PCS (J) Notes: Law of Evidence, Section 19 & 20, Right and Liability of a party depends on the proof of the position or liability of another person

Section 19 & 20, Right and Liability of a party depends on the proof of the position or liability of another person

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According to section 19, where the right or liability of a party depends on the proof of the position or liability of another person, any admission made by such person would be relevant as against party to the suit.

A files a suit against B for possession of a house alleging that it belongs to him. B contends that the house belongs to him. A can lead evidence to the effect that B admitted his title the house in dispute out of the Court prior to the suit. Similarly B can prove admission made by A. The statement of tenant C is also relevant prove that to whom he has given rent. The position of tenant C is in issue regarding the collection of rent only.

Person Expressly referred to by party to suit- Section 20

Section 20 refers to admissions by those persons to whom the party has referred for some information on the matter in dispute. On reference, the party is bound by the declaration of person expressly referred to because it is deemed to have been said or done by himself. Section 20 will not apply to the mediator or arbitrator. Reference under section 20 may be by words or by conduct, but in any case there must be a clear admission to refer and such admissions are generally conclusive. By virtue of sec. 20 the statement of nominees of the parties would be treated as an admission of the parties. Essential conditions for the statement by reference:

  1. The party against whom admission is to be proved must have referred the matter.
  2. Will be admissible only when it relates strictly to the subject matter in relation to which            reference is made.
  3. Reference must be only for information and not for final adjudication or arbitrations.
  4. Reference must not be on a question of law.
  5. Reference should have been withdrawn before admission.

 ILLUSTRATION- A says to B “I will pay you the sum of rs. 20, if C says I owe it to you”, on reference C says “A owes Rs.200 to B”. This statement of C will be proved against A as his admission under sec.20


               A party by his silence may admit the truth of the matter stated. A party’s  silence will render the statement made in his presence or hearing, evidence against him of their truth provided he keeps silent when he is reasonably called on to reply thereto. The law will not oblige a man who received as absurd or vexations notice to reply to it, and will not conclude from the mere fact of non-reply on the same an admission of the truth of allegation.

        ILLUSTRATION – A lady went to the school for the registration of her child but she did not fill the name and profession of the father. On being asked, she kept silent, her silence may mean that she does not know the name of the father or does not want to disclose it. It may mean admission of the illegitimacy of the child.

       ILLUSTRATION – The girl said to the boy “you always promised to marry me, and now you do not keep your words” The boy did not deny the allegations but offered her some money. The court can draw the inference of an admission of the promise by the silence and conduct of the boy.

Admission only of facts and not of law

              Admission of law, i.e., judicial admission are not admissible. Only those admissions that relate to facts are admissible. Reason being that no questions of law can be decided on the basis of an admission. Admission on point of law has no force against the party. However, under the English law admission of law is relevant. Even a mixed admission vis-à-vis question of fact and law is not binding.

Admission must be clear, precise and not vague or ambiguous. If an admission is open to different meanings, it cannot be taken into consideration.

Necessity  of an admission

         An admission reduces the work of the courts and other parties and saves their valuable time. Sec.58 of the act says that admissions need not be proved. However, if the Court desires, it may reject the admission wholly or partly or may ask for further proof.

Admission to be taken as a whole

The general rule is that admission cannot be split up and then used against the maker. But the Court in its discretion can believe one part of the statement and reject the  rest. Where an admission is made subject to conditions or qualifications, then conditions or qualifying part must also be tekn into consideration.

Circumstances and form of an Admission

Circumstances under which the admission are made are always of importance because it adds to the weight of the admission. As far as form of admission is concerned, there is no particular form, admission could be in any form (words, sign, silence or through conduct) or under any circumstances for e.g, overhearing an statement being made to his wife can be adduced as admission murmuring something to oneself may also be put forward as evidence.

Principle of Self Harming Interest

It is generally expected that a person would make a statement that favours him. And if these favourable statements were to be allowed to be used, it would be quite an easy task for everyone to speak something in one’s own favour and then bring it as evidence. But, supposing somebody says something that is detrimental to him or her, it is quite natural to suppose that s/he would be speaking the truth, for e.g, suppose, a shopkeeper makes an entry in his book to the effect that he owes a certain sum of money to a supplier of goods. This entry is against the interest of the shopkeeper and may be presumed to be correct. In a nutshell, this principle says nobody would declare anything against himself unless it were true. But there are certain exceptions to this general principle which have been laid down in section 21.

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