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Report No. 28

The Indian Oaths Act, 1873

Forward to the Union Minister of Law and Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India by Mr. Justice J.L. Kapur, Chairman, Law Commission of India, on May 28, 1965.

1. Why the Act has been taken up for revision.-One of the functions of the Law Commission is to revise Central Acts of general application and importance. The Indian Oaths Act, 1873, falls in this category. It is a short Act, consisting of 14 sections only. But it is an important Act. The obligation of witnesses to state the truth arises from this Act. Section 14 of the Act requires a person giving evidence before any Court or person authorized by the Act to administer oaths and affirmations, to state the truth on the subject on which he is giving evidence.1-2 The administration of oath to witnesses is one of the securities devised3 for ensuring their trustworthiness. We have, therefore, taken up the revision of this Act of our own motion, without any reference from the Government.

1. For punishment for false evidence, see sections 179, 181 and 191, Indian Penal Code.

2. See also para. 66, infra.

3. See para. 6, infra.

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