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Report No. 28

Clause 6

(Existing section 7)

The forms have been laid down in the Schedule to the Act, instead of being left to be prescribed by rules as at present.1

The court has, however, been given power to permit a witness to take the oath in a different form.2

3. It has been provided that the oath should be administered by the presiding officer, except in the case of certain courts.3

4. Practice in England.-The forms of oaths in England are as follows:-Witnesses in England:-

In England4 the standard form of oath now is that prescribed by section 2 of the Oaths Act, 1909, which provides that the person taking the oath shall hold the New Testament (or, in the case of a Jew, the Old Testament) in his uplifted hand and shall say or repeat after the officer administering the Oath the words "I swear by Almighty God that (followed by the words of the oath prescribed by law)".

A person who objects to being sworn has, under section 1 of the Oaths Act, 1888, the option to make a solemn affirmation (see also the Oath Act, 1961). The form of such solemn affirmation under section 2 of that Act is-

"1, A.B., do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm"-then proceeding with the oath prescribed by law, omitting any words of imprecation or calling to witness.

For Quakers and Moravians a solemn affirmation or declaration instead of oath is expressly allowed by the Quakers and Moravians Act, 18335.

Subject to these rules, the actual form of oath in criminal cases in England is as follows6:-

"1 swear by the Almighty God (or I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm) that the evidence I shall give to the court and jury sworn between our sovereign lady the Queen and the prisoner(s) at the bar shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

Jurors in England-

In England, the oath for jurors in criminal cases is in the following form7:

"I swear by Almighty God (or I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm) that I will faithfully try the several issues joined between our sovereign lady the Queen and the prisoner(s) at the bar and give a true verdict according to the evidence."

Forms of Oath-India.-As an example of forms of oaths in use in India, we may refer to the Bombay High Court Rules on the Original Side, 1957, under which the forms are as follows8:-

"Witnesses" Oaths (Form No. 88)-Bombay High Court.

Christian (on New Testament)-

I swear that what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God. (In case of Quaker substitute, for 'swear' "being one of the people called Quakers do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm)."

Jew (on the Hebrew Testament)-

I swear that what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God.

Parsi-

[The witness with his shoes on and placing his right hand on the open Zend Avesta, shall say]-

I swear in the presence of Almighty God that what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Manashi, Gavasni, Kunasni.

Hindu and Muhammadan-

I solemnly affirm in the presence of Almighty God that what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Juror's Oaths (Form No. 89)-Bombay High Court.

I...........

do swear in the name of Almighty God.

Solemnly, sincerely and truly declare

and affirm that I will well and truly try
and true deliverance make between the
State and the prisoner(s) at the bar,
whom I shall have in charge and a true
verdict give according to the evidence.

Interpreter's Oath (Rule 37)-Bombay High Court

Every Interpreter and Translator before his admission to office shall take an oath or solemn affirmation that he will well and truly interpret and explain all questions put to and evidence given by witnesses, and translate correctly and accurately all documents given to him for translation.

1. For reasons, see the body of the Report, paras. 24(b) and 60.

2. For reasons see the body of the Report, para. 61.

3. See the body of the Report, paras. 25 and 63.

4. For details, see Boland and Sayer's Oaths and Affirmations, (1961), pp. 23-24 (106), et seq.

5. Quakers and Moravians Act, 1833 (3 and 4 Will. IV, c. 49).

6. Archbold Criminal Pleadings, (1962), para. 548.

7. Archbold Criminal Pleadings, (1962), para. 524.

8. For Oaths by witnesses, etc., before Commissioners, see Bombay High Court O.S. Rules, 1957, Form No. 85, end.



Indian Oaths Act, 1873 Back




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