A Note on Section 3 to 5 of Indian Evidence Act

Evidence act restricts what to be produced as evidence

The Indian Evidence Act prescribes what all can be given as evidence in a court while it tries a case or dispute. Every case in fact revolves around some disputed issues.

Evidence may be given only on facts in issue & relevant facts

The evidence act, in its Section 5, states that evidence may be given of existence or non-existence of any fact in issue and other relevant facts (declared to be relevant by the act) and of no other matter.

For example, the facts in issue in a murder case are: the accused stabbed the victim, the stabbing resulted in the death of the victim, and the accused had intention to kill the victim.

That means, by producing some evidence such as witness statement or some documents, one can prove some fact regarding the dispute involved in a case.

What a fact in issue is

The fact in issue is a fact from which any right liability or disability, asserted or denied in a suit or proceeding, necessarily follows. In short, the facts in issue are the main disputed questions in a case.

What is a fact?

A fact is of two kinds: one is anything that the senses can perceive and the other is mental condition a person is conscious of

That means, a fact is something which one can see, one can hear, one can touch, one can taste and one can smell, and the mental state like ill-intention, fraudulent approach, malafide behaviour etc.

What is a relevant fact?

A relevant fact is a fact connected to another as stated by the Indian Evidence Act as relevant in its Sections, particularly Section 6 to 55.

Evidence includes oral statements & documents

Evidence is the legal means to prove or disprove a fact. It includes two kinds: all oral statements which the court permits to be produced before it, and the documents to be produced for the inspection of the court. That means, no person can make any statement which the judge does not permit.

What is a document?

A Document is any substance containing any writing or marking or figures used for recording.

Ho to read terms may presume, shall presume & conclusive proof?

When the word may presume appears in any section of Indian Evidence Act, then the court has discretion to presume or not presume such facts as proved or not proved at its discretion

When the word shall presume appears in any section of the act, the court is bound to presume the fact as proved until it is disproved. That means, the court will presume it is proved initially but the other party has the right to produce evidence and disprove it.

When the word conclusive proof appears in any section of the act, the court must regard it as proved. No evidence is to be given to disprove it.

What is meant by evidence or proof?

Evidence is what is produced before the court to prove some fact, but the proof is the effect of evidence.

In other words, evidence is what is produced before the court to prove some fact, but the proof is the effect of evidence.

The term proving or disproving a fact means

Proving a fact in a case means, when considering the matters before the court, if it believes it to exist (in criminal case) or considers it existence so probable (in civil case), then it is said to be proved.

On the contrary, if the court believes it does not exist or considers its existence not so probable it is said to be disproved.

When a fact is neither proved not disproved it can be said to be not proved.

In conclusion

In a court proceeding, evidence can be given in the form of oral statements and documents to prove some facts in issue and relevant facts declared by the evidence act alone and in no other matter.

When the court, based on some presumption or by disproving such presumptions by rebuttal evidence, believes such facts to exist it is termed as proved, and otherwise it is termed as disproved.

Further reading

  1. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872
  2. Ratanlal & Dhirajlal : The Law of Evidence, 25th ed. Gurgaon, Lexis Nexis, 2015