Indian evidences act, 1872

DEFINITIONS :

“Court”— “Court” includes all Judges and Magistrates and all persons, except arbitrators, legally authorized to take evidence.

“Fact” — “Fact” means and includes—

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

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

Example:


 (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, etc.

“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.

EXPLAINATION

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.

Example;

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,etc.

“Document”— “Document” 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.

“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) [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 not to be proved when it is neither proved nor disproved.

SECTION 4.   May Presume. Shall presume.Conclusive proof

“May presume” — Whenever it is provided by this Act that the 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 disprove

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.

Illustration:

A is tried for the murder of B by beating him with a club with the intention of causing his death.

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

1 .A’s beating B with the club;

2. A’s causing B’s by death such beating;

3. A’s intention to cause B’s death.

MEANING:

This section illustrates that relevant facts are only to be given as evidence.

The concerned facts in issue are to be only dealt with, during the proceedings of the court and the rest are not relevant to the court. If a suitor were to bring any new unrelated issue, it would neither be accepted nor be heard in the later stage.

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.

Illustration:

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

RES GESTAE: The basic principle of law which is found in section 6 is the doctrine of Res Gestae. Facts which may be proved, as part of res gestae, must be facts other than those in issue but must be connected with it. Though hearsay evidence is not admissible, but when it is res gestae it can be admissible in a court of law and may be reliable evidence. The rationale behind this is the spontaneity and immediacy of such statement that there is hardly any time for concoction. So, such statement must be contemporaneous with the acts which constitute the offence or at least immediately thereafter. ( Evidence which a person has heard and not seen is hearsay evidence)

Res gestae includes facts which form part of same transaction. If any fact fails to link itself with the main transaction, it fails to be a res gestae and hence inadmissible.

In Uttam Singh vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, the child witness was sleeping with the deceased father at the relevant time of incident and was awakened by the sound of the fatal blow of the axe on the neck of the deceased. Seeing it, the child shouted to his mother for help by naming the accused as assailant. On hearing the sounds the mother and sisters of the child and other witnesses gathered at the spot. This evidence was held to be admissible as a part of the same transaction as such shout was the natural and probable as per the facts of the case. In this case if child witness failed to react on the spot but spoke later, it could still be admissible under sec 6.

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

Facts which are the occasion, cause, or effect, immediately 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. (CAUSE)

The facts that, shortly before the robbery, B went 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. (EFFECT)

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. (OPPORTUNITY)

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.

In R v Dunellen (1955 1 QB 388), the accused knew that the deceased take a certain medicine which is administered by his mother, at certain intervals. The accused used this as an opportunity and replaced the bottle of medicine with that of poison.

In R v Richardson (Wills pp 225-29), the deceased girl was alone in her cottage and it was considered to be an occasion for murder.

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 any 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.

Illustrations:

1) A is tried for the murder of B.
The facts that A murdered C, that B knew that A had murdered C, and B had tried to had extort money from A by threatening to make his knowledge public, are relevant.

2) A is tried for the murder of B by poison.(PREPARATION)
The fact that, before the death of B, A procured poison similar to that which was administered to B, is relevant.

Considering the leading case of Queen-Empress v Abdullah (1885 7 All 385 FB), the facts of which are: Abdullah had murdered a prostitute, aged between 15 and 20 years. He had slit her throat with a razor but the girl helped identify him by her conduct which was her hand gestures agreeing to questions asked. The defendant pleaded that this amounted to a statement but the learned judge held it to be subsequent conduct and prosecuted Abdullah for her murder.

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.

MEANING:

Facts which help in supporting, rebutting, explaining or introducing relevant facts are also relevant under this chapter, for example, if a person is absconding soon after being accused of a crime, it is relevant as conduct subsequent and affected by facts in issue. 

In Sainudeen v State of Kerala (1992 Cr LJ 1644 Kerala) identification of the accused through his voice was relevant under this section.

Illustration: 

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 homesuddenly.
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.

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