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Report No. 94

3.3. Codifications.-

There is also another feature of the legal system of India, relevant to the matter under discussion. It has so happened that by the time the Evidence Act came to be enacted, the substantive criminal law and the law of criminal procedure in India had also come to be in a codified form. In its totality, this situation seems to have led to the implicit assumption that one must, in this sphere, have recourse to the statute law only. This approach was fortified by the well-known pronouncement of the Privy Council to the effect that the "essence of a Code is to be exhaustive in respect of all matters dealt with by the Code."

This statement of the Privy Council on the interpretation of Codes in general became a classical test, which came to be cited almost on every occasion when an attempt was made in the courts to persuade the judge to travel outside the code on a particular subject for seeking guidance in evolving the law. The same approach prevailed as for the interpretation of the Evidence Act.1 In short, the law of evidence ceased to draw its juices from any other roots except what had been enacted in a codified form.

1. Cf. Lekharaj v. Mahjopal, 1875 ILR 5 Cal 744 (754) (PC).



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