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Report No. 69

Section 19

9.47. Section 19-Introductory.-

Section 19 deals with statements made by persons whose position or liability it is necessary to prove as against any party to the suit. Statements made by such persons are admissions if such statements satisfy two conditions, namely-(a) such statements should be relevant as against such persons in relation to such position or liability for a suit brought by or against them, and (b) such statements are made whilst a person making them occupies such position or is subject to such liability.

9.48. For understanding the section, it is necessary to refer to the illustration.

9.49. The illustration given by the legislature below the section says, in effect, that where a person who has undertaken to collect rents from a third person is sued for not collecting the rent due from the third person and takes the defence that no rent was due from the third person, a statement by the third person that he owed rent to the plaintiff in the suit is an admission, and is a relevant fact as against the person so sued if he denies that the third person did owe rent to the plaintiff. This is not the precise wording of the illustration; but we have put it in a language which will bring out the working of the section. The principal significance of the section lies in this, that a statement made by a third person becomes an admission, in the limited circumstances mentioned in the section.

9.50. Statements by strangers.-

In general, statements by strangers are not relevant as against the parties.1 To this general rule, an exception made, apparently for the reason that if the person whose position or liability is in dispute, though a stranger, has himself made an admission, his statement should be relevant. Of course, a very important condition is that-as the section provides-"such statements would be relevant as against such persons in relation to such position or liability in a suit brought by or against them." This requirement in the section implies that generally, statements made by the third person in his favour would not fall within the section.

1. Coole v. Braham, (1848) 3 Exch 183.

9.51. Position in England.-

It would appear that, in England, admissions of a bankrupt made before the act of bankruptcy are receivable in proof of the debt of the petitioning creditor, as against the trustee in bankruptcy.1 The position would be the same in India under section 19. Similarly, in England, in an action against the Sheriff, for not executing a process against the debtor, statements of the debtor, admitting his debt to the executing creditor, are relevant, as against the Sheriff.2 The position would be the same in India.

1. Coole v. Braham, (1848) 3 Exch 183.

2. Stephen's Digest, Article 18; Kempland v. Macaulay, Peake 95, cited in Woodroffe.

9.52. Verbal change recommended.-

The above discussion does not reveal need for any change in the section, in its substance. But we are of the view that the section should apply to all "civil proceedings", and we, therefore, recommend that for the word "suit", the word "civil proceeding" should be substituted.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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