Ch.1.10. Expert Witness (Sn. 45)
An expert witness is one who has devoted his time and study to a special branch of learning and so is skilled specially on the points on which he gives the opinion. His evidence is admissible, doctors surgeons, engineers, fingerprint and Handwriting experts, Chemical examiners etc, are Expert witnesses.
The principle of the Evidence Act is that the “opinion evidence” should not be entertained. Expert opinion is an exception to this rule.
Opinion of experts on points of i) Foreign Law ii) Art iii) Identity of handwriting or fingerprints or other impressions, are admissible as facts in evidence.
Eg.: i) The question is whether ‘A’ died of poison. The opinion of an expert relating to the symptoms of such poison is relevant.
- ii) The question is whether a signature is that of ‘A’. Handwriting experts opinion is relevan In the Meerut Conspiracy case, the Supreme Court laid down that after hearing experts
opinion the court’may come to its own conclusions and it is not bound by experts opinion.
The experts opinion is rebuttable. Facts which support or are inconsistent with experts opinions are relevant to rebut or affirm such opinions. Eg. : A was poisoned by B. The fact other persons showed similar symptoms with that poison, is relevant.
In Aziz Banu Vs M.Ibrahim, witness W was examined as an expert in Muslim law. The High Court, rejected this and held that the evidence was inadmissible. The Court must decide the law, not the witness. But experts may be witnesses to prove foreign law.