Q. What are the principles of evidence?
Ans. The fundamental principle of the law of evidence, namely that evidence must be confined to the matters in issue, is qualified by the following two fundamental principles:
1. Hearsay evidence is not to be admitted
2. In all cases, the best evidence must be given.
The act makes an attempt to define positively and enumerate what are relevant facts. The concept of relevancy is laid down in section 11 the Act. Facts which are inconsistent with facts in issue or relevant facts, or those which render highly probable or improbable the fact in issue, are themselves relevant. This is the gist of the relevancy of facts. A fact is relevant only when it has a tendency of making the existence or non-existence of the facts in issue highly probable in the opinion of the Court.
In English Law, the law of evidence generally states what facts cannot be adduced as evidence, the inference being that the rest can be adduced as evidence. The Evidence Act, on the other hand, makes an attempt to state positively what facts are relevant.
The whole of the Evidence Act can be divided into the following three parts:
1. What facts may and may not be proved? – Sections 1 to 55 deal with the answers to this question.
2. How are the relevant facts to be proved, or what kind of evidence must be given of a fact which may be proved? – Sections 56 to 117 deal with these three questions.
3. By whom, and in what manner, must the evidence be produced? – In this part of the Evidence Act, the competency of the methods of testing their creditworthiness are discussed. Sections 118 to 167 of the Act lay down the rules in this connection.