Question: What do you mean by Hearsay Evidence? Why is such evidence generally not admitted? State the exceptions, if any. [U.P.C.J. 2003, U.P.H.J.S. 2014, M.P.C.J. 2009, U.P.A.P.O. 1982] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What do you mean by Hearsay Evidence? Why is such evidence generally not admitted? State the exceptions, if any.]… Read More »

Question: What do you mean by Hearsay Evidence? Why is such evidence generally not admitted? State the exceptions, if any. [U.P.C.J. 2003, U.P.H.J.S. 2014, M.P.C.J. 2009, U.P.A.P.O. 1982] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What do you mean by Hearsay Evidence? Why is such evidence generally not admitted? State the exceptions, if any.] Answer The word ‘hearsay’ is used in various senses. According to Stephen, “Sometimes it means whatever a person...

Question: What do you mean by Hearsay Evidence? Why is such evidence generally not admitted? State the exceptions, if any. [U.P.C.J. 2003, U.P.H.J.S. 2014, M.P.C.J. 2009, U.P.A.P.O. 1982]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What do you mean by Hearsay Evidence? Why is such evidence generally not admitted? State the exceptions, if any.]

Answer

The word ‘hearsay’ is used in various senses.

According to Stephen, “Sometimes it means whatever a person is heard to say; sometimes it means whatever a person declares on the information given by someone else.”

The term ‘hearsay’ is used with reference to that which is written as well as that which is spoken, and, in its legal sense, it denotes that kind of evidence which does not derive its value solely from the credit to be given to the witness himself, but rests also in part on the competency of some other person.

In the above-mentioned example when the witness says that he himself did not hear the defamatory words but another person told him about it, the credit for hearing the statement does not go to the witness but to somebody else.

Similarly, when the witness says that he did not see the occurrence himself but somebody told him, the credit of seeing the occurrence does not go to the witness but it goes to somebody else. Hearsay evidence is that evidence that comes indirectly that is to say which comes not from the knowledge of the person who deposes it but through some other person.

The evidence of a statement made to a person who himself is not called as a witness may or may not be hearsay. It is ‘hearsay’ and inadmissible when the object of the evidence establishes the truth of what is contained in the statement by examining some other person.

It is not ‘hearsay’ and is admissible when it is proposed to establish by the evidence, not the truth of the statement but the fact that the statement was made. The fact that the statement was made is quite different from the fact that the statement was made. The fact that a statement was made, apart from its truth, is frequently relevant in considering the mental state and conduct thereafter of the witness or some other person in whose presence the statement was made.

1. Principle of Hearsay Evidence being not admissible

The principle of this rule is, that such evidence requires credit to be given to a statement made by a person who is not subject to ordinary test enjoined by the law for ascertaining the correctness and completeness of his testimony, namely, that oral testimony should be delivered in the presence of the court or a magistrate, under the moral and legal sanctions of an oath, and where the moral and intellectual character, the motives and the demeanour of the witness can be examined, and his capacity and opportunities for observation, and his memory, can be tested by cross-examination.

‘Hearsay evidence’, as thus described, is uniformly held incompetent to establish any specific fact which, in its nature is susceptible of being proved by witnesses who can speak from their own knowledge.

That this species of testimony supposes something better, which might be adduced in the particular case, is not the sole ground of its exclusion. Its extrinsic weakness, its incompetency to satisfy the mind as to the existence of the fact, and the frauds which may be practiced under its cover, combine to support the rule that hearsay evidence is totally inadmissible.

Such evidence, moreover as to oral declarations, is very liable to be fallacious and its value is, therefore, greatly lessened by the probability that the declaration was imperfectly heard, or was misunderstood, or is not accurately remembered or has been perverted. It is also to be observed that the persons communicating such evidence are not exposed to the danger of a prosecution for perjury, in which something more than the testimony of one witness is necessary, in order to result in a conviction.

It may be noted that hearsay evidence is not admissible even if not objected to, or even if consented to. The court has no discretion in this latter, except in certain exceptional cases.

The rule against the admission of hearsay evidence is fundamental. It is not the best evidence and it is not delivered on oath. The truthfulness and accuracy of the person those words are spoken to by another witness cannot be tested by cross-examination.

It is always desirable, in the interest of justice, to get the persons whose statements are relied upon, into court for examination the regular way, in order that many possible sources of inaccuracy and untrustworthiness can be best brought to light and exposed.

Thus, its admission tends to open the door for fraud which might be practised with impunity. It is second-hand evidence; the person giving such evidence does not have any sense of responsibility. There is a tendency that truth will be diluted and diminished with each repetition and be frauds may be practiced under its cover. Further, its admission tends to prolong trials unduly by letting in the statement, the probative value of which is very slight.

Instances of hearsay evidence would be the evidence: A that “Z told me that he had seen X stabbing Y” or that “Z wrote a letter to me stating that he had seen X stabbing Y” or that “I read in the newspaper that X had murdered Y”.

2. Exceptions to the rule of hearsay

The correct rule as to hearsay, therefore, is that statements, oral or written reported having been made by persons not called as witnesses are not admissible in evidence subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions are to be found in sections 17 to 39-

  1. Admissions and
  2. confessions are exceptions to the hearsay rule.
  3. certain statements, made by persons dead or who cannot be called as witnesses which include dying declarations, statements made in due course of business, statements against interest, statements giving an opinion as to public right or custom, statements relating to pedigree (section 32);
  4. the previous deposition of a witness who is dead or cannot be called as a witness (section 33) ;
  5. entries in books of account kept in the course of business (section 34) ; entries in public registers or record (section 35); maps and charts, etc.

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 2021-10-01T08:24:00+05:30
Admin LB

Admin LB

Next Story