Q. Define fact, relevant fact and fact in issue. Point out the difference between the last two? [MPCJ 2010]

Ans. All three expression, fact, relevant fact and fact in issue has been statutorily defined under Sec. 3 of the Evidence Act,

With respect to “Fact”:- The act adopts Bentham’s classification of fact into two parts,

  • Physical facts, that is anything, state of things or relation of things capable of being perceived by the senses. It is demonstrated under illustration (a), (b) and (c) of the section.
  • Psychological facts, that is any mental condition of which any person is conscious such as intention, Knowledge, opinion, good or bad faith. It is demonstrated under illustration (d) and (e) of the section.

Relevant fact :- When any fact is connected with the other fact in any of the ways as referred under section 6 To 55 of the act then only it comes within the purview of relevant fact. So, a fact has to necessarily fall under any of the patches/pigeon holes as enumerated under section 6 To 55 of the act in order get elevated from logically relevant fact to legally relevant fact.

Fact-In-Issue :- In adversarial system of law, the court has to determine matter in controversy which depends upon substantive law i. e. ingredient of offence or allegation in pleading. This is called fact-in-issue and its Latin equivalent is factum probandum. The Fact-in-issue as defined under section 3 of the act may be mentioned as under-

  • Any fact from which either by itself or in connection with other facts, the existence, non-existence, nature or extent of any right, liability or disability asserted or denied in any suit or proceeding necessarily follows. Thus, gist of the matter is that such facts should be in controversy and also determinative of right or liability.
  • An explanation appended to the definition of the fact-in-issue further extends its scope to include the facts asserted or denied in the answer to issue of fact framed under civil procedure code.

It is, therefore, in the criminal matter the allegation in the charge sheet which constitutes the fact-in-issue and in civil matter if there are issues of facts then the answer thereof is equal to the fact-in-issue of the Evidence Act.

Distinction between relevant fact and fact-in-issue:-

  • Fact-in-issue is a necessary ingredient of a right or liability. Whereas, relevant fact is not a necessary ingredient of a right or liability.
  • Fact-in-issue is called principal fact ‘factum probandum’ . Whereas, relevant fact is called evidentiary fact or factum probantia.
  • Fact-in-issue affirmed by one party and denied by other party. Whereas, the relevant fact is the foundation of inference.