Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 defines the term ‘Proved’, ‘Disproved’ and ‘Not proved’.
According to Section 3- “A fact is said to be proved when, after considering the matters before it, the court either believes it to under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists.” We are performing several acts in this physical world. But it is not possible for us to attain complete certainty in all activities. Hence, we have no other option than to act on the basis of the majority of probabilities. Court itself also takes the assistance of this concept.
The court can on the existence of any fact:
- Either definitely believe upon it, or
- Considers its existence to be highly probable.
While doing so, the court has to act like an ordinarily prudent man. Prudent man means such a person who is reasonable or understanding with respect to practical things. In other words, we can call a man with normal intelligence or reason, to be a prudent man. It is such evidence which takes a reasonable man to a reasonable conclusion.
In the case of ‘Vijay Singh versus State of Uttar Pradesh A.I.R. 1990 S.C. 1459), Supreme Court held that, ‘Proved does not mean to be a proof of mathematical level, because it is impossible. It means only with such evidence which encourages an ordinarily prudent man towards a particular conclusion.
In the case of ‘Barbuda VS. The state of Rajasthan’ (A.I.R. 1992 S.C. 1459), the Supreme Court said that, ‘Doubt cannot take place of evidence nor judge can have moral faith that accused is guilty. Doubt is an ocean without shores.
It has been said up to this extent in the case of ‘Hernell VS. Newberger product Ltd.’ [(1956) 3 weekly. L.R. 1034] is an illustrative example. L.J. Denning said that ‘It is presumed regarding any fact in civil matters that it is provided if the evidence recommends that it was probable but any fact is not presumed in a criminal matter to be proved until its existence is not proved to such an extent that no reasonable doubts remain regarding its happening.
It can be proved by an example. A is alleged with theft in B’s house. Three witnesses testify in evidence that they saw A committing theft B’s house. A is caught at the place of crime and stolen property is seized from his possession. A also confesses. This fact is capable of being ‘proved’.
Disproved is the exact opposite of proved. According to section 3- “A fact is said to be disapproved when, after considering the matters before it, the court either believes that it does not exist, or considers its non-existence so probable that a prudent man ought under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it does not exist.
It is clear that the definition of Disproved is the exact opposite of ‘Proved’. Here, the court
- Either believes that the fact does not exist; or
- Considers its non-existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that does not exist. This may be clarified by an example. A is alleged with the murder of B. A proves that he was imprisoned in a particular jail on the date on which the alleged incident is believed to occur. Record of the jail also proves it. Court has disproved the fact that A murdered B because it is highly improbable for A to murder while being under imprisonment.
Section 3 says that- “A fact is said not to be proved when it is neither proved nor disproved.” Thus, the expression “not proved” is a mental situation between proved and disproved. It rejects both proved disproved. Whenever it cannot be certainly said in any matter on the basis of evidence produced that a fact is neither proved nor disproved, it will be called ‘not proved’.
In this matter, the case of Bhagwan Patil versus State of Maharashtra (A.I.R. 1974 S.C. 211) is an illustrative example. In this case, it has been said by the Supreme Court that when truth and false fact related in such a way that they cannot be segregated, it is deemed to be ‘Not proved’.
It can be shown by an example. A is alleged of Robbery of B. There are two eyewitnesses of the incident, but both the witness has become hostile. It becomes difficult to reach to any conclusion because it can neither be said that A robbed B nor be said that A did not rob B. Such fact is said to be ‘Not proved’.
Facts need not be proved
Section 56 and 58 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 mention those facts which are not required to be proved. Section 58 reads as below-
“No fact need be proved in any proceeding which the parties thereto or their agents agree to admit at the hearing, or which, before the hearing, they agree to admit by any writing under their hands, or which by any rule of pleading in force at the time they are deemed to have admitted by the pleadings.
Provided that the court may, in its discretion, require the facts admitted to be proved otherwise then by such admission.”
Thus, it is clear that facts which have been admitted, are not required to be proved. Section 58 mentions about the facts; like
- Those facts which the parties or their agents agree to admit at the hearing;
- Those facts which are admitted before the hearing by any writing under their hands;
- Those facts which by any rule of pleading in force at the time they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings.
In the case of ‘R versus Tregear’ [(1967) 2 weekly L.R. 1414] and R versus Kleghoin’ [(1967) 2 weekly L.R. 142], it was held that the facts which have been admitted by the parties, do not create any dispute and as such do not require any proof.
In this matter, the case of ‘Narendra Kumar versus Vishnu Kumar (A.I.R. 1994 Delhi 209) is an illustrative example. Under it, the tenant had accepted by way of pleadings that the plaintiff was his landowner and he was the tenant. Court did not require any evidence on this fact.
But the court has been powered by the discretionary powers to demand other facts of the admitted facts. (Purnabai versus Ranchod Dass, A.I.R. 1992, Andhra Pradesh 270). In this context, Section 56 of the Indian Evidence Act is to be referred to. It has been stated in it that-
“No fact of which the court will take judicial notice need to be proved.” Thus, Section 56 lays down an exception to the general rule that ‘every fact must be proved by evidence’. Such facts of which court will take notice, are not required to be proved by evidence. These facts are itself so important or of such public nature that court is bound to take notice of them.
Stephen also says that some facts itself so important and famous that they are not required to be proved. The court is in the know of them. In case the court is not in the know of the same then the information may be gathered without taking evidence.
The best example is- ‘Law in force in the territory of India’. Such laws are not required to be proved because the court has to take judicial notice of them.
In this context, the case of Jaishankar Prasad versus State of Bihar (A.I.R. 1993 Patna 22) is a good example wherein it has been stated by the Patna High Court that court can take judicial notice that several blind people have the capability to obtain the higher educational qualification.
Thus section 56 and 58 provides that such facts are not required to be proved-
- Which are taken as judicial notice by courts; and
- Which has been admitted by the parties?