Oral Evidence Under the Indian Evidence Act,1872


The cycle of evidence work mainly on two heads that is oral and documentary evidences, by the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Section 3 of the act defines the oral evidence as the statement permitted by the court made by witnesses before it, in relation to the inquiry of the matter of fact. Those statements are called oral evidences. Evidences made by signs or written form (inclusive of people who cannot speak) are also included as oral evidence.

Section 59: Proof of Facts by Oral Evidences

Oral evidences by the means of expression or speaking may prove all the facts and circumstances but it can’t prove documentary or electronic records. In “Bhima Tima Dhotre vs. The pioneer chemical co.[1]” it was held that if the writer has to be called to give an evidence orally for any documentary evidence then that documentary evidence becomes meaningless. Therefore it would be violation of section if the content of the document need to be proved by means of oral evidence.

Section 60: Oral Evidence must be Direct

According to this section any person who has administered the act on their own or through personal knowledge, then only it will be admissible in the court. It should not be passed by any other sources (hearsay). Certain cases where word “direct” is involved-

  1. Witness had seen the act by his eyes;
  2. Witness had heard the sound regarding the act by his ears;
  3. Witness had perceived through his senses;
  4. Witness holding any opinion on any matter or incident regarding the act.

Relation between section 59 and section 60

Amar Singh vs. Chhaju Singh and Arn.[2]

According to the interpretation of the court section 59 and section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act has established a relation, which provide two ingredients-

  1. Presence of relative fact
  2. Those facts have been presented directly by the witness who has perceived them through their senses.

Hearsay Evidence

The knowledge gained by some another source about a particular matter, act or incident is known as hearsay evidence. Therefore, passing any conviction by the court based on hearsay will be unjust as there is lack connectivity and no assurance that the information passed on the following matter is sustainable or not.

Exception to Section 60

Section 33 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 forms a structure of exception to section 60 as-

  1. Res-gestae- it means start to end. Therefor if any incident, act or circumstances is on the same transaction of other incident, act or circumstances then in that scenario the witness will allowed as evidence in the court.
  2. Confession- if any person makes an admission at front on another person (suppose ‘A’) then in that case ‘A’ will be a witness in the eyes of court.
  3. By any reason the witness cannot come to the court (may be dead or not found) but has passed the information to another person, then the testimony of that person will be accepted by the court.


This form of evidence can be appropriate for deciding the case if proved beyond reasonable doubt. With the evolution of judiciary the need of oral evidence has also grown. It could be a better way to understand the facts and incident as the person who has witnessed it directly can explain it clearly rather than any other form of evidence.




[1] (1968) 70 BOMLR 683

[2] AIR 1973 P H 213

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