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Law of Evidence – An Introduction-Indian Evidence Act 1872,

Law of Evidence – An Introduction

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Indian Evidence Act 1872, – An Introduction

Indian Evidence Act 1872 An Introduction

What is Law of Evidence? ( Meaning of Evidence)

The word ‘evidence’ is derived from the Latin word evidens or evidere, which means “to show clearly; to make clear to the sight; to discover clearly; to make plainly certain; to ascertain; to prove”.

Evidence act contains a set of rules and regulations which govern the admissibility of any evidence in the court of law.

Law of Evidence is a procedure i.e. adjective law and helps in implementing the substantive law.

Definition of Evidence by Sir James Fitz- James Stephen

The law of evidence is that part of the law of procedure, which with a view to ascertain individual rights and liabilities in individual cases,

It decides:

  • What facts may be proved and what may not be proved in such cases.
  • What sort of evidence must be given to a fact which may be proved and
  • By whom and in what manner the evidence must be given by which any fact is proved.”

The draft of the Indian Evidence act was prepared by Sir James Fitz- James Stephen in 1871 and was passed as act I of 1872.

Historical Period

Ancient Period (Hindu Period)

 Classification of evidence by Vashishth

Lekhya( Document)

Witness ( Sakshi)

Bukhthi ( Possession)

Medial Period ( Muslim Period)

Classification of evidences under muslim Law (Kuran is considered for justice)The evidence of children and women are not considered

Oral ( More Preferred than Documentary)




British Period

The draft of the Indian Evidence act was prepared by Sir James Fitz- James Stephen in 1871 and was passed as act I of 1872.

Nature of the Act –

 The Law of evidence is an Adjective law, and, has retrospective effect.It is more procedural law than substaintive law

Adjective law –Those laws which have both Substantive and Procedural Aspects.

Substaintive Law –Substaintive Law contains set of rules and regulations that govern society. It defines the rights and duties of the people.(Constitutional, IPC

Procedural Law – contains set of rules that help in enforcing substantive laws.

Law of Evidence is Lex Fori which means the law of the place of the action.

Lex Fori means law of Court.

The Indian Evidence Act is not exhaustive of the rules of evidence. For the interpretation of the sections of the act the court can look to the relevant english common law,  but the law of evidence which is a complete code does not permit the importation of any principal of English common law relating to evidence in criminal cases to the contrary.

It is imperative. It is not open to any judge to exercise a dispensing power, and admit evidence not admissible by the statute, because it appears to him that the irregular evidence would throw light upon the issue.

Need/ Relevance and functioning of the act –

  • It plays an important role in ascertaining the facts of a case in the process of delivering justice by court.
  • It lays down the principles and rules according to which facts of a case may be proved or disproved in the Court of Law.
  • It helps judges in deciding the rights and liabilities of the parties- arising out of the facts presented to him for further application of relevant laws.
  • It helps the courts in preventing the wastage of time upon irrelvant issues.

What is the objective of Law of Evidence?

The main objective of law of evidence is to aid the court in judging what facts are relevant to decide the truth and to avoid the confusion and how such relevant facts will be proved in courts lawfully.

The Preamble to the Act shows that the Act is comprehensive as it defines some elements of evidence law, and amends and consolidates some.

 It is based on English Evidence Law with few exceptions. It applies to both civil and criminal proceedings. It is not complete (exhaustive) yet. If there is a provision in this Act on any particular point, then the court will have to follow the same. If there is any matter on which no provision is found, then the courts can apply the principles relating to the subject.

There are many statutes which supplement the Evidence Act Some of them are CrPC, CPC, Bankers book evidence act, Stamp act,Indian Limitation Act.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 – Act No. 1 of 1872

Enacted Date- 15th March 1872 ( Received the Governal. –General’s assent )

Enforcement Date – 1st Sept. 1872.

Father of Indian Evidence Act – Sir James Fitz- James Stephen

It is devided in three Parts

Scheme of the Act-

There are 11 Chapters and 167 Sections

Part – 1 Relevancy of Facts ( Ch. 1- Ch.2)Part – II  On Proof ( Ch. 3 – Ch. 6)Part –III Production and Effect of Evidence ( Ch. 7 – Ch. 11)
Ch. – 1 Preliminary (Sec. 1-4)  Ch. – III Facts which need not be proved ( Sec. 56 -58)    Ch. – VII Of the Burden of Proof ( Sec. 101 – 114A)
Ch. -2 Of the Relevancy of Facts ( Sec. 5 – 55)Ch. – IV  Of Oral Evidence ( Sec. 59-60)    Ch. VIII Estoppel ( Sec. 115-117)
 Ch. – V Of Documentary Evidence ( Sec. 61 – 90A)Ch. IX Of Witnesses ( Sec. 118 – 134)  
 Ch. – VI Of the Exclusion of Oral by Documentary EvidenceCh. X Of the Examination of Witnesses ( Sec. 135 – 166)
  Ch. XI Of Improper admission rejection of Evidence ( Sec. – 167)  

Indian Evidence Act Chapter – 1 Preliminary

Section -1

Short title. – This Act may be called the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Extent. ––

  • It extends to the whole of India.

( including J & K by the J & K Reorganisation Act, 2019  w.e.f. 31-10-2019)

  • The Act applies to all judicial proceedings in a court including court martials other than courts martial convened under the Army Act, the Naval Discipline Act, the Air force Act
  • It does not apply on affidavits presented to any Court or Officer and to any proceedings before arbitrator. 

(judicial proceedings are those in which in inquiry there is obligation to take evidence from both sides, to hear both sides and to formulate judgement by the use of discretion).

(Administrative Proceedings are those in which in inquiry there is no discretion to be exercised and no judgement to be formed.)

Commencement of Act.––

  • The Act came into force on September 1, 1872.


Q. 1 Indian Evidence Act was Drafted by – Sir James Fitz- James Stephen

Q. 2 Law of Evidence consist of– Legal rules of Evidence

Q.3 Law of Evidence is – Adjective Law

Q.4 Law of Evidence is applicble to – Both Criminal and Civil Law

Q. 5 Indian Evidence Act applies to – Judicial Proceedings in Courts.

Q.6 Law of Evidence is – Lex Fori

Q. 7 Evidence under the Indian Evidence Act means and includes –Oral and documentary Evidences both

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