Evidence Law Notes for Evidence Law Notes

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Types of Evidence

Evidence is any fact presented before the court to prove or disproves the fact in issue under consideration on the court. Evidence may be classified in to several categories.

1. Oral evidence:

Statement made by witness before a court to prove or disprove any fact is regarded as oral evidence. There is general rule that oral evidence must be direct that is the person giving the evidence must have perceived the fact by his/her own senses. It may be regarded as direct evidence. In order to ensure the reliability of the oral evidence and disregard the defects that may creep. Direct evidence is testimony of witness to the existence or non-existence of a fact or fact in issue.

Generally in the such types of evidence, the following four types of measures are adopted while taking testimony of witness.

  • The witness must take oath for giving any statement that he/she would speak the truth only and no more.

  • He/she is subjected to punishment under perjury if his/her statement proved untruthful.

  • He/she is subjected to cross-examination by the opponent party.

  • His/her bodily gesture and mode of speaking are observed by the court to ensure credibility of his/her statement.

2.Real Evidence:

Anything or substance or material used in the commissions of any crime or marks blood, soil condition found in the area of scene and identified by the witnesses in the court are regarded as real evidence, Eg:Weapons, Blood stained clothes etc. They are important if connection between them and the accused could be established in the trial.

Chain of custody of physical evidence is to be protected properly from the scene of crime to court room to avoid fraud distortion or manipulation of it. It has to travel through several frauds including laboratory and expert examination before it is finally presented in the court. Therefore, careful seal packing and documentation with each change of hands is strictly necessary to ensure its protection. This is known as chain of custody of physical evidence.

3. Direct Evidence:

All types of evidence, which has directed relevant with fact in issue, may be regarded as direct evidence. It is also known as “positive evidence”. Evidence given by direct witness/eye witness is called “Direct Evidence”. Direct evidence is the testimony of a witness to existence or non-existence of a fact or fact in issue. Eg. Mr.Thapa is tried to set fire to the house. Mr.Karki deposes that he saw Mr.Thapa setting fire. Mr.Karki is eye witness.

4. Documentary evidence:

Anything written or marked or inscribed on any substance or document , which conveys any idea meaningful to other who reads it is regarded as document. Document may be private or public in its nature. Document prepared by a public officer in exercise of his/her public duty is regarded as public document and all other documents are private one.

Documentary evidence may be categorized as primary evidence and secondary evidence. All types of original documents are regarded as primary evidence. Documentary evidence is proved according to rules of law of the law of evidence. Especially documentary evidence has greater relevance in civil proceedings while oral evidence plays dominant role in criminal proceedings.

Eg. An inscription on a metal plate or stone, map or plan, suicide note and sales deed etc. are known as documentary evidence.

5. Circumstantial evidence:

Circumstantial evidence is a testimony by witnesses as to the circumstances from which an inference is to drawn as to the fact in issue. It is not possible to get direct evidence in all types of cases .In such situations the court has to rely on circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is helpful to prove relevant fact connected with event. A series of such evidence may help the court to arrive at a decision .Intention or knowledge of the accused is always proved through circumstantial evidence. In the case of Kalua vs. State of U.P[1], Supreme Court of India has made a marvelous decision on the basis of circumstantial evidence. Kalua was charged with the murder of the deceased by shooting him with a pistol. The circumstantial evidence proved were :

  • few days before the killing of the deceased the accused had held out a threat against him,
  • a cartridge was found near the cot of the deceased a pistol was recovered from his house,
  • the fire -arm expert gave his opinion that the cartridge found near the cot of the dead body was fired from the pistol produced by the accused. It was held that there could be no room for thinking in the circumstances established in this case, that anyone else other than the accused might have shot the deceased. He was convicted.

6. Corroborative Evidence:

Corroborative evidence is that evidence which tend to support some other evidence . It is a weak type of evidence, which supports some other evidence to strengthen its evidential value. Materials discovered through such confession may corroborate confession by an accused. A witness may corroborate his /her statement by referring to his/her previous expression.

7. Hearsay Evidence:

It is indirect evidence. It may be oral or documentary if any fact, which is heard from somebody else, is deposited in the court, the deposition is regarded as hearsay. Hearsay evidence is inferior type of evidence. Generally it is disregarded at any court proceedings but there are several exceptions laid down by the law of evidence which allows hearsay evidence to betake in court decision.Eg. Dying declaration, Statement on the spot etc. The reason is that if hearsay evidence is totally disregarded may cases may go without evidence.

8. Original Evidence:

By original evidence is meant, the production of the thing proved in its original form .It is that , which a witness reports himself/herself to have seen or heard through the media of his/her own sense.

9. Primary Evidence:

It means, the documents itself is produced for the inspection of the court. In the case of transaction of money , if plaintiff produced the deed(Tamasuk) for the inspection of court is known as original evidence. Primary evidence is considered as the best evidence since it provides proof with certainty. That is why; law insists/requires first the primary evidence. The document may counter parts, and then each counter part is regarded as primary evidence. If the document is made by uniform process like printing or lithography, each one constitutes the primary evidence.

10. Secondary Evidence:

It is also known as inferior type of evidence. It indicates the existence of more original sources of information . Secondary evidence may be given in the absence of the primary evidence if proper explanation is given for such absence. Section 65 of the India evidence Act 1872 provides for the circumstances in which secondary evidence is admissible. Copies made and compared with the original or Photostat copies may be treated as secondary evidence.

11. Judicial Evidence:

It is evidence received by the courts of justice in proof or disproof of facts, the existence of which comes in question before them.

12. Non-judicial Evidence:

Evidence given in the court proceeding before police or officer not in a judicial capacity; but administrative is non- judicial evidence.

[1] AIR1958 SC 180

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