Section 17 of the evidence act defines admission it says that, “An admission is a statement, oral or documentary or contained in electronic form, which suggests any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made by any of the persons, and under the circumstances, hereinafter mentioned.”
Admission is dealt in chapter 2 section 17 to 23 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
Admissions should be clear, accurate and specific and it should be the language told by the person admitting inference drawn by a person upon the words of the person admitting cannot be called admission. In the case of G. Rangaiah v. Govindappa, it was said that admission should be of a precise fact and it should be specific and there should not be multiple inferences available for an admission.
Admission is the confession or voluntary acknowledgement of a party or any person identified with them to that of the existence of certain facts in legal interest, the predominant characteristics of such types of evidence is of its binding nature. This was observed in the case of Ajodhya Prasad Bhargava v. Bhawani Shankar Bhargava.
However, in the case of Mukesh Kumar Ajmera v. State of Rajasthan, it was observed by the court that just because an allegation is not denied it can not be denied as to have been admitted.
In the case of N. Murali Krishna v. South Central Railway, Secunderabad, it was said that admission has to be made by an adversary and not by the person who asserts it.
Types of admissions
There are two types of admission they are: –
- Judicial admissions
- Extra-judicial admissions
Judicial admissions are formal while extra-judicial admissions are informal. Judicial admissions are made during the proceeding of the case but extra-judicial proceedings do not appear on the record of the case. Judicial admissions are fully binding on the party who made them and they constitute a waiver of proof. Its reference can be taken from section 58 of the act.
In the case of Ajodhya Prasad Bhargava v. Bhawani Shankar Bhargawa, it was said that unlike judicial admissions extrajudicial admissions are not fully but partly binding on the parties. However, they are binding in cases where they operate as or are having the effect of estoppel, in which cases they are fully binding.
Effects of admission
In the case of Ajodhya Prasad Bhargava v. Bhawani Prasad Guptha, three effects of admissions were enumerated. They are: –
- An admission constitutes a substantive piece of evidence in the case; and, for that reason, can be relied upon for proving the truth of the facts incorporated therein.
- An admission has the effect of shifting the onus of proving to the contrary on the party against whom it is produced with the result that it casts an imperative duty on such party to explain it. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, it is presumed to be true.
- An admission, in order to be competent and to have the value and effect referred to above, should be clear, certain and definite, and not ambiguous, vague or confused.
In the case of Basant Singh v. Janki Singh the question before the court was as to the date of death of a particular person. The plaintiff sought reliance on a statement made by the defendant in the plaint in an earlier suit. However, he denies the other statements contained in the plaint.
The Supreme Court, in this case, said that: –
- Section 17 of the evidence act does not make any distinction between an admission made by the party to the proceeding and other types of admissions. An admission made by a party in a previous case can be used against him in other cases. However, in other cases, it will not be regarded as conclusive and it is on the party to the suit to disprove the admission.
- All the statements made in the plaint are admissible as evidence. The court is however not bound to accept all the statements, it has the discretion to accept some and reject the rest. In this case, the court rejected the statements that were against the plaintiff because of other circumstances.
Admissions by a party to proceedings or his agents
This is dealt with in section 18 of the evidence act. Section 18 says that “Statements made by a party to the proceeding, or by an agent to any such party, whom the Court regards, under the circumstances of the case, as expressly or impliedly authorised by him to make them, are admissions.
By suitor in representative character– Statements made by parties to suits suing or sued in a representative character, are not admissions unless they were made while the party making them held that character.
Statements made by
- party interested in subject-matter–persons who have any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject-matter of the proceeding, and who make the statement in their character of persons so interested, or
- person from whom interest derived–persons from whom the parties to the suit have derived their interest in the subject-matter of the suit,
are admissions, if they are made during the continuance of the interest of the persons making the statements.”
“Section 18 lays down five classes of persons who can make admissions: –
- Party to the proceeding;
- Agent authorized by such party;
- Party suing or sued in a representative character, making admissions while holding such character;
- Person who has any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject-matter of the proceeding, during the continuance of such interest;
- Person from whom the parties to the suit have derived their interest in the subject-matter of the suit, during the continuance of such interest.”
Party to the proceeding
It was said in the case of Nathoo Lal v. Durga Prasad, that whatever is admitted by the party in the court must be presumed to be true unless the contrary is proven but before this proposition can be taken it must be shown that the admission by the party is clear and unambiguous as must be conceived unless explained.
Admission by defendant
In the case of Roopi Bai v. Mahaveer, the defendant merely pleaded ignorance of the facts that were placed before him. The court held that it will amount to admission unless by necessary implication it will amount to the denial of the fact.
“In criminal cases, statements made out of court by an accused are similarly admissible against him though they are subject to special conditions of admissibility and are usually called “confessions.” Confessions which comply with these special conditions and other statements made by a party or an accused person are admissible against him as evidence of the truth of the facts asserted and are termed informal admissions. Such admissions, unlike formal admissions, do not bind their maker but maybe contradicted or explained.”
In the case of Sital Prasad v. State, a person was accused of the Foodgrains Control Order. The accused person made a general statement that he used to keep food grain bags which were left by a businessman. The court said that it was a general-statement and it do not satisfy the necessary conditions to prove offence and the fact that it was kept by him for sale, thus he cannot be convicted by the statement.
Admissions by persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit
Section 19 of the evidence act deals with admissions by persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit. It says that “Statements made by persons whose position or liability, it is necessary to prove as against any party to the suit, are admissions if such statements would be relevant as against such persons in relation to such position or liability in a suit brought by or against them, and if they are made whilst the person making them occupies such position or is subject to such liability.”
As per the general rule contained in section 18, it is not permissible to take statements from people who are third parties to the suit this section and section 20 says makes it possible to take statements from people who are third parties to the suit. These two sections are the exceptions to the general rule and it shows when and under what circumstances third party admission to a suit can be taken.
In the case of Appavu v. Nanjappa, it was said by the court that “The object of this section is not to lay down that certain statements are relevant or admissible, but merely to add to the category of persons by whom a statement may be made before it can be considered to be an admission within the terms of the Indian Evidence Act. The statements referred to in Section 19 become admissible provided they satisfy the requirements of Section 17 as regards their nature, and Section 21 or any of the following sections, as regards their liability.”
In the case of Ali Moidin Ravuthan v. Elayachanilathi Kombi Achan, two people A and B borrowed money from a lender C. C brought a suit against A alone. A said that B should also be joined with him since there is joint liability on him also. It was held by the court that the admissions of B while borrowing money is relevant between A and C, though he was alive and was not cited as a witness.
Admissions by persons expressly referred to by party to suit
Section 20 of the evidence act states that “Statements made by persons to whom a party to the suit has expressly referred for information in reference to a matter in dispute are admissions.”
As explained earlier this section is another exception to the general rule that admissions of third parties are not relevant to the suit. This section says that when a person refers a third person to him for information over an uncertain or disputed matter then his statement over the matter will be relevant.
In the case of Hirachand Kothari v. State of Rajasthan the court said that, “Where a party refers to a third person for some information or an opinion on a matter in dispute, the statements made by the third person are receivable as admissions against the person referring. The reason is that when a party refers to another person for a statement of his views, the party approves of his utterance in anticipation and adopts that as his own. The principle is the same as that of reference to arbitration. The reference may be by express words or by conduct, but in any case, there must be a clear admission to refer and such admissions are generally conclusive.”
The principle of this section will also apply in cases of criminal cases. It was said in the case of R v. Mallory that when a husband said that his wife will make the list of all of his properties and subsequently the wife makes the list then it will be evidence against him.
According to this section, there are three parties involved in this section.
- Firstly, is the party who refers the matter.
- Secondly, the opposite party.
- Thirdly, the party to whom the reference is made. The party who refers the matter will be presumed to take the opinion, of the party whom the matter was referred to, as his own.
However, in the case of Tumman v. Sheo Darshan, it was said that a party can abandon the agreement before the referee can make a statement. In the case of Bishambar v. Shri Takurjee Maharaj it was said that the statement of the referee is to be considered in the nature of pronouncement of the case and so before the pronouncement is made a party can abandon the agreement.
Proof of admissions against persons making them, and by or on their behalf
Section 21 of the evidence act says that, “Admissions are relevant and may be proved as against the person who makes them, or his representative in interest; but they cannot be proved by or on behalf of the person who makes them or by his representative in interest, except in the following cases: –
- An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it, when it is of such a nature that, if the person making it was dead, it would be relevant as between third persons under section 32.
- An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it, when it consists of a statement of the existence of any state of mind or body, relevant or in issue, made at or about the time when such state of mind or body existed, and is accompanied by conduct rendering its falsehood improbable.
- An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it, if it is relevant otherwise than as an admission.”
In the case of Bhim Singh v. Kamnsingh, the question was whether a certain transaction was benami and it was contended by the opposite party that the question cannot be examined on the basis of statements made several years after the date of transaction, it was held by the Supreme Court in this case that as those statements were made against the proprietary interest of the maker thereof, they were admissible under Section 21 and also Section 32, clause (3) of the Act.
When oral admissions as to contents of documents are relevant
Section 22 of the evidence act says that “Oral admissions as to the contents of a document are not relevant, unless and until the party proposing to prove them shows that he is entitled to give secondary evidence of the contents of such document under the rules hereinafter contained, or unless the genuineness of a document produced is in question.”
When oral admission as to contents of electronic records are relevant
Section 22 A of the Indian evidence act 1872 says, “Oral admissions as to the contents of electronic records are not relevant unless the genuineness of the electronic record produced is in question.”
This section was added in the evidence act by the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Admissions in civil cases when relevant
Section 23 of the Indian Evidence Act says that “In civil cases no admission is relevant if it is made either upon an express condition that evidence of it is not to be given or under circumstances from which the Court can infer that the parties agreed together that evidence of it should not be given.”
The explanation to this section says that, “Nothing in this section shall be taken to exempt any barrister, pleader, attorney or vakil from giving evidence of any matter of which he may be compelled to give evidence under section 126.”
This section excludes admissions in civil cases under two scenarios, firstly admissions which are made upon an express condition that evidence of it is not to be given and, secondly, under circumstances from which the Court can infer that the parties agreed together that evidence of it should not be given. However, the explanation to this section says that admissions by barrister, pleader, attorney or vakil are not excluded by this section.
In the case of Hoghton v. Hoghton, it was observed by the court that, “this section was made to protect communications which are made without prejudice. Confidential overtures of pacification and any other offers or propositions between litigating parties, expressly or impliedly made without prejudice, are excluded on grounds of public policy. For, if parties were to be prejudiced by their efforts to compromise it would be impossible to attempt any amicable arrangement of differences.”
 The Indian Evidence Act 1862, s 17
 H.G. Ramchandra Rao v. Srikantha, 1997 Cr LJ 347
 AIR 2008 Kant 151
 AIR 1957 All 1
 AIR 1997 Raj 250
 AIR 2014 AP 100
 The Evidence Act 1872, s 58
 AIR 1957 All 1
 AIR 1967 SC 341
 The Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 17
 Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 18
 Ratanlal and Dhirajlal The Law of Evidence p. 478 ed. 24
 AIR 1954 SC 355
 Nagubai v. B. Shama Rao, AIR 1956 SC 593
 AIR 1994 Raj 133
 Ratanlal and Dhirajlal The Law of Evidence p.480 ed.24
 AIR 1953 All 101
 The Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 19
 ILR 25 Mad LJ 329
 (1913) 5 Mad 239.
 Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 20
 Ratanlal and Dhirajlal, The law of evidence p.495 ed.24
 AIR 1985 SC 998
 (1884) 13 QBD 33
 D’Cruz v. Secy of State, 40 Cal WN 865
 ILR 52 All 235
 53 All 673
 Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 21
 AIR 1980 SC 727
 Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 22
 Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 22A
 Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 23
 Ratanlal and Dhirajlal The Law of Evidence p.521 ed.24
 (1852) 15 Beav 278 .