Indian Evidence Act, 1872: Amendments & Important Sections

Indian Evidence Act, 1872: Amendments & Important Sections

The Indian Evidence Act (IEA) is a consolidation of the laws related to the admissibility of evidence found in civil and criminal cases. The act was enacted on 15th March 1872 and adopted by India on 1st September of 1872. 

Earlier in India, the justice system was based on traditional laws which were distinguished based on caste, social status, community, or faith. Therefore, the Indian Evidence Act was introduced establishing the standard laws applicable to every Indian individual equally. 

Sir James Fitzjames Stephen is considered the founding father of the Indian Evidence Act.

Since this act was adopted before independence, therefore it was applicable in the Republic of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. After independence, the act is still applicable in these countries, though some amendments have been made in Bangladesh after its separation in 1971, and in Pakistan, it was repealed in 1984 by the Evidence Order 1984.

Amendments of the Indian Evidence Act

The IEA has been in practice in India since its adoption but a few amendments have been made in the last two decades. Those amendments include:

  • The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2005
  • The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008
  • The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013
  • The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

Composition of the Indian Evidence Act

The Indian Evidence Act consists of three parts with eleven chapters and 167 sections.

Part I – Relevancy of Facts

This part has the first two chapters, where Chapter I (section 1 to Section 4) is named as preliminary which gives the introduction of the act and defines important terms related to the trials of court cases. Chapter II deals with the relevancy of facts and extends from section 5 to section 55.

Part II – On Proof

The second part of IEA consists of four chapters, i.e. from Chapter 3 to Chapter 6. This part is related to the facts which are needed to be proved in court. The different types of evidence which are admissible in the court are also defined here. This part is extended from Section 56 to Section 100.

  • Chapter 3- Facts that need not be proved(Section 56-58)
  • Chapter 4- Of Oral Evidence (Section 59-60)
  • Chapter 5- Of Documentary Evidence(Section 61-90A)
  • Chapter 6- Of the Exclusion of Oral Evidence by Documentary Evidence(Section 91-100)

Part III – Production and Effect of Evidence

This is the last part of IEA consisting of five chapters from Chapter 7 to Chapter 11. This part explains the production and examination of compelling evidence and witnesses in the court during trials. Whether evidence can be accepted or rejected by the court is also discussed in this part. It is extended from Section 101 to Section 167.

  • Chapter 7- Of the Burden of Evidence (Section 101-114A)
  • Chapter 8- Estoppel (Section 115-117)
  • Chapter 9- Of Witnesses (Section 118-134)
  • Chapter 10- Of the Examination of Witnesses (Section 135-166)
  • Chapter 11- Of Improper Admission and Rejection of Evidence (Section 167)

Important Sections of the Indian Evidence Act

1. Section 11- When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant

Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant if they are inconsistent with any faction issue or relevant fact or 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.

2. Section 32– Cases in which a statement of relevant fact by a person who is dead or cannot be found, etc. is relevant

3. Section 45– Opinions of Experts

If the court needs any opinion on matters related to foreign law or science or art or handwriting or finger impressions, then a person who is skilled in such fields is asked for the opinion and is called an expert.

4. Section 45A– Opinion of examiner of Electronic Evidence

The opinion of an electronic evidence examiner is considered a fact. The opinion is referred to in section 79A of The Information Technology Act, 2000.

5. Section 46– Facts bearing upon opinions of Experts

Facts, not otherwise relevant, are relevant if they support or are inconsistent with the views of experts when such opinions are relevant.

6. Section 47– Opinion as to handwriting, when relevant

The court considers handwriting as a fact if the handwriting of a person is proven to be written by the same person or not. It is done by any person acquainted with the handwriting of the person who is supposed to write the document in the presence of the acquainted person.

7. Section 57– Facts of which Court must take judicial notice

This section explains the facts that the court must take judicial notice of. They are laws in force in the Indian territory; all personal and public acts and proceedings passed by the United Kingdom; articles of war for the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force; seals of all the English Court and Indian Courts; existence, title and national flag of every state or sovereign reorganized by the Indian Government; division of time, geographical areas, public festivals, fasts and holidays notified in the official gazette; territories under the dominion of Government of India, etc.

8. Section 58– Facts admitted need not be proved

It stated that the facts which are admitted to the court by the parties are not needed to be proved until the court directs to prove the facts.

9. Section 60- Oral Evidence must be Direct

The oral evidence must be direct whether the facts have been seen or heard or apprehended in any other sense.

10. Section 65A– Special provisions as to evidence relating to Electronic Record

All the electronic evidence may be proved in accordance with the provision of section 65B.

11. Section 65B- Admissibility of Electronic Records

Any evidence recorded in any kind of electronic device is admissible in court.

12. Section 67– Proof of Signature and Handwriting of person alleged to have signed or written document produced

The alleged signature and handwriting needed to be proved written by the same person.

13. Section 67A– Proof as to Digital Signature

Except in the case of a secured electronic signature, every alleged electronic signature is needed to be proved.

14. Section 73- Comparison of Signature, writing or seal with others admitted or proved

For the satisfaction of the court, the Court may ask to compare the signature, writing, or seal produced by the same person or not, which is submitted to the court. Any person present in the court can be asked to produce any word or figure for comparing such words or figures with those written by the concerned person.

15. Section 73A– Proof as to Verification of Digital Signature

This section demands proof of the digital signature by the concerned person or the certifying authorities.

16. Section 101– Burden of Proof

If a person desires any Court to give judgment on any legal right or liability dependent on the existence of facts, then it is the responsibility of that person to prove to the court that the fact exists. Therefore it is called the Burden of Proof.

17. Section 114A– Presumption as to absence of consent in certain prosecutions for Rape

In the prosecution for rape where the sexual intercourse by the accused is proved and the question regarding the consent of the victim, a woman is raised and the woman states that she didn’t give consent, then the court shall presume that she did not consent.

18. Section 132- Witness not excused from answering on ground that answer will criminate

A witness is not excused from answering on grounds that the answer will criminate him. And if the witness does such a thing then he will be charged for giving false evidence by such an answer.

19. Section 134– Number of Witnesses

There is no specific limit for the number of witnesses to be produced in the court.

20. Section 135– Order of production and examination of witnesses

The order of production and examination of witnesses shall be conducted by the means of laws relating to civil and criminal procedures and in the absence of any such law, by the discretion of the court.

21. Section 136- Judge to decide as to the admissibility of evidence

According to this section, if any party produces any fact or evidence, then the judge may ask the concerned party to prove it and if proven then the judge shall admit the evidence.

22. Section 137– Examination-in-chief

The different types of witness examination are defined in this section.

  • Examination-in-chief– Examination of a witness by the party who called him/her
  • Cross-examination – Examination of witness by the opposing party
  • Re-examination – examination of the witness again by the party who called him to clarify certain facts

23. Section 138- Order of Examinations

The examination of a witness is in the order of

Examination-in-chief → Cross-examination → Re-examination

24. Section 139– Cross-examination of the person called to produce a document

This section states that not every person who is summoned to produce a document is considered a witness. He cannot be cross-examined until or unless he is a witness.

25. Section 141- Leading Questions

It is defined as “any question suggesting the answer which the person putting it wishes or expects to receive is called a leading question”.

26. Section 154– Question by party to his own witness

The court may permit the party who called the witness to question the witness who later will be cross-examined by the opposing party.

27. Section 159- Refreshing Memory

While under examination, a witness may refresh his memory by referring to any writings made by him or any other person within the time aforesaid, if when he read it he knew it to be correct. He can use a copy of the document by the permission of the court.

28. Section 162- Production of Documents

The witness is summoned to produce the documents related to the case which are in his/her possession. No objection related to its admissibility is accepted and if any objection is created then its validity is decided by the court.

29. Section 165– Judge’s power to put questions or order production

This section states that if the judge feels, he can ask any question from the parties or witnesses at any time, in any form, or may ask to produce any document or thing, which cannot be objected by any witnesses and the parties.

30. Section 166- Power of Jury or assessors to put questions

This section allows the jury or assessors to put any questions to the witnesses that they consider proper.

31. Section 167- No new trial for improper admission and rejection of evidence

According to this section if the evidence is improperly admitted or rejected by the court then there will be no trial for that evidence if there was sufficient evidence to justify the decision.


Indian Evidence Act is the act that contains the laws regarding the production, admissibility, and relevancy of evidence, witnesses, and experts in the court. It is a common act that is applicable to every Indian individual regardless of caste, gender, class, social status, or faith. Each and every activity conducted in the trial is defined in this act.

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