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Report No. 152

Chapter 11

Law of Evidence

11.1. Introduction.-

It is often said that facts constitute nine points of the law. This is all the more true of criminal prosecutions, where a pretty large bulk of the evidence comes to the court through the medium of witnesses giving oral testimony in court, unlike a civil trial, where some reliable material would be available in the shape of documentary evidence, evidence of possession, entries in the books of accounts, certificates issued by public officers, commercial usage, knowledge and information available to members of the family, Government records and the like.

Besides this, in a criminal trial, certain special rules become applicable. In particular, as per judicial practice, the quantum of evidence, or rather, the standard of proof in a criminal trial is higher than that required in a civil suit. Moreover, long history of abuse of the power of criminal prosecution has persuaded so many countries of the world, including India to incorporate in their constitution elaborate protections which operate more frequently in a criminal prosecution, than in a civil suit.

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