Question: Explain fully with the illustration that “oral evidence must in all cases be direct.” [U.P.C.J. 1992, Bihar J. 2006, Jharkhand J. 2014] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain fully with the illustration that “oral evidence must in all cases be direct.”] Answer Section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act says that… Read More »

Question: Explain fully with the illustration that “oral evidence must in all cases be direct.” [U.P.C.J. 1992, Bihar J. 2006, Jharkhand J. 2014] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain fully with the illustration that “oral evidence must in all cases be direct.”] Answer Section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act says that oral evidence must be direct, that is, if it refers to a fact which could be seen, the evidence must be of a witness who says he saw...

Question: Explain fully with the illustration that “oral evidence must in all cases be direct.” [U.P.C.J. 1992, Bihar J. 2006, Jharkhand J. 2014]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Explain fully with the illustration that “oral evidence must in all cases be direct.”]

Answer

Section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act says that oral evidence must be direct, that is, if it refers to

  1. a fact which could be seen, the evidence must be of a witness who says he saw it;
  2. a fact which could be heard, the evidence must be of a witness who says he heard it;
  3. a fact which could be perceived by any other sense or manner, the evidence must be of a witness who says he perceived it by that sense or that manner;
  4. an opinion, or the grounds on which that opinion is held, the evidence must be of a person who holds that opinion on those grounds.

This section, subject to the proviso excludes opinions given second-hand. The use of the word “must” in the first clause of the section imposes a duty on the court to exclude all oral evidence that is not “direct”, whether the party against whom it is tendered objects or not.

The word “direct” is opposed to mediate or derivative or “hearsay”.

The provisions of law laid down by this section will be clear by taking examples. A files a suit against B for defamation. The allegations in the plaint are that B said that A had committed burglary in Calcutta.

In this case, the witnesses who may come for A must say that B said in their presence that A committed theft and they heard it. A witness who wishes to depose that B said those defamatory words before C and then C told him about that, will not be allowed to say so because here the evidence will not be direct. This witness derives knowledge from C and his evidence is forbidden by this section.

In Hylife v. Murray, (1740) 2 All 58 at 60, it was observed where a person is a witness of fact, his testimony is regarded as direct evidence, even if he is not able to recollect the facts with precision and has to rely upon his “belief” as to what he saw or heard.

“A witness who perceived an event with his senses is not confined, when giving an account of it, to what he can swear to with complete certainty or with complete precision as it has long been established that, in giving evidence of what he saw or heard, he may swear, “to the best of his belief”, is sufficient, unless there is a contrary indication to the same.”

Thus, oral evidence must be direct. This means that a witness can tell the court of only a fact of which he has first-hand knowledge (eye-witness) in the sense that he perceived the fact by any of the five senses. If, on the other hand, the statement was not made in his presence or hearing and he subsequently came to know of it through some other source, he cannot appear as a witness, for his knowledge is a derived knowledge and is nothing but a “hearsay” and it is a maxim of law that hearsay evidence is not relevant.

The doctrine of dying declaration is enshrined in section 32 of the Evidence Act, 1872 as an exception to the general rule contained in section 60 of the Evidence Act, which provides that oral evidence in all cases must be direct i.e. it must be the evidence of a witness, who says he saw it. The dying declaration is, in fact, the statement of a person, who cannot be called a witness and, therefore, cannot be cross-examined. Such statements themselves are relevant facts in certain cases.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-10-01T08:27:24+05:30
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