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PCS (J) Notes: Sec 11, When facts not otherwise relevant becomes relevant

As per section 11, facts not otherwise relevant are relevant in the following two situations.

  1. If they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;
  2. If by themselves or in connection with other facts they make the existence or non-existence of any fact in issue or relevant fact highly probable or improbable.


The object of a trial is to prove or disprove, by evidence, a particular claim charge, therefore any fact, which either proves or tends to disprove, that claim or charge is relevant. Section 11 attempts to state in popular language the general theory of relevancy and it is therefore described as the residuary section dealing with relevancy of facts. The words of section 11 are very wide. Collateral facts which by way of contradiction are inconsistent with a fact in issue or another relevant fact, that which make the existence of a fact in issue or relevant fact impossible or highly improbable or which by way of corroboration are consistent with the existence of the fact in issue or a relevant fact, i.e, tend to render the existence of a fact in issue or a relevant fact highly probable are themselves made relevant by the section.

Section 11 controlled by other section

The terms of section 11 are no doubt wide, but they must be read subject to the other sections of the Act and, therefore, the fact relied on must be proved in accordance with the provisions of the Act. If the fact is a statement made by a person who is not called or cannot be called the statement cannot be admitted unless it comes within the subsequent sections of the Act. (i.e, Section 32 and 33)

In Bela Rani and others v. Mahabir Singh and others, 19 ALJ 351, on Bani Ram, who died in 1866, owned the property in dispute. He was succeeded by his wife Mst. Mathuri who died in 1878 and was succeeded by her daughter Mst. Dasodari. Mst. Dasodari transferred the property in dispute to the ancestor of defendants. The Plantiffs purchased the property from the persons who would be entitled to the property on the death of Mst. Dasodari. The plantiff filed the suit for possession. The main defence wwas that Mst. Dasodari died more than 12 years prior to the filling of the suit which was accordingly barred by limitation. At the death of Mst. Dasodari applications were made for mutation of some of the property in possession of which she had been. These applications were supported by depositions of the reversioners. Copies of the applications were supported by depositions were filed by the plantiff in the present suit. In all these copies the date of the death of Mst. Dasodari was stated to be the 16th of March, was argued that the depositions make it highly probable that Dasodari died on the 16th of March, 1898 and therefore were admissible under section 11 of the Indian Evidence Act.

It was held that the statements were simply the statements of persons who were dead and such statements are not relevant unless they come under one or more of sub-sections of section 32 of Indian Evidence Act. The statement bring not admissible under Section 32 of the Act were held inadmissible under Section 11 of the Act.

Inconsistent Facts-

Evidence can be given of facts which have no other connection with the main facts of a case except this that they are inconsistent with a fact in issue or a relevant fact. Their inconsistency with the main facts of the case is sufficient to warrant their relevancy.

The usual logic of the argument from essential inconsistency is that a certain fact cannot co-exist with the doing of the fact in question, and therefore if that fact is true off a person of whom the act is alleged, it is impossible that he should have done the act. Professor Wigmore cites five common cases falling under the line of this argument.

  1. The absence of the person charged, in another place. (Alibi)
  2. The absence of the husband when the child was begotten.
  3. Survival of an alleged deceased person after supposed time of death.
  4. The commission of a crime by a third person.
  5. Self- infliction of the harm alleged.