The Indian Evidence Act, of 1872, is a legislation in India that deals with the rules and regulations related to the admissibility of evidence in legal proceedings. The Act was enacted during the British colonial period and has undergone amendments since its inception. It is a comprehensive statute that outlines various rules regarding the presentation and admissibility of evidence in both civil and criminal cases.

Key features and provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

  1. Relevance of Facts (Sections 5-55): The Act defines what facts are relevant to a case and prescribes rules for determining the relevance of evidence.
  2. Oral Evidence (Sections 60-73): The Act addresses the rules for presenting oral evidence, including examination-in-chief, cross-examination, and re-examination of witnesses.
  3. Documentary Evidence (Sections 61-90): It provides rules regarding the admissibility and proof of documents in legal proceedings.
  4. Presumptions as to Documents (Sections 85-90): The Act contains provisions that establish certain presumptions concerning documents.
  5. Burden of Proof (Sections 101-114A): The Act sets out rules regarding the burden of proof in civil and criminal cases.
  6. Privileged Communications (Sections 122-132): Certain communications are protected and cannot be disclosed as evidence, such as those between spouses or between an attorney and client.
  7. Confessions (Sections 24-30): The Act outlines rules regarding the admissibility of confessions made by an accused.
  8. Expert Evidence (Sections 45-51): The Act addresses the admissibility of expert opinions in certain circumstances.

Important Case laws in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

A list of Important case laws has been discussed hereunder that helps in understanding certain provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 that hold immense importance.


M P Sharma vs Satish Chandra Case(1954)

This was one of the first Supreme Court decisions on the right to privacy in India. A committee of eight members of the court also briefly discussed the right to privacy and interaction with Article 20 (3) when discussing the constitutionality of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) investigation and seizure clauses of 1898.Discussed. In that ruling, the court ruled that the search and seizure of documents did not constitute “compulsory testimony” and therefore did not infringe Article 20 (3)


There was a company was owned by Dalmai group namely Dalmai airways ltd. which was registered in July 1946 and went into liquidation in June 1952. The probe indicated malpractices within the company and attempts to conceal from shareholders, the actual state of affairs by submitting false accounts and balance sheets. An FIR was registered on November 19, 1953, and a request was made to the District Magistrate, Delhi, for search warrants.


The main issue that were considered were whether there was Violation of Article 19 (1) (f) (right to property which is not fundamental right now), Violation of Article 20 (3) (right against self-incrimination) and Constitutional limitations to the government’s right to search and seizure and if this would in any way breach the right to privacy.


A majority decision by an eight-judge Constitution bench held that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution and also held that search and seizure is must for the protection of social security and also stated that search and seizure process is temporary interference for which statutory recognition was unnecessary.

It was considered to be a reasonable restriction of the freedoms under the Constitution which could not be held unconstitutional. The 4th amendment of United States of America was taken into consideration while giving the judgement which is about the reasonable search and seizure.

Kharak Singh vs State Of U.P(1964)


Kharak Singh, the Petitioner was released from an investigation of dacoity for lack of evidence against him, but the U.P. Police opened a ‘history sheet’ against him under Chapter 20 of the U.P. Police Regulations. These Regulations allowed surveillance on individuals who were habitual criminals or were considered likely to become habitual criminals. The police conducted surveillance as per Regulation 236 of the U.P. Police Regulations, which involved secret picketing of Petitioner’s house, nightly domiciliary visits, periodic inquiries by officers as well as tracking and verification of his movements. The Petitioner challenged the constitutionality of Chapter 20 of the U.P. Police Regulations that allowed police officials to conduct this nature of surveillance upon him.


Whether “surveillance” under the impugned Chapter 20 of U.P. Police Regulations constituted an infringement of fundamental rights guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.


It must be held that the petitioner’s freedom under Art.19(1) (a) of the Constitution is also infringed. It is not necessary in this case to express our view on whether some of the other freedoms enshrined in Art.19 of the Constitution are also infringed by the said Regulation. In the result, we would issue an order directing the respondents not to take any measure against the petitioner under Regulation 236 of Chapter 22 of the U. P. Police Regulations. The respondents will pay the costs of the petitioner.

State of Maharashtra Vs. Damu(2000)

Established the principal that a dying declaration can be a strong piece of evidence if it meets certain criteria.

Pulukuri kottaya vs Emperor, (1947)


Appellants were charged with murder. In the police custody, one of them made a statement that:

“about 14 days ago, I Kottaya and people of my party waited for Sivayay and others at about sunset time at the corner of one tank. We all beat Boddupati China Sivayya and Subayya to death. The remaining persons, ran away. Dondapti, one of the member of my party had spear in his hand which he gave it to the me. The spear and my stick are hidden in the rick of Venkatanasaru in the village, I will show if you come.”

This is an appeal by special leave against the judgment and order of the High Court of Judicature at Madras. In the appeal, the accused contended their statements were admitted in violation of section 26 and 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Legal Issue

Whether confession made before police while in custody revealing the discovery of a weapon admissible as evidence against the accused?


Justice John Beaumont observed that:

  • Section 26 of the Indian Evidence Act says that confession by the accused while in the custody of police is not to be proved against him.
  • But Section 27 provides an exception to the prohibition imposed by Section 26 of the Indian Evidence Act.
  • The court held that the whole of the states except the passage “I hid it (a spear) and my stick in the village, I will show if you come” is inadmissible. And only the discovery statement, even being admissible, is not sufficient evidence and cannot be sole ground of conviction.

Sarwan Singh Rattan Singh vs. State of Punjab (1957)

Addressed the admissibility of extra-judicial confessions.

Rameshwar Vs. State of Rajasthan(1952)

Established the principal of res gestae.

Pakala Narayana Swami vs. Emperor (1939)


March 23, 1937, at noon the body of the deceased man was found in a steel trunk in a third class compartment at Puri, the terminus of a branch line on the Bengal Nagpur Railway, where the trunk had been left unclaimed. The body had been cut into seven portions and the medical evidence left no doubt that the man had been murdered. The body of the deceased was later identified by his widow. He was a man around the age of 40 years and had been peon in the service of Dewan of Pithapur.

One of the daughters of the deceased was the wife of the accused. About 1919 the accused and his wife were married. They went to live at Berhampur about 250 miles from Pithapur. They returned to Pithapur during 1933 and on account of their needs of money the accused’s wife borrowed Rs. 3000 at interest at the rate of 18% per annum. About 50 letters and notes proving these transactions signed by the accused’s wife were found in the deceased man’s house at Pithapur after his death.

On 20th March 1937 the deceased man received a letter the contents of which were not signed but it was reasonably clear that it invited him to come to Berhampur that day or next day. Kuree Nukaraju’s (the deceased) widow told the court that on that day her husband showed her a letter and said that he was going to Berhampur as Swami’s wife had written to him inviting him to come to receive payment of his dues. The deceased left his place on 21st march to catch the train for Berhampur. And on Tuesday 23rd March his body was found in a steel trunk in a third class compartment of a train at Puri.


  • Whether the statement of the accused can be considered as confession?
  • Whether the statement of the deceased to his wife that he is going to Berhampur to take back his loan was considered as a dying declaration?


The Privy Council expressed the opinion that the statement of the accused was partly confession and partly explanation for his innocence. By giving the benefit of doubt, the Privy Council set aside the conviction of the accused with the following observation

  • The word confession can be construed from a statement by an accused suggesting the inference that he had committed the crime.
  • A confession either admits in terms of the offence or at any rate substantially admits all the facts which constitute the offence.
  • An admission of a gravely incriminating facts even if a conclusively incriminating facts cannot be considered as a confession
  • A statement which contain self-explanatory matter cannot amount to confession. It must be either be taken as whole or rejected.
  • The statement of the deceased to his wife was considered as a dying declaration and hence admissible under section 32(1).

Lakshmi Rajan Vs. Malarvizhi (2018)

Clarified the concept of electronic evidence and its admissibility

Navjot Sandhu Vs. State of Punjab (2003)

Dealt with the admissibility of confessions recorded by police officers

State of Gujarat Vs. Kishanbhai (2014)

Examined the importance of forensic evidence in criminal trials



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