part of a correspondence. Letters between the parties relating to the subject out of which the libel arose, and forming part of the correspondence in which it is contained, are relevant facts, though they do not contain the libel itself.

(d) The question is, whether certain goods ordered from Bwere delivered to A. The goods were delivered to several intermediate persons successively. Each delivery is a relevant fact.

1. Substituted by the A.O. 1950, for "Queen".


Section 7. Facts which are the occasion, cause or effect of facts in issue

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.

Illustrations

(a) The question is, whether A robbed B.

The facts that, shortly before the robbery, Bwent to a fair with money in his possession, and that he showed it or mentioned the fact that he had it, to third persons, are relevant.

(b) The question is, whether A murdered B.

Marks on the ground, produced by a struggle at or near the place where the murder was committed, are relevant facts.

(c) The question is, whether A poisoned B.

The state of B's health before the symptoms ascribed to poison, and habits of B, known to A, which afforded an opportunity for the administration of poison, are relevant facts.

Section 8. Motive, preparation and previous or subsequent conduct

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 of any agent to any party, to any suit or proceeding, in reference to such suit or proceeding, or in reference to a fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, and the conduct of any person an offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding, is relevant, if such conduct influences or is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact, 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 2.When the conduct of any person is relevant, any statement made to him or in his presence and hearing, which affects such conduct, is relevant.

Illustrations

(a) A is tried for the murder of B.

The facts that A murdered C, that Bknew that A had murdered C, and that Bhad tried to extort money from A by threatening to make his knowledge public, are relevant.

(b) A sues Bupon a bond for the payment of money. Bdenies the making of the bond.

The fact that, at the time when the bond was alleged to be made, Brequired money for a particular purpose is relevant.

(c) A is tried for the murder of Bby poison.

The fact that, before the death of B, A procured poison similar to that which was administered to B, is relevant.

(d) The question is, whether a certain document is the will of A.

The facts that, not long before the date of the alleged will, A made inquiry into matters to which the provisions of the alleged will relate, that he consulted vakils in reference to making the will, and that he caused drafts or other wills to be prepared of which he did not approve, are relevant.

(e) A is accused of a crime.

The facts that, either before or at the time of, or after the alleged crime, A provided evidence which would tend to give to the facts of the case an appearance favourable to himself, or that he destroyed or concealed evidence, or prevented the presence or procured the absence of persons who might have been witnesses, or suborned persons to give false evidence respecting it, are relevant.

(f) The question is, whether A robbed B.

The facts that, after Bwas robbed, C said in A's presence--"the police are coming to look for the man who robbed B", and that immediately afterwards A ran away, are relevant.

(g) The question is, whether A owes BRupees 10,000.

The facts that A asked C to lend him money, and that D said to C in A's presence and hearing--"I advise you not to trust A, for he owes B10,000 Rupees", and that A went away without making any answer, are relevant facts.

(h) The question is, whether A committed a crime.

The fact that A absconded after receiving a letter warning him that inquiry was being made for the criminal and the contents of the letter, are relevant.

(i) A is accused of a crime.

The facts that, after the commission of the alleged crime, he absconded, or was in possession of property or the proceeds of properly acquired by the crime, or attempted to conceal things which were or might have been used in committing it, are relevant.

(j) The question is, whether A was ravished.

The facts that, shortly after the alleged rape, she made a complaint relating to the crime, the circumstance under which, and the terms in which, the complaint was made, are relevant.

The fact that, without making a complaint, she said that she had been ravished is not relevant as conduct under this section, though it may be relevant, as a dying declaration under section 32, clause (1), or as corroborative evidence under section 157.

(k) The question is, whether A was robbed.

The fact that, soon after the alleged robbery, he made a complaint relating to the offence, the circumstances under which, and the terms in which, the complaint was made, are relevant.

The fact that he said he had been robbed without making any complaint, is not relevant, as conduct under this section, though it may be relevant as a dying declaration under section 32, clause (1), or as

corroborative evidence under section 157.

Section 9. Facts necessary to explain or introduce relevant facts

Facts necessary to explain or introduce a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which support or rebut an inference suggested by a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which establish the identity of any thing or person whose identity is relevant, or fix the time or place at which any fact in issue or relevant fact happened, or which show the relation of parties by whom any such fact was transacted, are relevant in so far as they are necessary for that purpose.

Illustrations

(a) The question is, whether a given document is the will of A.

The state of A's property and of his family at the date of the alleged will may be relevant facts.

(b) A sues Bfor a libel imputing disgraceful conduct to A; Baffirms that the matter alleged to be libellous is true.

The position and relations of the parties at the time when the libel was published may be relevant facts as introductory to the facts in issue.

The particulars of a dispute between A and Babout a matter unconnected with the alleged libel are irrelevant though the fact that there was a dispute may be relevant if it affected the relations between A and B.

(c) A is accused of a crime.

The fact that, soon after the commission of the crime, A absconded from his house, is relevant, under section 8 as conduct subsequent to and affected by facts in issue.

The fact that at the time when he left home he had sudden and urgent business at the place to which he went is relevant, as tending to explain the fact that he left home suddenly.

The details of the business on which he left are not relevant, except in so far as they are necessary to show that the business was sudden and urgent.

(d) A sues Bfor inducing C to break a contract of service made by him with A.C., on leaving A's service, says to A--"I am leaving you because Bhas made me a better offer". This statement is a relevant fact as explanatory of C's conduct, which is relevant as a fact in issue.

(e) A, accused of theft, is seen to give the stolen property to B, who is seen to give it to A's wife. Bsays as he delivers it--"A says you are to hide this". B's statement is relevant as explanatory of a fact which is part of the transaction.

(f) A is tried for a riot and is proved to have marched at the head of a mob. The cries of the mob are relevant as explanatory of the nature of the transaction.

Section 10. Things said or done by conspirator in reference to common design

Where there is reasonable ground to believe that two or more persons have conspired together to commit an offence or an actionable wrong, anything said, done or written by any one of such persons in reference to their common intention, after the time when such intention was first entertained by any one of them, is a relevant fact as against each of the persons believed to so conspiring, as well for the purpose of proving the existence of the conspiracy as for the purpose of showing that any such person was a party to it.

Illustration

Reasonable ground exists for believing that A has joined in a conspiracy to wage war against the 1 [Government of India].

The facts that Bprocured arms in Europe for the purpose of the conspiracy, C collected money in Calcutta for a like object, D persuaded persons to join the conspiracy in Bombay, E published writings advocating the object in view at Agra, and F transmitted from Delhi to G at Kabul the money which C had collected at Calcutta, and the contents of a letter written by H giving an account of the conspiracy, are each relevant, both to prove the existence of the conspiracy, and to prove A's complicity in it, although he may have been ignorant of all of them, and although the persons by whom they were done were stranger to him, and although they may have taken place before he joined the conspiracy or after he left it.

1. Substituted by the A.O. 1950, for "Queen".


Section 11. When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant

Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant

(1) if they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;

(2) 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.

Illustrations

(a) The question is whether A committed a crime at Calcutta on a certain day.

The fact that, on that day, A was at Lahore is relevant.

The fact that, near the time when the crime was committed, A was at a distance from the place where it was committed, which would render it highly improbable, though not impossible, that he committed it, is relevant.

(b) The question is, whether A committed a crime.

The circumstances are such that the crime must have been committed either by A, B, C or D. Every fact which shows that the crime could have been committed by none else and that it was not committed by either B, C or D is relevant.