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.

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

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

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

d.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 :a)few days before the killing  of the deceased the accused had held out a threat against him ,b)a cartridge was found near the cot of the deceased)a pistol was recovered  from his house,d)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