05. Evidence Act 45-60

Delhi Law Academy

                                                    INDIAN    EVIDENCE    ACT

Section 45                   Opinions of experts

  • When Court has to form an opinion
    • upon a point of foreign law or of science or art
    • or as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions
  • opinions upon that point, of persons specially skilled
    • in such foreign law, science or art
    • or in questions as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions
  • are relevant facts
  • Such persons are called experts

Illustrations

(a)

  • The question is
    • whether death of A was caused by poison
  • Opinions of experts
    • as to symptoms produced by the poison by which A is supposed to have died
  • are relevant

(b)

  • The question is
    • whether A at the time of doing the act was, by reason of unsoundness of mind,
      • incapable of knowing the nature of the Act
  • Opinions of experts upon the question
    • whether symptoms exhibited by A commonly show unsoundness of mind
    • and whether such unsoundness of mind usually renders persons
      • incapable of knowing the nature of the acts which they do
    • are relevant

(c)

  • The question is
    • whether a certain document was written by A
  • Another document is produced
    • which is proved or admitted to have been written by A
  • Opinions of experts on the question
    • whether the two documents were written by the same person or by different persons
  • are relevant

 

Section 46                   Facts bearing upon opinions of experts

  • Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant
    • if they support or are inconsistent with opinions of experts
    • when such opinions are relevant

Illustrations

(a)

  • The question is
    • whether A was poisoned by a certain poison
  • The fact that
    • other persons who were poisoned by that poison exhibited symptoms
    • which experts affirm or deny to be symptoms of that poison
  • is relevant

(b)

  • The question is
    • whether an obstruction to a harbor is caused by a certain sea-wall
  • The fact that
    • other harbors similarly situated but where there were no such sea-walls
    • began to be obstructed at about the same time
  • is relevant

 

Section 47                   Opinion as to handwriting, when relevant

  • When Court has to form an opinion
    • as to the person by whom any document was written or signed
  • opinion of any person
    • acquainted with handwriting of the person by whom it is supposed to be written or signed
  • is a relevant fact

 

Illustration

  • The question is
    • whether a given letter is in the handwriting of A, a merchant in London
  • B is a merchant in Calcutta, who has written letters addressed to A
    • and received letters purporting to be written by him
  • C is B’s clerk
    • whose duty it was to examine and file B’s correspondence
  • D is B’s broker
    • to whom B habitually submitted letters written by A for advising him thereon
  • Opinions of B, C and D
    • on the question whether the letter is in the handwriting of A
  • are relevant
    • though neither B, C and D ever saw A write

 

Section 47A                 Opinion as to digital signature where relevant

  • When the Court has to form an opinion
    • as to the digital signature of any person
  • Opinion of the Certifying Authority
    • which issued the Digital Signature Certificate
  • is a relevant fact


Section 48                   Opinion as to existence of right or custom

  • When Court has to form an opinion
    • as to existence of any general custom or right
  • Opinions as to existence of such custom or right
    • of persons who would be likely to know of its existence if it existed
  • are relevant

Illustration

  • Right of villagers of a particular village to use water of a particular well
    • is a general right within the meaning of this section


Section 50
                   Opinion on relationship, when relevant

  • When Court has to form an opinion
    • as to relationship of one person to another
  • opinion expressed by conduct of any person
    • who, as a member of the family or otherwise,
    • has special means of knowledge on the subject
  • is a relevant fact
  • Provided that such opinion shall not be sufficient
    • to prove a marriage in prosecutions u/s 494, 495, 497 or 498 of IPC

 

Illustrations

(a)

  • The question is
    • whether A and B, were married
  • The fact that
    • they were usually received and treated by their friends as husband and wife
  • is relevant

(b)

  • The question is
    • whether A was the legitimate son of B
  • The fact that
    • A was always treated as such by members of the family
  • is relevant

 

Section 51                   Grounds of opinion when relevant

  • Whenever opinion of any living person is relevant
    • the grounds on which such opinion is based
    • are also relevant

Illustration

  • An expert may give an account of experiments performed by him
    • for the purpose of forming his opinion

 

Section 52                   In civil cases character is irrelevant

  • In civil cases:
  • the fact that
    • character of any person concerned is such
    • as to render probable or improbable any conduct imputed to him
  • is irrelevant
    • except in so far as such character appears from facts otherwise relevant

 

Section 53                   In criminal cases previous good character relevant

  • In criminal proceedings:
  • the fact that
    • the person accused is of a good character
  • is relevant

 

Section 54                   Previous bad character not relevant

  • In criminal proceedings:
  • the fact that
    • the accused person has a bad character
  • is irrelevant
    • unless evidence has been given that he has a good character
    • in which case it becomes relevant

 

Explanation 1

  • This section does not apply where bad character of any person
    • is itself a fact in issue

Explanation 2

  • A previous conviction is relevant
    • as evidence of bad character

 

Section 55                   Character as affecting damages

  • In civil cases:
  • the fact that
    • character of any person is such
    • as to affect the amount of damages which he ought to receive
  • is relevant

 

Explanation

  • In these sections “character” includes both reputation and disposition
  • but except in section 54
    • evidence may be given only of general reputation and general disposition
    • and not of particular acts by which reputation or disposition were shown

 

 

                                                 CHAPTER    III 

                        FACTS   WHICH   NEED   NOT   BE   PROVED

Section 56                   Fact Judicially noticeable need not be proved

  • No fact of which Court will take judicial notice
    • need be proved

 

Section 57                   Facts of which Court must take judicial notice

Court shall take judicial notice of these facts:

  • All laws in force in the territory of India
  • All public Acts passed by Parliament of United Kingdom
  • The course of proceeding
    • of Parliament of United Kingdom
    • of Constituent Assembly of India, of Parliament and of legislatures in States
  • Accession to office, names, functions and signatures of persons filling any public office in any State
    • if their appointment to such office is notified in Official Gazette
  • Territories under the dominion of Govt of India
  • Names of members and officers of Court and of their subordinate officers and assistants
    • and also of all advocates, pleaders and other persons authorized by law to appear or act before it
  • Rule of the road on land or at sea

 

  • In all these cases
    • and also on all matters of public history, literature, science or art
  • Court may resort for its aid
    • to appropriate books or documents of reference
  • If Court is called upon by any person to take judicial notice of any fact
    • it may refuse to do so
    • unless and until such person produces any book or document necessary to enable it to do so

 

Section 58                   Facts admitted need not be proved

  • No fact need to be proved in any proceeding
    • which parties thereto or their agents agree to admit at the hearing or
    • which, before hearing, they agree to admit by any writing under their hands
    • or which by any rule of pleading they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings
  • Provided that the Court may, in its discretion
    • require the facts admitted to be proved otherwise than by such admissions

 

 

                                                           CHAPTER    IV 

                                                      ORAL    EVIDENCE

Section 59                   Proof of facts by oral evidence

  • All facts may be proved by oral evidence
    • except contents of documents or electronic records

 

Section 60                   Oral evidence must be direct

  • Oral evidence must, in all cases whatever, be direct
  • that is to say:
  • if it refers to a fact which could be seen
    • it must be the evidence of a witness
    • who says he saw it
  • if it refers to a fact which could be heard
    • it must be the evidence of a witness
    • who says he heard it
  • if it refers to a fact which could be perceived by any other sense or in any other manner
    • it must be the evidence of a witness
    • who says he perceived it by that sense or in that manner
  • if it refers to an opinion or to the grounds on which that opinion is held
    • it must be the evidence of the person
    • who holds that opinion on those grounds
  • Provided that
    • opinions of experts expressed in any treatise commonly offered for sale
    • and the grounds on which such opinions are held
  • may be proved by production of such treatises
    • if the author is dead
    • or cannot be found
    • or has become incapable of giving evidence
    • or cannot be called as a witness without an unreasonable delay or expense
  • If oral evidence refers to
    • existence or condition of any material thing other than a document
  • Court may require production of such material thing for its inspection