Difference between Fact in Issue and Relevant Fact
Author: Ms. Teresa Dhar, CNLU, Patna
Q1. Defining clauses:
- a) Facts – “ ‘Fact’ means and includes—
(1) Anything, state of things, or relation of things, capable of being perceived by the senses;
(2) Any mental condition of which any person is conscious.”
Hence, it could be either be physical facts which are subject to perception by bodily senses are physical facts. They are also called external facts whereas those facts, which cannot be perceived by senses are ‘Psychological Facts’. They are also known as internal facts.
Illustration: A man is able to see an object before him or think about a particular thing is a fact.
b) Facts in Issue – “The expression “facts in issue” means and includes— any fact from which, either by itself or in connection with other facts, the existence, non-existence, nature, or extent of any right, liability, or disability, asserted or denied in any suit or proceeding, necessarily follows.
Explanation.— Whenever, under the provisions of the law for the time being in force relating to Civil Procedure, any Court records an issue of fact, the fact to be asserted or denied in the answer to such issue, is a fact in issue.”
In simple words, it is a fact that is disputed where any right or liability is asserted or denied by the contesting parties.
- Relevant Facts – “One fact is said to be relevant to another when the one is connected with the other in any of the ways referred to in the provisions of this Act relating to the relevancy of facts.”
Again, to put it simply, when a fact is connected to the disputed fact i.e., the fact in issue, it is a relevant fact as it has a bearing on the former.
Q2. What are the Relevancy of facts and its types?
- Relevancy of facts is provided in the second chapter of the IEA and a fact is said to be relevant to another when it is relevant under the provisions of Sections 6 to 55 of Evidence Act. Facts can either be logically relevant or legally relevant. It is generally upheld that “Every fact that is legally relevant is also logically relevant but every logically relevant fact may not be necessarily legally relevant or admissible.” A fact is logically relevant if it is connected with another fact but it is legally relevant if the law declares it to be relevant otherwise it is inadmissible as evidence in a court of law. If it is not declared by the law to be relevant, it is not admissible as evidence under the Evidence Act. A fact may be logically relevant to a particular case but there is no guarantee that it will be legally admissible in the courts. So all the evidence that are to be produced in the courts have to both logically relevant and legally admissible.
Q3. What is the distinction between Fact in Issue and Relevant fact?
- Other than the difference in the definition of the above 2 concepts as mentioned in Sect.3 of The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, following are the further differences:
i) A fact in issue is a necessary ingredient of a right or liability. It is from such fact, either by itself or in connection with other facts, that the existence or non-existence of a right or liability necessarily follows whereas a relevant fact is not a necessary ingredient of a right or liability.
ii) A fact in issue is called the “principal fact” or factum probandum whereas a relevant fact is called the “evidentiary fact” or factum probans.
iii) Fact in issue is asserted by one party and denied by the opposing party whereas relevant facts are the basis of inferences made.
Q4. How are the 2 concepts fundamental to the effective use of evidence?
- Knowledge of facts in issue and how to prove it with the available evidence and relevant facts composes the effective use of rules of evidence. The two concepts put forth questions which are constructed to bring the evidentiary material into order by showing its significance upon the facts in issue; and under control by leading to the recognition that the use to which an item of evidence is to be put is a function of the needs of the user as they are affected by the rules of evidence, and not an essential attribute of the piece of evidence itself. Identification of the facts in issue is integral to a systematic approach to problems of evidence. They provide the organizing structure and they operate at the highest level of generality because the dissolution of nearly all questions concerning particular items of evidence depends upon maintaining a lively sense of what ultimately has to be proved. Once the facts in issue in a particular case are clear then attention can be focused on the precise manner in which the evidence in question is probative of them. As for relevant fact, since the idea is to be relevant to something, it is established that the relevant fact is admissible if there is a nexus to the fact in issue and not by the exclusionary rule. Also, a relevant fact’s admissibility may well depend upon the particular way in which it is intended to be used.
Q5. What is their importance in establishing circumstantial evidence?
- As mentioned before that evidence must be relevant and it must be so to something i.e., for admission, evidence must be relevant to facts and in cases depending upon circumstantial evidence, evidence may have imminent bearing not to the facts in issue themselves but rather to facts which fall short of being themselves facts in issue but which are more or less valuable in establishing the facts in issue. In circumstantial evidence, the deciding conclusion as to the guilt of the defendant is based on the inferences drawn from the fact which are not facts in issue themselves. However, since the evidentiary net in case of circumstantial evidence is generally cast wider, it is essential to utilize the facts in issue and relevant facts to deduce the further issues that are to be proved.
Q6. What is the relevance of Sect.6 in this context?
- Sect. 6 or Res Gestae is associated with relevancy of facts which form part of the same transaction i.e, “Facts which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction, are relevant, whether they occurred at the same time and place or at different times and places.
a) A is accused of the murder of B by beating him. Whatever was said or done by A or B or the by-standers at the beating, or so shortly before or after it as to form part of the transaction, is a relevant fact.”
Every fact which is part of the same transaction as the fact in issue is deemed to be relevant to the fact in issue although it may not be actually in issue, and although if it were not part of the same transaction it might be excluded as hearsay. Hence this an exception to this general rule although it essential that such facts must part of the same transactions. The causes and effects may not be remote and every evidence given must stand in the relation of the cause and effect of the transaction. Hence, facts in issue and relevant facts if part of the same transaction, are integral to the Doctrine of Res Gestae.