Report No. 69
Section 60 is one of the most important sections of the Act. It incorporates, in substance, the rule against hearsay. This, it does in wording which may, at first sight, appear somewhat indirect and cumbersome; but the purport is fairly clear.
25.2. General principle in section 60.-
In all cases whatever, oral evidence must be direct, that is what section 60, in its opening portion, provides. This part of the section, thus, lays down a general principle. The next part of the section elaborates and spells out thus general proposition, by stating that if the oral evidence refers to a fact which could be seen, then it must be the evidence of a person who says he saw it. Similarly, if the oral evidence refers to a fact which could be heard, then it must be the evidence of a person who says or heard it. The same rule applies where the fact is one which could be perceived by any other sense or in any other manner. Lastly, in the case of oral evidence which refers to an opinion or to the grounds on which the opinion is held, it must be the evidence of a person who holds that opinion on those grounds.
25.3. First proviso.-
These propositions, spelling out the general principle referred to above, are followed by two provisos. The first proviso is in the following terms:-
"Provided that the opinions of the experts expressed in any treatise commonly offered for sale, and the grounds on which such opinions are held, may be proved by the production of such treatise if the author is dead or cannot be found or has become incapable of giving evidence, or cannot be called as a witness without an amount of delay or expense which the Court regards as unreasonable."
25.4. This proviso is obviously a qualification of what was stated earlier in the section as to the evidence of opinion. Where the proviso applies, the evidence need not be that of the very person who holds the opinion. It could take the shape of a quotation from the work. That is the gist of the first proviso.