Define ‘Evidence’. What are the different kinds of Evidence under Evidence Law?
Evidence has an important place in the Administration of Justice. The court reaches a conclusion on the basis of evidence. It is impossible to solve any matter in the absence of evidence. It determines the truth. Dharamshastras have also discussed the importance of evidence. It has been said that a king cannot punish anyone if any doubt exists. It means that until anyone is not proved beyond doubts, he cannot be considered to be guilty. Kautilya had also said that a person must be punished only when he is graved to be guilty beyond doubts.
‘Ramjas VS. Surendranath’ (A.I.R 1980 Allahabad 385)-
Allahabad High Court said that the Evidence law provides a way to the courts. It propounds such rules which can comfortably conduct the administration of Justice. Study of such an important subject-matter is essential.
Definition of Evidence
The word ‘Evidence has originated from the Latin word ‘Evidere’, which means to prove, show or determine any facts by legal resources. Various jurists have given different definitions of the word ‘Evidence’ like:
- According to Taylor-All legal medium except for argument which proves or disproves any fact, are called evidence.
- According to Salmond-Any fact or statement which has the power to prove, is called evidence.
- According to Ausburn dictionary– Evidence means with all those legal facts or medium by which any fact is tried to be proved or disproved.
Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, defines the term ‘Evidence’. According to it:
Evidence means and includes:
- All statements which the court permits or requires to be made before it by witnesses, in relation to matters of fact under inquiry, such statements are called ‘oral evidence’ and
- All documents including electronic records produced for the inspection of the court; such documents are called documentary evidence.
Actually, it is not a wordy definition of evidence law. This definition only indicates that the evidence may be oral or documentary.
Although affidavits are not considered to be evidence, it may become if the court requires it to be so.’ Ghanshyam Kishore Vajpayee VS. State of U.P. (A.I.R. 2005 Allahabad 65)-Allahabad High court while not considering the evidence value of the Newspaper-report, has considered it not entertainable in the evidence.
Inherent principles of Evidence.
English law has mentioned certain inherent principles of the Evidence law which has also been adopted by the Indian law. These principles are the following:
- Evidence must be limited to the fact;
- Hearsay Evidence must not be entertained in the evidence;
- Best evidence must be produced in all cases.
Here, the view of Stephen in noteworthy. According to him, Evidence law ensures that
- Which of the facts can be proved in the case and which cannot be,
- Which type of evidence may be produced to prove a fact; and
- By whom and by which method, the evidence must be produced to prove a fact.
In all, it can be said that the evidence law is such procedural law which also explains along with other facts that how a fact can be proved.
Types of evidence
There are several types of Evidence under Evidence law. The main types are following-
- Direct Evidence;
- Circumstantial Evidence;
- Primary Evidence;
- Secondary Evidence;
- Real Evidence;
- Hearsay Evidence
- Oral Evidence;
- Documentary Evidence;
- Judicial Evidence;
- Extra-Judicial Evidence.
- Direct Evidence.
Direct evidence has an important place in Evidence law. Direct Evidence is evidence of such fact which the witness has himself perceived by any of his own five sense, and such witness himself testifies by being present in the court. Section 60 says that-every oral evidence must be direct.
Illustration-‘A’ is alleged to beating B. C says in the court that he saw A beating B. It is direct evidence.
- Circumstantial Evidence
When no direct evidence is available for proving any fact, then such fact may be proved with the help of circumstantial evidence. The circumstantial evidence means-such circumstances which are such facts or proof in the surrounding area of the incident and whose analysis shows that an incident actually occurred.Illustration-A is alleged of murder of B. Long-time enmity between A & B, A was seen of running towards jungle after the accident, blood spots over his clothes, etc. are such circumstances which indicate towards murder.
According to Pebby, It is a piece of good evidence because a witness can speak untruth, but not the circumstances.
In the case of Chattar Singh versus State of Haryana (A.I.R. 2009 S.S. 378), it has been held by the High Court that an alleged may be convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence subject to the condition that is ratified by another evidence.
In the case of State of Uttar Pradesh versus Satish (A.I.R. 2005 S.C. 1000) it has been stated by the Supreme Court that two facts are essential for acceptance of the circumstantial evidence:
- Circumstances must be proved beyond doubt, and
- Circumstances are closely related to the main incident.
- Primary Evidence
It is such evidence which is considered to be best in the court’s view. Court strongly believes on such evidence. This evidence is related to documentary evidence. When documentary evidence produced before the court, it is called primary evidence.Illustration-There is a dispute of ownership over land between A & B. A produces an originally registered sale deed executed by B. This original sale deed is the Primary evidence.
- Secondary Evidence
Whenever Primary evidence is not available in respect of fact then the help of secondary evidence is taken. This evidence is less reliable and the court also sees towards it with doubt. Secondary Evidence includes the following:
- Certified copies of the original document.
- Copies made from the original by a mechanical process.
- Copies made from or compared with the original;
- Counterparts of documents;
- Oral accounts of the contents of documents given some person who has himself seen it.
- Real Evidence.
Real evidence is that evidence which is produced before a court in such a way that judge or magistrate may himself presume the truth.Illustration-A is alleged of murder of B by a sword. That sword and blood-stained clothes of A & B are produced before the court. The court can presume murder by analysing them.
- Hearsay Evidence
It is evidence of lesser importance and of weak nature. The court very rarely believes in such types of evidence. Such evidence is made by such person who:
- Has not himself seen the incident;
- Has not heard any fact by his own ears;
- Has not perceived any fact with any of his own five senses.
- A is alleged of theft at B’s house. C, a witness, says before the court that he heard from D that A committed theft at B’s house.
- Oral Evidence Oral evidence means such evidence which a person makes himself by being present in the Court. Such evidence is required to be direct.Such evidence may be by a relative. In the case of ‘Essar versus State of Uttar Pradesh (A.I.R. 2005 S.C. 249), it has been stated by the Supreme Court that relationship is not a factor to affect the credibility of a witness.
- Documentary Evidence Whenever a document is produced before the court to prove or disapprove any fact, it is called Documentary Evidence.The illustration-The school record is produced to prove the date of birth of a person then it will be called a Documentary Evidence. (State of Punjab VS. Mohinder Singh A.I.R. 2005 S.C. 1868). Similarly, a voter list presented before the court is documentary evidence (Gopikishan VS. Shankarlal Dhakot, A.I.R. 2005 Rajasthan 114).
- Judicial Evidence Every oral and documentary evidence, produced before the court is called Judicial Evidence. Judicial Evidence is always produced before the court.
- Extra-Judicial Evidence Such evidence or statement which is made at any place other than the court or before any other person is called Extra Judicial Evidence.Illustration-A accepts before his friend B that he had beaten C. This is called Extra Judicial Evidence. Talking in sleep may also be Extra Judicial Evidence. It also includes Extra Judicial confession. But such confession is not considered substantive (State of Madhya Pradesh versus Paltan Mallah, A.I.R. 2005 S.C. 773).
- Evidence may also be other kinds, as:
- Police witness-Police witness means violence by the Police Officer. Police witness may be relied upon.
- The witness of Interested-Witness of interested means generally with the relatives, friends, family members etc. of the party. Such witness has also been treated reliably. His witness cannot be treated unbelievably merely being interested. (Rajesh Kumar versus State of Himachal Pradesh, I.R. 2009 S.C. 1).It has been stated by the Supreme Court in the case of Taqdir Samshuddin Sheikh versus State of Gujarat (A.I.R. 2012 S.C. 37) that for an interested witness, the witness must have some direct interest in having accused somehow or other convicted for some other reason.
- Chance witness-Chance witness means such a witness which by chance reaches the site of an incident. (Sarvesh Narain Shukla versus Daroga Singh A.I.R. 2008, S.C. 320).
- Hostile witness-Hostile witness means such a witness who evidences against his party. The evidence of such a witness cannot be treated wholly unbelievable. (Sarvesh Narain Singh versus Daroga Singh I.R. 2008, S.C. 320).