The book Indian Evidence Act was written by Jonathan Fitzjames Stephen in 1872. Indian Evidence act is a standard set of law which is applicable for all Indians. The law is formed by the hard work of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen. He is known as the founding father of this legislation. Sir James Fitzman was a man with versatile qualities: a lawyer, judge, and writer. James Stephen was the father of Fitz James Stephen. Fitz James was born in London and was an outstanding student but weak in mathematics. He chose law as his profession and finished his LL. B from the University of London. He was a member of the viceregal council and later became a common-law professor at the inns of court. Sir Stephen was responsible for the Indian evidence Act 1872 in India. He also wrote Liberty equality fraternity during his voyage to London. The experience gained from India gave Stephen an opportunity for his next career and, in 1879, became a judge of the high court.
This book is written on the principle of Judicial evidence. Books are more useful for both students and lawyers. The book provides details about the law, evidence, meaning of evidence to our judiciary system.
The date 12 March 1872 was an excellent day for evidence law .13 members of the viceroy's legislative council adopted the Indian evidence bill. Law member James Fitz James Stephen drafted the bill. The imperial legislative council of India passed this act in 1872.it was formed during the British raj. The adoption of the Indian evidence act was a unique judicial measure introduced in India. It transferred the entire concept of the Indian court law. Before the act, evidence rules were based on the traditional legal system of different communities and social groups; these rules were different for different people depending on social position, faith cast, and communities.
The word evidence derived from “Evidera," which is a Latin word. its meaning is "to ascertain "or "to prove.'' The meaning of the word evidence is described well in section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act. Evidence includes all the legal means exclusive of arguments that tend to prove or disprove any matter of fact, the truth of which submitted to judicial investigation. The Indian evidence act was act as number 1 of 1872. The IEA contained eleven chapters and 167 sections, and it came into force from 1 September 1872. At that time, India was captured by the British. After more than 140 years from its formation, the Indian evidence act retains its originality with certain amendments. The criminal law amendment was formed in the year 2005. After the independence on 15 August 1947, the act was also applicable to the Republic of India and Pakistan except for Jammu and Kashmir.
An act is divided into three parts and eleven chapters.
Part 1 (relevancy of fact)
This part deals with the quality of fact. It consists of two chapters. The first chapter is preliminary, and the second chapter is based explicitly on the quality of fact.
Part 2 (on proof)
A chapter from 3 to 6 is under part 2. Chapter 3 contains the part which need not be proved. The oral evidence is presented in chapter 4, the documentary evidence in chapter 5 and chapter 6 deals with the fact when documentary evidence became preferable to oral evidence.
Part 3 (production and effect of evidence)
The last part contains chapter 7 to chapter 11. The burden of proof described under part 7 estoppel presented in chapter 8, chapter 9 talked about witnesses. The last chapter is about improper admission and rejection of evidence.
The provision divided into 2 part
- Taking the evidence
The court takes the evidence for the fact. The fact may be an issue or a relevant fact. Fact refers to anything said before the court regarding matters. Issue of fact refers to the main issue, and relevant fact refers to other facts which are relevant to the issue. Facts of evidence are presented to the court in two ways, i.e., oral or documentary moral evidence suggests verbal deposition before the court, while documentary evidence mainly documents—evaluation taking place by looking into documentary and oral evidence.
Characteristics of the Indian Evidence Act are described in a wheeled manner in this book. Some features are given below
- Mainly on English common law: Sir Fitz James formed the Indian evidence act based on the English evidence act, but certain modifications take place
- Procedural Law: It based on procedure/of what matter witness can speak in whom the burden of proof lies which are competent witnesses and how genuineness of documents can be proved
- Territorial extensions: As per section 1 of the Indian Evidence Act, this act applies to India except for Jammu and Kashmir." India" means the territory of India excluding the state Jammu Kashmir is present in section 3
- Discretion of the court: This act is a complete code of evidence. Some provision provides discretion of the court. It implies the power court. The court can admit or reject evidence
- Applies to the judicial proceeding: It is applicable for all judicial proceedings in or before any court.
- Both oral and documentary evidence is allowed.
- No place for hearsay evidence: The act gives the only emphasis on direct and circumstances evidence, but in exceptional cases, hearsay evidence may be considerable
- Protection and privileges to witness protection should provide to the witness
- The object is to find out the truth. The act mainly focused on the truth.
Scholars and academicians widely accept this book with the value of literature.it is best for a future generation.