Indian Evidence Act applies to all judicial proceedings in any court including court martial except if it is done under Army Act, Indian Navy (discipline) Act 1934, Indian Air force Act. Also this Act does not apply to any Affidavits presented to court or to any proceedings before an arbitrator.
The Indian Evidence Act can be divided into 3 categories – What to prove (S. 5 – 55), who to prove (S. 100 – 115), how to prove (remaining act).
- 5 says that in any suit or proceedings Evidence may be given of existence or non – existence of facts in issue and relevant facts and of no other facts. Fact includes anything, state of things or relation of things which can be perceived by the senses including any mental condition. Eg – a man heard or saw something, is a fact; a man said certain words, is a fact; a man has a certain reputation, is a fact; Presence of victim and accused at the crime scene immediately before the incident is also a fact (state of things).
- “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, 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.
Illustration – A is accused of the murder of B. At his trial following facts maybe in issue –
That A caused B’s death (Liability fixed u/s 300 IPC); 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 the nature of the act (A will be cleared from the murder charges as his act comes under the general exception to offences).
- Relevant Facts – these are those facts which are connected with facts in issue such that it can describe, affirm or decline existence of facts in issue. However, the said fact must be connected to the fact in issue in any of the way as mentioned in the sections 6 – 55 of the Evidence Act. These can be classified as –
- Facts forming part of the same transactions.
- Particular kind of statements like admission, confession or dying declaration
- Previous judgements relating to the alleged cause of action.
- Expert opinions.
- Character of the concerned parties.
- Res gestae – This is an English law principle in which all facts which form part of the same transaction are called as the evidence of res gestae, however in India, such facts are placed under sections 6 – 11.
The burden of proof in a suit or a proceeding lies on that person who would fail if no evidence at all were given on either side. Illustration – A sues B for land of which B is in possession, and which, as A asserts was left to A by the will of C, B’s father. If no evidence