Comparative Chart of Indian Evidence Act and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023
Section Heading Section Heading
 1 Short title, extent and commencement 1 Short title, application and commencement
 2 Repeal of enactments
 3 Interpretation clause 2 Definitions
 4 “May presume” 2 Definitions
 5 Evidence may be given of facts in issue and relevant facts 3 Evidence may be given of facts in issue and relevant facts
 6 Relevancy of facts forming part of same transaction 4 Relevancy of facts forming part of same transaction
 7 Facts which are the occasion, cause or effect of facts in issue. 5 Facts which are the occasion, cause or effect of facts in issue or relevant facts
 8 Motive, preparation and previous or subsequent conduct 6 Motive, preparation and previous or subsequent conduct
 9 Facts necessary to explain or introduce relevant facts 7 Facts necessary to explain or introduce fact in issue or relevant facts
 10 Things said or done by conspirator in reference to common design 8 Things said, done by conspirator in reference to common design
 11 When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant 9 When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant
 12 In suits for damages, facts tending to enable Court to determine amount are relevant 10 Facts tending to enable Court to determine amount are relevant in suits for damages
 13 Facts relevant when right or custom is in question 11 Facts relevant when right or custom is in question
 14 Facts showing existence of state of mind, or of body or bodily feeling 12 Facts showing existence of state of mind, or of body of bodily feeling
 15 Facts bearing on question whether act was accidental or intentional 13 Facts bearing on question whether act was accidental or intentional
 16 Existence of course of business when relevant 14 Existence of course of business when relevant
 17 Admission defined 15 Admission defined
 18 Admission by party to proceeding or his agent 16 Admission by party to proceeding or his agent
 19 Admissions by persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit 17 Admissions by persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit
 20 Admissions by persons expressly referred to by party to suit 18 Admissions by persons expressly referred to by party to suit
 21 Proof of admissions against persons making them, and by or on their behalf 19 Proof of admissions against persons making them, and by or on their behalf
 22 When oral admissions as to contents of documents are relevant 20 When oral admissions as to contents of documents are relevant
 22A When oral admissions as to contents of electronic records are relevant
 23 Admissions in civil cases, when relevant 21 Admissions in civil cases when relevant
 24 Confession caused by inducement, threat or promise, when irrelevant in criminal proceeding 22 Confession caused by inducement, threat, coercion or promise, when irrelevant in criminal proceeding
 25 Confession to police officer not to be proved 23 Confession to police officer
 26 Confession by accused while in custody of Police not to be proved against him
 27 How much of information received from accused may be proved
 28 Confession made after removal of impression caused by inducement, threat or promise, relevant
 29 Confession otherwise relevant not to become irrelevant because of promise of secrecy, etc.
 30 Consideration of proved confession affecting person making it and others jointly under trial for same offence 24 Consideration of proved confession affecting person making it and others jointly under trial for same offence
 31 Admissions not conclusive proof, but may estop 25 Admissions not conclusive proof, but may estop
 32 Cases in which statement of relevant fact by person who is dead or cannot be found, etc., is relevant 26 Cases in which statement of facts in issue or relevant fact by person who is dead or cannot be found, etc., is relevant
 33 Relevancy of certain evidence for proving, in subsequent proceeding, the truth of facts therein stated 27 Relevancy of certain evidence for proving, in subsequent proceeding, the truth of facts therein stated
 34 Entries in books of account including those maintained in an electronic form when relevant 28 Entries in books of account when relevant
 35 Relevancy of entry in public record or an electronic record made in performance of duty 29 Relevancy of entry in public record or an electronic record made in performance of duty
 36 Relevancy of statements in maps, charts and plans 30 Relevancy of statements in maps, charts and plans
 37 Relevancy of statement as to fact of public nature, contained in certain Acts or notifications 31 Relevancy of statement as to fact of public nature contained in certain Acts or notifications
 38 Relevancy of statements as to any law contained in law books 32 Relevancy of statements as to any law contained in law books including electronic or digital form
 39 What evidence to be given when statement forms part of a conversation, document, electronic record, book or series of letters or papers 33 What evidence to be given when statement forms part of a conversation, document, electronic record, book or series of letters or papers
 40 Previous judgments relevant to bar a second suit or trial 34 Previous judgments relevant to bar a second suit or trial
 41 Relevancy of certain judgments in probate, etc., jurisdiction 35 Relevancy of certain judgments in probate, etc., jurisdiction
 42 Relevancy and effect of judgments, orders or decrees, other than those mentioned in section 41 36 Relevancy and effect of judgments, orders or decrees, other than those mentioned in section 35
 43 Judgments, etc., other than those mentioned in sections 40 to 42, when relevant 37 Judgments, etc., other than those mentioned in sections 34, 35 and 36 when relevant
 44 Fraud or collusion in obtaining judgment, or incompetency of Court, may be proved 38 Fraud or collusion in obtaining judgment, or incompetency of Court, may be proved
 45 Opinions of experts 39 Opinions of experts
 45A Opinion of Examiner of Electronic Evidence
 46 Facts bearing upon opinions of experts 40 Facts bearing upon opinions of experts
 47 Opinion as to handwriting, when relevant 41 Opinion as to hand-writing and digital signature, when relevant
 47A Opinion as to electronic signature when relevant
 48 Opinion as to existence of right or custom, when relevant 42 Opinion as to existence of general custom or right, when relevant
 49 Opinions as to usages, tenets, etc., when relevant 43 Opinion as to usages, tenets, etc., when relevant
 50 Opinion on relationship, when relevant 44 Opinion on relationship, when relevant
 51 Grounds of opinion, when relevant 45 Grounds of opinion, when relevant
 52 In civil cases character to prove conduct imputed, irrelevant 46 In civil cases character to prove conduct imputed, irrelevant
 53 In criminal cases, previous good character relevant 47 In criminal cases previous good character relevant
 53A Evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases 48 Evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases
 54 Previous bad character not relevant, except in reply 49 Previous bad character not relevant, except in reply
 55 Character as affecting damages 50 Character as affecting damages
 56 Fact judicially noticeable need not be proved 51 Fact judicially noticeable need not be proved
 57 Facts of which Court must take ­judicial notice 52 Facts of which Court shall take judicial notice
 58 Facts admitted need not be proved 53 Facts admitted need not be proved
 59 Proof of facts by oral evidence 54 Proof of facts by oral evidence
 60 Oral evidence must be direct 55 Oral evidence to be direct
 61 Proof of contents of documents 56 Proof of contents of documents
 62 Primary evidence 57 Primary evidence
 63 Secondary evidence 58 Secondary evidence
 64 Proof of documents by primary evidence 59 Proof of documents by primary evidence
 65 Cases in which secondary evidence relating to documents may be given 60 Cases in which secondary evidence relating to documents may be given
 65A Special provisions as to evidence relating to electronic record 62 Special provisions as to evidence relating to electronic record
 65B Admissibility of electronic records 61, 63 Admissibility of electronic or digital record

Admissibility of electronic records

 66 Rules as to notice to produce 64 Rules as to notice to produce
 67 Proof of signature and handwriting of person alleged to have signed or written document produced 65 Proof of signature and handwriting of person alleged to have signed or written document produced
 67A Proof as to electronic signature 66 Proof as to electronic signature
 68 Proof of execution of document required by law to be attested 67 Proof of execution of document required by law to be attested
 69 Proof where no attesting witness found 68 Proof where no attesting witness found
 70 Admission of execution by party to attested document 69 Admission of execution by party to attested document
 71 Proof when attesting witness denies the execution 70 Proof when attesting witness denies the execution
 72 Proof of document not required by law to be attested 71 Proof of document not required by law to be attested
 73 Comparison of signature, writing or seal with others admitted or proved 72 Comparison of signature, writing or seal with others admitted or proved
 73A Proof as to verification of digital signature 73 Proof as to verification of digital signature
 74 Public documents 74 Public and private documents
 75 Private documents 74 Public and private documents
 76 Certified copies of public documents 75 Certified copies of public documents
 77 Proof of documents by production of certified copies 76 Proof of documents by production of certified copies
 78 Proof of other official documents 77 Proof of other official documents
 79 Presumption as to genuineness of certified copies 78 Presumption as to genuineness of certified copies
 80 Presumption as to documents produced as record of evidence 79 Presumption as to documents produced as record of evidence, etc.
 81 Presumption as to Gazettes, newspapers, private Acts of Parliament and other documents 80 Presumption as to Gazettes, newspapers, and other documents
 81A Presumption as to Gazettes in electronic forms 81 Presumption as to Gazettes in electro­nic or digital record
 82 Presumption as to document admissible in England without proof of seal or signature
 83 Presumption as to maps or plans made by authority of Government 82 Presumption as to maps or plans made by authority of Government
 84 Presumption as to collections of laws and reports of decisions 83 Presumption as to collections of laws and reports of decisions
 85 Presumption as to power-of-attorney 84 Presumption as to powers-of-attorney
 85A Presumption as to electronic agreements 85 Presumption as to electronic agreements
 85B Presumptions as to electronic records and electronic signatures 86 Presumption as to electronic records and electronic signatures
 85C Presumption as to Electronic Signature Certificates 87 Presumption as to Electronic Signature Certificates
 86 Presumption as to certified copies of foreign judicial records 88 Presumption as to certified copies of foreign judicial records
 87 Presumption as to books, maps and charts 89 Presumption as to books, maps and charts
 88 Presumption as to telegraphic messages
 88A Presumption as to electronic messages 90 Presumption as to electronic messages
 89 Presumption as to due execution, etc., of documents, not produced 91 Presumption as to due execution, etc., of documents not produced
 90 Presumption as to documents thirty years old 92 Presumption as to documents thirty years old
 90A Presumption as to electronic records five years old 93 Presumption as to electronic records five years old
 91 Evidence of terms of contracts, grants and other dispositions of property reduced to form of documents 94 Evidence of terms of contracts, grants and other dispositions of property reduced to form of document
 92 Exclusion of evidence of oral agreement 95 Exclusion of evidence of oral agreement
 93 Exclusion of evidence to explain or amend ambiguous document 96 Exclusion of evidence to explain or amend ambiguous document
 94 Exclusion of evidence against application of document to existing facts 97 Exclusion of evidence against application of document to existing facts
 95 Evidence as to document unmeaning in reference to existing facts 98 Evidence as to document unmeaning reference to existing facts
 96 Evidence as to application of language which can apply to one only of several persons 99 Evidence as to application of language which can apply to one only of several persons
 97 Evidence as to application of language to one of two sets of facts, to neither of which the whole correctly applies 100 Evidence as to application of language to one of two sets of facts, to neither of which the whole correctly applies
 98 Evidence as to meaning of illegible characters, etc. 101 Evidence as to meaning of illegible characters, etc.
 99 Who may give evidence of agreement varying terms of document 102 Who may give evidence of agreement varying terms of document
 100 Saving of provisions of Indian Succession Act relating to wills 103 Saving of provisions of Indian Succession Act relating to Wills
 101 Burden of proof 104 Burden of proof
 102 On whom burden of proof lies 105 On whom burden of proof lies
 103 Burden of proof as to particular fact 106 Burden of proof as to particular fact
 104 Burden of proving fact to be proved to make evidence admissible 107 Burden of proving fact to be proved to make evidence admissible
 105 Burden of proving that case of accused comes within exceptions 108 Burden of proving that case of accused comes within exceptions
 106 Burden of proving fact especially within knowledge 109 Burden of proving fact especially within knowledge
 107 Burden of proving death of person known to have been alive within thirty years 110 Burden of proving death of person known to have been alive within thirty years
 108 Burden of proving that person is alive who has not been heard of for seven years 111 Burden of proving that person is alive who has not been heard of for seven years
 109 Burden of proof as to relationship in the cases of partners, landlord and tenant, principal and agent 112 Burden of proof as to relationship in the cases of partners, landlord and tenant, principal and agent
 110 Burden of proof as to ownership 113 Burden of proof as to ownership
 111 Proof of good faith in transactions where one party is in relation of active confidence 114 Proof of good faith in transactions where one party is in relation of active confidence
 111A Presumption as to certain offences 115 Presumption as to certain offences
 112 Birth during marriage, conclusive proof of legitimacy 116 Birth during marriage, conclusive proof of legitimacy
 113 Proof of cession of territory
 113A Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman 117 Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman
 113B Presumption as to dowry death 118 Presumption as to dowry death
 114 Court may presume existence of certain facts 119 Court may presume existence of certain facts
 114A Presumption as to absence of consent in certain prosecution for rape 120 Presumption as to absence of consent in certain prosecution for rape
 115 Estoppel 121 Estoppel
 116 Estoppel of tenant; and of licensee of person in possession 122 Estoppel of tenants and of licensee of person in possession
 117 Estoppel of acceptor of bill of exchange, bailee or licensee 123 Estoppel of acceptor of bill of exchange, bailee or licensee
 118 Whom may testify 124 Who may testify
 119 Witness unable to communicate verbally 125 Witness unable to communicate verbally
 120 Parties to civil suit, and their wives or husbands—husband or wife of person under criminal trial 126 Competency of husband and wife as witnesses in certain cases
 121 Judges and Magistrates 127 Judges and Magistrates
 122 Communications during marriage 128 Communications during marriage
 123 Evidence as to affairs of State 129 Evidence as to affairs of State
 124 Official communications 130 Official communications
 125 Information as to commission of offences 131 Information as to commission of offences
 126 Professional communications 132 Professional communications
 127 Section 126 to apply to interpreters, etc.
 128 Privilege not waived by volunteering evidence 133 Privilege not waived by volunteering evidence
 129 Confidential communications with legal advisers 134 Confidential communication with legal advisers
 130 Production of title-deeds of witness not a party 135 Production of title-deeds of witness not a party
 131 Production of documents or electronic records which another person, having possession, could refuse to produce 136 Production of documents or electronic records which another person, having possession, would refuse to produce
 132 Witness not excused from answering on ground that answer will criminate 137 Witness not excused from answering on ground that answer will criminate
 133 Accomplice 138 Accomplice
 134 Number of witnesses 139 Number of witnesses
 135 Order of production and examination of witnesses 140 Order of production and examination of witnesses
 136 Judge to decide as to admissibility of evidence 141 Judge to decide as to admissibility of evidence
 137 Examination-in-chief 142 Examination of witnesses
 138 Order of examinations 143 Order of examinations
 139 Cross-examination of person called to produce a document 144 Cross-examination of person called to produce a document
 140 Witnesses to character 145 Witnesses to character
 141 Leading questions 146 Leading questions
 142 When they must not be asked 146 Leading questions
 143 When they may be asked 146 Leading questions
 144 Evidence as to matters in writing 147 Evidence as to matters in writing
 145 Cross-examination as to previous statements in writing 148 Cross-examination as to previous statements in writing
 146 Questions lawful in cross-examination 149 Questions lawful in cross-examination
 147 When witness to be compelled to answer 150 When witness to be compelled to answer
 148 Court to decide when question shall be asked and when witness compelled to answer 151 Court to decide when question shall be asked and when witness compelled to answer
 149 Question not to be asked without reasonable grounds 152 Question not to be asked without reasonable grounds
 150 Procedure of Court in case of question being asked without reasonable grounds 153 Procedure of Court in case of question being asked without reasonable grounds
 151 Indecent and scandalous questions 154 Indecent and scandalous questions
 152 Questions intended to insult or annoy 155 Questions intended to insult or annoy
 153 Exclusion of evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity 156 Exclusion of evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity
 154 Question by party to his own witness 157 Question by party to his own witness
 155 Impeaching credit of witness 158 Impeaching credit of witness
 156 Questions tending to corroborate evidence of relevant fact, admissible 159 Questions tending to corroborate evidence of relevant fact, admissible
 157 Former statements of witness may be proved to corroborate later testimony as to same fact 160 Former statements of witness may be proved to corroborate later testimony as to same fact
 158 What matters may be proved in connection with proved statement relevant under section 32 or 33 161 What matters may be proved in connection with proved statement relevant under section 32 or 33
 159 Refreshing memory 162 Refreshing memory
 160 Testimony to facts stated in document mentioned in section 159 163 Testimony to facts stated in document mentioned in section 159
 161 Right of adverse party as to writing used to refresh memory 164 Right of adverse party as to writing used to refresh memory
 162 Production of documents 165 Production of documents
 163 Giving, as evidence, of document called for and produced on notice 166 Giving, as evidence, of document called for and produced on notice
164 Using, as evidence, of document, production of which was refused on notice 167 Using, as evidence, of document production of which was refused on notice
 165 Judge’s power to put questions or order production 168 Judge’s power to put questions or order production
 166 Power of jury or assessors to put questions
 167 No new trial for improper admission or rejection of evidence 169 No new trial for improper admission or rejection of evidence

Comparative Chart of Indian Evidence Act and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) 2023

In India, the legal landscape continually evolves to enhance the efficacy and fairness of judicial proceedings. The Indian Evidence Act (IEA), enacted in 1872, has long served as the cornerstone of rules governing evidence in Indian courts. Recently, discussions have arisen regarding the potential introduction of the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 (BNS), a prospective law aimed at modernizing and refining the existing evidentiary standards.

Understanding the Indian Evidence Act (IEA)

The Indian Evidence Act provides a comprehensive framework for the admission, relevance, and weight of evidence presented in court. Its provisions ensure fairness and consistency in judicial proceedings, offering guidelines on what constitutes admissible evidence, rules of relevancy, and the burden of proof.

Introducing the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 (BNS)

The proposed Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 seeks to address contemporary challenges and improve upon the existing evidentiary standards under the IEA. Key enhancements proposed under the BNS include:

  • Digital Evidence: Recognizing the increasing reliance on digital information, the BNS introduces provisions to govern the admissibility and authentication of electronic evidence in court proceedings.

  • Witness Protection: In response to concerns regarding witness intimidation and safety, the BNS proposes comprehensive measures to safeguard the identities and testimonies of witnesses, thereby strengthening the credibility of evidence presented.

  • Expert Testimony: The BNS aims to refine rules governing expert testimony, ensuring that specialized knowledge and opinions are presented in a manner that enhances judicial decision-making and fairness.

Comparative Analysis

Scope and Applicability

While the Indian Evidence Act provides a robust framework for evidence in traditional legal contexts, the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 expands this framework to encompass emerging forms of evidence and procedural safeguards. It aims to bridge gaps in the IEA, particularly in areas such as digital evidence and witness protection, thus ensuring a more inclusive and adaptive legal system.

Procedural Fairness

Both legislations emphasize procedural fairness and the principles of natural justice. However, the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 introduces procedural reforms aimed at expediting trials while maintaining rigor in evidentiary standards, thereby enhancing efficiency without compromising fairness.

Accessibility and Clarity

The Indian Evidence Act, while comprehensive, can be perceived as complex due to its age and extensive judicial interpretations. In contrast, the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 endeavors to simplify and clarify evidentiary rules, utilizing modern legal language and streamlined provisions to enhance accessibility for legal professionals and litigants alike.

 

The comparison between the Indian Evidence Act (IEA) and the prospective Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 reflects India’s commitment to advancing its legal framework in response to evolving societal needs and technological advancements. While the IEA remains foundational, the introduction of the BNS represents a proactive step toward modernizing evidentiary standards and procedural fairness in Indian courts.

As India navigates the complexities of legal reform and justice administration, the synergy between these legislations promises a more equitable and efficient judicial system that upholds the rule of law and safeguards individual rights.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Indian Evidence Act, enacted in 1872, is a foundational legislation governing the admissibility, relevancy, and weight of evidence presented in Indian courts. It provides rules and procedures for evaluating and presenting evidence in legal proceedings.

The Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) 2023 is a proposed legislation aimed at modernizing and refining India’s evidentiary standards. It seeks to update rules governing evidence to address contemporary challenges and enhance efficiency in legal proceedings.

 

The Indian Evidence Act (IEA) provides a structured framework for evidence in traditional legal contexts, emphasizing rules of admissibility, relevancy, and burden of proof. In contrast, the BSA 2023 introduces reforms such as:

  • Digital Evidence: Guidelines for admissibility and authentication of electronic evidence.
  • Witness Protection: Measures to safeguard witnesses’ identities and testimonies.
  • Expert Testimony: Refinements in rules governing expert opinions and testimonies.

 

Key enhancements proposed under the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) 2023 include:

  • Modernizing Evidence Rules: Updating rules to include digital evidence and adapting to technological advancements.
  • Protecting Witnesses: Strengthening protections for witnesses to encourage truthful testimony without fear of reprisal.
  • Improving Clarity: Simplifying and clarifying evidentiary rules to enhance accessibility and understanding.

The BSA 2023 is expected to impact legal proceedings by:

  • Streamlining Processes: Expediting trials through clearer rules and modernized procedures.
  • Enhancing Evidence Quality: Ensuring higher standards for admissibility and presentation of evidence.
  • Adapting to Technology: Incorporating digital evidence and technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness in court.

As of now, the BSA 2023 is a proposed legislation and its implementation depends on legislative approval and adoption. It is designed to complement the existing Indian Evidence Act by updating and enhancing evidentiary standards to meet contemporary legal challenges.

The BSA 2023 is expected to benefit legal professionals and litigants by:

  • Clarifying Rules: Simplifying evidentiary rules for easier application and interpretation.
  • Protecting Rights: Enhancing protections for witnesses and improving fairness in legal proceedings.
  • Promoting Efficiency: Streamlining processes to reduce delays and expedite justice delivery.
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