Evidence of what facts to be given

By now we know what is evidence and what are the different types of evidence which can be given in a case? But the question still arises that of what facts evidence is to be given?

This question is answered by Section 5 of Indian Evidence Act. It clearly specifies that in any case, evidence can be given of:

  • Fact in issue
  • Relevant facts

WHAT IS FACT-IN-ISSUE?

The term fact in issue is defined in Section 3 of Indian Evidence Act. These are such state of things that one can infer the existence of a disputed right or liability from them. In simple terms, these are the facts which are in dispute and is the subject matter of enquiry before the court. These are the necessary ingredients of a right or liability.

Two conditions to be fulfilled:

  1. Such fact must be in dispute i.e one party admits it and the other denies it.
  2. A question of right or liability must depend on such proof of such fact.

Eg: A says B has taken 5000/- from me which B must return. B denies. If the ques involved in this case that is whether B took 5000/- from A is decided, liability of B will arise to pay back the amount to A and if it is decided that B never took 5000/- from A, then B can sue A for vexatious litigation. Thus, we see in this case, if the question whether B took 5000/- from A is decided, the rights and liabilities of both A and B will arise depending on the answer of this question. Therefore, this question becomes fact in issue.

Fact in issue is called principal fact. These are prime facts which the party must prove to establish its case. For example, A is accused of murder of B. Prosecution must prove that

  • A stabbed B with knife, or shot B with gun, or administered poison to B. (Actus reus on part of B is to be proved)
  • A did the requisite act with the intention or knowledge that his act will cause death of B. (Mens rea on part of B)

These are the necessary ingredients of the offence, they are the prime facts which the prosecution has to prove in order to succeed in its case. Therefore, these are called fact in issue.

What is RELEVANT FACT?

These are the facts which have probative value i,e the tendency to prove the truth of the fact in issue.

Eg: in the above example- fact in issue is whether B has taken money from A. Relevant facts can be B’s admission to C that he has to pay money to A. B taking loan from D telling him that he requires the money to pay to a friend. A’s account book showing loan amount given to B. All these facts have the tendency to prove the fact in issue. Thus, they are relevant fact.

Relevant facts can be of two types:

  1. Logically relevant: These are the facts which any reasonable man will consider proper to be used in a case.
  2. Legally relevant: these are the facts which evidence act says are relevant. (section 6-55)

Under Indian evidence act, evidence of only legally relevant facts can be given and not logically relevant facts. The Act does not recognise logically relevant facts.

Are all logically relevant facts legally relevant?

Every fact that is legally relevant is also logically relevant but every logically relevant fact may not be necessarily legally relevant.

For eg: A voluntarily goes to police and says that I killed B. A has confessed to police out of guilt. A is a law-abiding person, he is a god-fearing person and thus, he on his own, without any pressure has made the confession. This confession is logically relevant as it is made voluntarily. But Section 25 of the act makes such a confession to police officer irrelevant even if it is made voluntarily. Thus, even if such confession is logically relevant, it is not legally relevant.

Thus, relevant fact under act must always be legally relevant i.e. they should fall within Section 6-55.

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