The phrase “hearsay evidence” is not used in the Evidence Act because it is inaccurate and vague. It is a fundamental rule of evidence under the Indian Law that hearsay evidence is inadmissible.

The phrase “hearsay evidence” is not used in the Evidence Act because it is inaccurate and vague. It is a fundamental rule of evidence under the Indian Law that hearsay evidence is inadmissible.

Kalyan Kumar Gogoi vs Ashutosh Agnihotri and another

Supreme Court

18/01/2011

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4820 OF 2007

About/from the judgment:

Hearsay evidence is excluded on the ground that it is always desirable, in the interest of justice, to get the person, whose statement is relied upon, into court for his examination in the regular way, in orderthat many possible sources of inaccuracy and

untrustworthiness can be brought to light and exposed, if they exist, by the test of crossexamination. The phrase “hearsay evidence” is not used in the Evidence Act because it is inaccurate and vague. It is a fundamental rule of evidence under the Indian Law that hearsay evidence is inadmissible. A statement, oral or written, made otherwise than a witness in giving evidence and a statement contained or recorded in any book, document or record whatever, proof of which is not admitted on other grounds, are deemed to be irrelevant for the purpose of proving the truth of the matter stated. An assertion other than one made by a person while giving oral evidence in the proceedings is inadmissible as evidence of any fact asserted. That this species of evidence cannot be tested by cross-examination and that, in many cases, it supposes some better testimony which ought to be offered in a particular case, are not the sole grounds for its exclusion. Its tendency to protract legal investigations to an embarrassing and dangerous length, its intrinsic weakness, its incompetency to satisfy the mind of a Judge about the existence of a fact, and the fraud which may be practiced with impunity, under its cover, combine to support the rule that hearsay evidence is inadmissible.

 

The reasons why hearsay evidence is not received as relevant evidence are: (a) the person giving such evidence does not feel any responsibility. The law requires all evidence to be given under personal responsibility, i.e., every witness must give his testimony, under such circumstance, as expose him to all the penalties of falsehood. If the person giving hearsay evidence is cornered, he has a line of escape by saying “I do not know, but so and so told me”, (b) truth is diluted and diminished with each repetition and (c) if permitted, gives ample scope for playing fraud by saying “someone told me that...........”. It would be attaching importance to false rumour flying from one foul lip to another. Thus statement of witnesses based on information received from others is inadmissible.

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