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Report No. 94

Chapter 3

The Indian Law

3.1. General approach.-

According to the general approach of the Indian legal system, illegality or impropriety in the gathering or procuring of evidence does not, in itself, render the evidence so procured inadmissible, though it may affect its weight in some cases. Courts in India have, in general, treated such violations of the law as having no relevance to the admissibility of the evidence.

3.2. This approach might have been due, to some extent, to the fact that the Indian Law of evidence is almost entirely codified, with an elaborate classification of facts into relevant and irrelevant, and specific categorisation of admissible and inadmissible evidence, and similar other differentia laid down by statute. The Indian Evidence Act was perhaps the first comprehensive code of evidence enacted in the entire commonwealth (1872). By the time developments regarding the discretion of the court to exclude, evidence on grounds of public policy took shape elsewhere, the Act had already become firmly embedded in the training and upbringing of the Indian Judiciary.

The superimposition of common law doctrines upon the codified framework of the law of evidence did not find a very hospitable soil in the Indian Legal system. Courts, in deciding questions of the admissibility or otherwise of evidence, had recourse only to the scheme and text of the Evidence Act, and were not inclined to go outside the four corners of the Act for determining questions of admissibility.

Evidence Obtained Illegally or Improperly - Proposed Section 166a of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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