Report No. 185
Section 20 refers to 'admissions by persons expressly referred to by party to suit'.
It says that "statements made by persons to whom a party to the suit has expressly referred for information in reference to a matter in dispute are admissions".
The illustration below the recital is as follows:
"The question is, whether a horse sold by A to B is sound. A says to .-
'Go and ask C, C knows all about it."
C's statement is an admission.
In the 69th Report (see para 9.57), it was stated that no amendment in section 20 is necessary except that the world 'suit' may be substituted by the word 'civil proceeding'. The principle of this section was applied by the Supreme Court in Hirachand Kothari v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1985 SC 998 and K.M. Singh v. Secretary, Association of Indian Universities AIR 1992 SC 1356.
In the 69th Report, it was noted that the principle underlying section 20 may apply to criminal proceedings as well and that the absence of the accused would not affect the admissibility of the statement of the referee (see also Sarkar, 15th Ed., 1999 p.393). However, it was felt that the applicability of the principle underlying section 20, to criminal cases would be rare. Hence, the Commission did not make any recommendation for applying the section to criminal proceeding.
We have nothing fresh to add and we too recommend that the word 'suit' be substituted by the words 'civil proceeding' both in the title and the body of section 20.