The Indian Evidence Act 1872 extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This Act has come into force on the first day of September 1872.
The law of evidence is procedural and doesn’t affect the substantive right of parties. It is the law of the forum (or court) or the lex fori .This is purely a matter of convenience.
The rules of law of law of evidence for civil and criminal cases are in general the same. But there are certain sections of the act which apply exclusively to civil cases, and some to criminal cases. Section 24 to 30 dealing with confessions, Section 53 and 54 dealing with the character of an accused person, Section 120 dealing with the competency of a spouse as a witness for or against the other spouse, and Section 155 dealing with the character of prosecution in cases of rape or attempt to ravish, are Sections exclusively applicable to criminal cases. Section 52 and 55 dealing with the character of parties, and Sections 115 to 117 dealing with stopped apply exclusively to civil cases.
The method of proving (i.e. burden of proof is on the prosecution/plaintiff) is same in both, but there is a marked difference as to the effect of evidence in civil and criminal cases. There are marked variation in standards of proof in civil and criminal cases.
The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 is mainly based on the English Law of Evidence. The word ‘evidence’ is derived from the Latin word ‘evident’ or ‘evidere’ which means “to show clearly, to discover clearly, to ascertain, to prove”. The object of Evidence Act is to help courts to reach/ascertain the truth and to avoid confusion in the minds of judges.
The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 consist of 11 chapters and 167 sections. For convenience these are divided into three parts.
Part I-Relevancy of facts (chapter I with Sections 1-4, Chapter II with Sections 5-55)
Part II- On proof (chapters III-VI Section 56-100)
Part III- Production and effect of evidence (chapters VII-XI-Sections 101-167)