Fact Defined Under Evidence Law

fact-under-evidence-law

Fact plays an important role in Evidence law because all rights and liabilities depend upon facts and also originate from it. Generally, fact means anything which is in existence. It does not include mental facts. But, it is accepted comprehensively in evidence law. It includes both the ‘Mental aspect and existence of the thing.’

Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 defines fact as Fact means and includes:

  1. Anything, state of things, or relation of things, capable of being presented by the senses;
  2. Any mental condition of which any person is conscious.

Illustration:

  1. That there are certain objects arranged in a certain order in a certain place, is a fact.
  2. That a man heard or saw something, is a fact;
  3. That a man said certain words, is a fact,
  4. That a man holds a personal 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.

Famous Jurist Bentham has also classified facts into two categories-

  1. Physical facts can be perceived by the senses.
  2. Mental or internal facts which are within consciousness and are known due to conscious.

Physical facts can be proved by ora! Evidence of any person whereas mental facts may be proved by circumstantial evidence.

Illustration- A attacks B with a sword or lathi. Attacking with sword or lathi is a physical fact which can be proved by the oral evidence of a person who has seen it. But as to the question of intention of A, it is a mental element which can only be proved by his confession or circumstantial evidence.

The facts do not mean with any specific incident, rather it is a continuous process; like-possession. Misrepresentation regarding the intention of any person is a misrepresentation of facts.

Relevant fact

There has been no literal definition of the term ‘Relevant’ in the Indian Evidence Act. Section 3 mentions only about relevant facts. According to Section 3-‘One facts 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.’

According to Stephen-‘Whenever two facts, to which it applies, are so related to each other that in order of natural course of events either by itself or with other facts, proves or makes probable the existence or non-existence of past, present or future of other, is called Relevant.

According to Best– The widest and clear rule amongst the rules of evidence is that the presented evidence should be indicative for those subject-matters and should be limited to those which are subject-matters of investigation.

As per law, relevant facts are those facts which are not disputed by themselves rather are so related to disputed facts that disputed facts become probable or improbable. A plaintiff challenging the existence of an arbitration agreement or its legal recognition may prove it by relevant facts. Thus, ‘Motive’ is a relevant fact.

Any fact which is not directly or indirectly relevant to those subjects cannot be accepted as evidence. Generally, the reasons for which evidence may not be accepted owing to irrelevancy maybe three:

  1. That the relation between main and evidence facts is too remote and imaginary;
  2. That evidence has become necessary considering the pleadings; and
  3. That evidence is not required owing to the admissions by the opposite party.

In the case of Dalbir Singh versus State of Punjab (A.I.R. 1987 S.C. 1328), the Supreme Court held the evaluation of evidence is a question of facts whose determination shall depend upon the circumstances.

In the case of Sukhdev Singh versus State of Punjab (A.I.R. 1991 S.C. 318), the Supreme Court said that the Evidence of any person cannot become unreliable merely on the ground of technical method that he is a near relative of deceased. A similar view was expressed in the case of ‘Ishtar versus State of U.P. (A.I.R. 2005 S.C. 249)

Fact is Issue

Facts in Issue are base of any case. They are those facts which give motion to the judicial process. In absence of fact in issue, neither hearing of case nor evidence is required. Section 3 of the Act defines fact in issue as-“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.” Thus, Act in issue means those facts which a party pleads in any proceeding and another denies it. In other words, it is those subjects which are disputed between two parties. They can also be part of the subject-matter of the investigation. It can be proved an illustration. ‘A’ is charged with theft from B’s house. A refuses it. It is disputed facts that whether A committed theft in B’s house.

In a case, is the facts in issue, it is determined by substantive law or procedural law. In civil matters, it is determined by the procedure mentioned in Order of 14 Civil Procedure Code, whereas in criminal matters, the charge against alleged is the facts in Issue under Chapter 17 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Difference between Relevant Fact and Fact in Issue

There are following differences between relevant fact and fact in issue-

Relevant Issue

  1. The relevant fact is called Evidence.
  2. The relevant fact is not an essential element of a right or liability.
  3. The relevant fact is not by itself a disputed fact. They are those facts by which the existence or non-existence of a fact in issue is presumed.

Fact in Issue

  1. Fact is an issue is called prime fact.
  2. Facts in issue is an essential element of a right or liability.
  3. Facts in Issue are such facts on which dispute lies and decision over them also decide the suit.
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