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Report No. 28

23. Form of oath-other suggestions.-It has been argued, that the Act does not lay down a well-worded, rational or true form of oath, and therefore the deponent do not clearly understand the implications of the oath. The object of oath, it is stated, is to call the attention of the witness to God, so that he must have the idea that there will be super-human retribution for falsehood; but, it is argued, if a person does not believe in God as separate from himself and as the rewarder of truth and avenger of falsehood, the love or fear of God cannot act on him. It is also argued, that people believe in different Gods, and their variety of belief affects their conduct, so that they do not in reality feel any obligation to state the truth.

The word "God" in an oath, it is contended, refers to the Incorporeal Supreme Soul and not to any Corporeal Deity. Having regard to these reasons, it is suggested, the words "Supreme and Divine Justice" and the word "Incorporeal" should form part of the oath. Particular forms of oaths have also been suggested A metaphysical discussion about the nature of God and about the constituent ingredients of that concept is, however, outside the scope of the Act with which we are dealing. The invocation of a super-human power to reinforce the moral obligation to state the truth may be of the essence of an oath in the name of God; but it is hardly appropriate to elaborate that aspect while laying down the form of oath in a statute.

Indian Oaths Act, 1873 Back

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