Facts need not be proved under the Evidence Act 1872

What facts need not be proved?

Generally, if a fact is alleged by any party to a suit or criminal case, that party has to provide proof of the truthfulness of that fact to the court. However, Indian Evidence Act allows the court to accept certain kinds of facts without any necessity to be proven by any party. These kinds of facts are specified in Section 56, 57, 58, and 114. The provisions in these sections are as follows –

Section 56 – Facts judicially noticeable need not be proved – No fact of which the Court will take judicial notice need be proved. This means that if the court is bound to take notice of a particular fact, the parties do not have the burden of proving that fact. It is part of the judicial function to know that fact. For example, the court is bound to know the various laws and customs of the country. A party does not need to provide any proof when stating any law. 

Facts for which a court will take judicial notice are specified in Section 57. These include Laws in force in India, Public Acts of Parliament, Local, and personal acts declared by it to be judicially noticed, Articles of War for Indian armed forces, the rule of the road, land, or sea, that vehicles in India must keep to the left of a road, etc, the territories under the dominion of Govt. of India. In all these cases, the court may resort to appropriate books or documents of reference for its aid. Also, the matters enumerated in this section are not exhaustive. The section merely provides that the court must take judicial notice of the facts enumerated in this section. It does not prohibit the court from takings judicial notice of any other facts. To understand this point, we need to look at the meaning of judicial notice –

Meaning of “Taking Judicial Notice” –  It means recognition of something as existing or as being true without having any proof. Judicial notice is based upon reasons of convenience and expediency. Certain things are so commonly known that any ordinary person is aware of it and it is a waste of time to seek any proof for such things. For example, it is a commonly known fact that certain parts of MP, Bihar, and AP are Naxalite affected or that J&K is a terror-stricken area.

A court does not need to spend time looking for its proof. Thus, judicial notice is the cognizance taken by the court itself of certain matters which are so notorious or clearly established that the evidence of their existence is unnecessary.  For example, in the case of the Managing Committee of Raja Sidheshwar High School vs the State of Bihar, AIR 1993, the court took judicial notice of the fact that education in the state was virtually crumbled. In another case, the court took judicial notice of the fact that several blind persons have acquired great academic distinction.

If the court is called upon by a person to take judicial notice of a fact, it may refuse to do so unless and until such person produces any such book or document as it may consider necessary to enable it to do so. The basic requirement for taking judicial notice is that the fact has to be of a class that is so general as to give rise to the presumption that all persons are aware of it. However, a judge cannot bring his personal knowledge to judicial notice if that knowledge is not public knowledge. Just because a judge knows something does not make it a thing of common knowledge.

J Chandrachud observed that a court does not operate in an ivory tower. It can take cognizance of facts that are happening all around it. Shutting the judicial eye to the existence of such facts and matters is in a sense an insult to common sense and would reduce the judicial process to a meaningless and wasteful trial. No court, therefore, needs to insist upon formal proof of notorious facts such as the date of polls, the passing away of an eminent person, or events that have rocked the nation.

Section 58 – Facts admitted need not be proved – No fact need be proved in any proceeding which the parties thereto or their agents agree to admit at the hearing, or which, before the hearing, they agree to admit by any writing under their hands, or which by any rule of pleading in force at the time they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings. Provided that the Court may, in its discretion, require the facts admitted to be proved otherwise than by such admissions.

This basically means that if a fact has been admitted by a party, the other party need not provide proof of that fact. For example, admissions made in written statements, or things said before and accepted to be said in the trial need not be proved. in averments made in a petition that has not been controverted by the respondent carry the weight of a fact admitted.  
However, admission may not necessarily constitute conclusive evidence of the fact admitted. Therefore, this section allows the court to ask for some other proof of the admitted fact. This is a discretionary power of the court.

Section 114 –  Court may presume the existence of certain facts – The Court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have happened, regard being had to the common course of natural events, human conduct, and public and private business, in their relation to the facts of the particular case.  For example, a person may be presumed to be dead if his whereabouts are not known for seven years. Such facts need not be proven.

Keywords: Facts need not be proved in India, Concept of Facts, Definition of Facts, Facts need not be proved under the Evidence Act 1872.

Click here to read the Indian Evidence Act 1872.

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