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Report No. 60

3.3. Section 3(2)-"act".- Section 3(2) defines the expression "act". It needs no change.

3.4. Section 3(3)-"affidavit".- Section 3(3) reads thus:

"affidavit" shall include affirmation and declaration in the case of persons by law allowed to affirm or declare instead of swearing. The definition is inaccurate, because it seems to equate "affidavit" and "oath", as the word "oath" is defined also1 in the same terms. What an "affidavit" really means is the written statement made on oath (or on a solemn affirmation etc.), and not the affirmation or oath itself.

Etymologically, the root of the word "affidavit" is the medieval Latin "fidus", which means trust. From this root, the word "affidare" was derived in medieval Latin, and it meant "has stated on oath". From that, the word "affidavit" is derived. Hence, the dictionary meaning of "affidavit" is a written statement confirmed by oath, to be used as judicial proof2. According to Wharton3, "affidavit" is a written statement sworn before a person having authority to administer an oath.

1. Section 3(37).

2. Concise Oxford Dictionary, (1964), under "affidavit", p. 27.

3. Wharton Law Lexicon, (1953), p. 38.

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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