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Report No. 28

The Indian Oaths Act, 1873

Indian Oaths Act, 1873
Why the Act has been taken up for revision
Historical background
Analysis of the Act
Law in England
Meaning of oath
Definition by Bentham
Oaths as security for ensuring veracity of evidence
Oaths in ancient India
Oaths in Muslim law
Sanction behind oath-fear of God-Bentham's view
Fear of divine punishment and forms of oaths
Utility of oath-criticism by Bentham and others
Contrary view as to utility
Should oaths be abolished?
Form of oath according to conscience
Form of oath-other suggestions
Form prescribed by High Courts
Oaths to be administered by the Judge
Special oaths
Question of retention of special oaths considered
Arguments in favour of special oaths
Arguments against special oaths
Harm caused by special oaths-Privy Council case
Special oaths and wager of law-Decisory and suppletory oaths
Fundamental objections to special oaths
Freedom of contract considered
Definition of oath
Section 3 and Courts-martial
Section 4 and other laws
Section 4 and affidavits
Section 4 and powers of Commanding Officers
Section 5-Obligation to make oath
Section 5 and oath by accused examined as a witness
Section 5-other points
Section 6-Principle
Section 6-other suggestions
Section 7-Form of oath
Section 7-Holding of book
Section 14-obligation tc state the truth-significance
Section 14-when applies
Other changes
Appendix 1 Proposals as shown in the Form of a Draft Bill
Index to the Bill
The Oaths Bill, 196....
1. Short title and extent
2. Saving of certain oaths and affirmations
3. Authority to administer oaths
4. Oaths or affirmations to be made by witnesses, jurors and interpreters
5. Affirmation by persons desiring to affirmation
6. Forms of oaths and affirmations
7. Proceedings and evidence not invalidated by omission of oath or irregularity
8. Persons giving evidence bound to state the truth
9. Repeal
Schedule Form of Oaths
Appendix 2 Notes on Clauses
Clauses 1 to 3
Clause 4
Clause 5
Clause 6
Clause 7
Clause 8
Appendix 3 Recommendations in Respect of other Acts
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898
Appendix 4 Comparative Table
Showing the provision in the existing Act, and the corresponding provision, if any, in the Bill in Appendix I

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