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Section 3- The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

The Indian Evidence Act,1872

3. Interpretation clause –

In this Act the following words and expressions are used in the following senses, unless a contrary intention appears from the context:

Court . Court includes all Judges1 and Magistrates, 2and all persons, except arbitrators, legally authorized to take evidence.

Fact . Fact means and includes

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

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

(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.

(c) That a man said certain words, is a fact.

(d) That a man holds a certain opinion, has a certain intention, acts in good faith, or fraudulently, or uses a particular word in a particular sense, or is or was at a specified time conscious of a particular sensation, is a fact.

(e) That a man has a certain reputation, is a fact.

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.

Explanation Whenever, under the provisions of the law for the time being in force relating to Civil Procedure,3any Court records an issue of fact, the fact to be asserted or denied in the answer to such issue, is a fact in issue.


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;

That A at the time of doing the act which caused B’s death, was, by reason of unsoundness of mind, incapable of knowing its nature.

Document . Document 4 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.


A writing5 is a document;

Words printed, lithographed or photographed are documents;

A map or plan is a document;

An inscription on a metal plate or stone is a document;

A caricature is a document.

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 statement s are called oral evidence;

(2) 6[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 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.

Not proved . A fact is said not to be proved when it is neither proved nor disproved.

7[ India . India means the territory of India excluding the State of Jammu and Kashmir.]

8[the expressions Certifying Authority , digital signature , Digital Signature Certificate , electronic form , electronic records , information , secure electronic record , secure digital signature and subscriber shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Information Technology Act, 2000.]


Admissibility of contemporaneous tape-record

A contemporaneous tape-record is admissible under section 8 if (i) the conversation is relevant to the matters in issue; (ii) there is identification of the voice; (iii) the accuracy of the tape recorded conversation is proved by eliminating the possibility of erasing the tape record; R.M. Malkani v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1973 SC 157.

Court to scrutinize evidence

(i) It is the duty of court to scrutinize the evidence carefully and to see that acceptable evidence is accepted; State of Gujarat v. Gandabhai Govindbhai, 2000 Cr LJ 92 (Guj).

(ii) Court should adopt cautious approach for basing conviction on circumstantial evidence; State of Haryana v. Ved Prakash, 1994 Cr LJ 140 (SC).

Evidence of eye witness

(i) Having examined all the eyewitnesses even if other persons present nearby, not examined, the evidence of eyewitness cannot be discarded , courts are concerned with quality of evidence in a criminal trial. Conviction can be based on sole evidence if it inspires confidence; Sheelam Ramesh v. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 2000 SC 718: 2000 Cr LJ 51 (SC).

(ii) Where there are material contradictions creating reasonable doubt in a reasonable mind, such eye witnesses cannot be relied upon to base their evidence in the conviction of accused; Nathia v. State of Rajasthan, 1999 Cri LJ 1371 (Raj).

(iii) Evidence of an eye witness cannot be disbelieved on ground that his statement was not recorded earlier before he was examined in motor accident claim case by police; Fizabai v. Namichand, AIR 1993 MP 79.

(iv) Where court acquitted accused by giving benefit of doubt, it will not affect evidence of eye witnesses being natural witnesses; Krishna Ram v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1993 SC 1386.

Identification by photo admissible

There is no legal provision that identification by photo is not admissible in evidence; Umar Abdul Sakoor Sorathia v. Intelligence Officer M.C. B ureau, 1999 Cr LJ 3972 (SC).

Interested witness

(i) It has been held regarding interested witness that the relationship is not a factor to affect credibility of witness; Rizan v. State of Chhattisgarh, AIR 2003 SC 976.

(ii) Testimony of injured eye witnesses cannot be rejected on ground that they were interested witnesses; Nallamsetty Yanasaiah v. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1993 SC 1175.

(iii) The mechanical rejection of evidence on sole ground that it is from interested witness would invariably lead to failure or justice; Brathi alias Sukhdev Singh v. State of Punjab, 1991 Cr LJ 402 (SC).

Maxim Falsus in uno falsus in omnibus

(i) Falsus in uno, Falsus in Omnibus is not a rule of evidence in criminal trail and it is duty of the Court to engage the truth from falsehood, to shift grain from the chaff; Triloki Nath v. State of U.P., AIR 2006 SC 321.

(ii) The maxim falsus in uno falsus in omnibus has not received general acceptance nor has this maxim come to occup
y the status of rule of law. The maxim merely involves the question of weight of evidence which a court may apply in a given set of circumstances, but it is not what may be called a mandatory rule of evidence ; Israr v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 2005 SC 249.

Natural witness

Witnesses being close relations of deceased living opposite to house of deceased, are natural witnesses to be believed; Om Parkash v. State of Punjab, AIR 1993 SC 138.

Testimony: when to be relied

(i) The testimony of police personnel should be treated in the same manner as testimony of any other witness and there is no principle of law that without corroboration by independent witnesses their testimony cannot be relied upon. The presumption that a person acts honestly applies as much in favour of police personnel as of other persons and it is not a proper judicial approach to distrust and suspect them without good grounds; Karamjit Singh v. State (Delhi Administration), AIR 2003 SC 1311.

(ii) Rejection of whole testimony of hostile witness is not proper; Ashok Kumar v. P.M.A. Chanchal, AIR 1999 Guj 108.

(iii) Where evidence of some witnesses was found not safe for conviction, whole of their testimony should not be rejected; Nadodi Jayaraman v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1993 SC 777.

(iv) The testimony of a single witness if it is straightforward, cogent and if believed is sufficient to prove the prosecution case; Vahula Bhushan alias Vehuna Krishna v. State of Tamil Nadu, 1989 Cr LJ 799: AIR 1989 SC 236.


1. Cf. the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act 5 of 1908), sec. 2, the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860), sec. 19; and, for a definition of District Judge, the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), sec. 3 (17).

2. Cf. the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), sec. 3 (32) and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Act 2 of 1974).

3. See now the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) as to the settlement of issues, see Sch. I, Order XIV.

4. Cf. the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860), sec. 29 and the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), sec. 3 (18).

5. Cf. definition of writing in the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), sec. 3 (65).

6. S ubs. by Act 21 of 2000, sec. 92 and Sch. II, for certain words all documents produced for the inspection of the Court (w.e.f. 17-10-2000).

7. Subs. by Act 3 of 1951, sec. 3 and Sch., for the definition of State and States , which was ins. by the A.O. 1950.

8. Ins. by Act 21 of 2000, sec. 92 and Sch. II (w.e.f. 17-10-2000).

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The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

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