Exclusion of Oral Evidence by Documentary Evidence


Author: Mansi Rana, UPES Dehradun


Evidence includes everything used to determine or prove the authenticity of an assertion. Providing or obtaining evidence refers to the process of using (a) what is assumed to be true or (b) what is proven by evidence to prove the facts asserted.

The term “evidence” in its original sense indicates a state of obviousness, that is, simple or obvious. But it applies to things that tend to provide or produce evidence.

In English law, the term “evidence” sometimes refers to what the witnesses in the court said and displayed.

At other times, this means that the facts have been proven by these words and are considered the basis for the survival of the fittest that has not been proven. Similarly, it is sometimes used as the meaning of certain facts related to the matter under investigation. However, in the Act, the word has a clearer meaning.


  • Oral Evidence- Section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act provides for the recording of oral evidence. All statements that the court allows or wants witnesses to make in his presence about the truth are called oral evidence. The oral evidence is the evidence that the witness personally saw or heard. The oral evidence must always be direct or affirmative.
  • Documentary evidence- Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act stipulates that all documents presented in the court for inspection are called documentary evidence. In this case, the documentary evidence will show the actual attitude of the parties, and their awareness of customs is more important than any oral evidence.
  • Primary Evidence- Section 62 of The Indian Evidence Act stipulates that primary evidence is the most important type of evidence and is also a document produced by the court itself. It is this kind of proof that can provide crucial hints in the disputed facts under any possible circumstances, and the original documents to be provided before the court to check.
  • Secondary evidence- Section 63 says that Secondary evidence is considered inferior evidence. It means that even after supporting evidence is provided, the main evidence needs to be provided to fill the gap. Such evidence can be provided without the main evidence, but the notice for it should be issued. However, if the secondary evidence is accepted without objection within a reasonable time, then the parties have no right to assert that the view was proved with the help of secondary evidence rather than primary evidence.
  • Hearsay evidence- Hearsay evidence is weak evidence. It was just the witness testimony that he reported, and he had not seen it. Such evidence is the one which the witness neither saw or heard personally, nor was perceived by his own senses, but by some third party.
  • Judicial evidence refers to the evidence received by the court or evidence to prove the facts. This evidence includes: The confession made by the defendant in the court is also included in the judicial evidence. Witness statements, documentary evidence and facts for court review are also judicial evidence.
  • Non-judicial evidence mainly refers to the confession made by the defendant outside the court and in the presence of anyone. If such evidence is proved in the court, it takes the form of judicial evidence.
  • Real evidence is also called material evidence. The court may examine this evidence on its own. It is presented to the court by checking the real thing or the real thing. Such evidence does not come from documents or witnesses. However, such evidence requires the support of witnesses, preferably expert witnesses who can explain the importance of the evidence.
  • Direct evidence- Evidence can be direct or indirect. Direct evidence is very important evidence for the decision. Direct evidence is considered necessary evidence for deciding the matter in the event. It directly proves or denies the facts. In such evidence, a specific fact is directly established without providing a reason related to that fact. It is almost unnecessary to point out the explanation provided because the witness ’s evidence in the court is direct evidence, not the testimony of the guilty fact.
  • The circumstantial and indirect evidence refers to evidence that proves the facts involved by providing other facts (ie indirect facts) and proving their relevance. By linking a series of other facts to the facts discussed, a satisfactory conclusion can be drawn from this evidence.
  • Electronic evidence- This evidence can also be used as an electronic record provided by the court. Even in criminal cases, evidence can be provided through electronic records which can include data, image, sound, etc. This will include a video conference or a video conference.
  • Tape Recording evidence- The tape itself is direct evidence. What the person said can be recorded and can appear in court. Any previous statement of a person can be recorded. If the person changes his statement in the court in the end, the recorded statement can be submitted to the court to verify the authenticity of the verifier. The audiotape evidence is more authentic than the written evidence.


Documentary evidence refers to all documents produced for court inspection, while oral evidence refers to and includes all statements required by the court to allow witnesses to make statements about the facts investigated; documentary evidence refers to and includes all documents produced for court inspection.

Oral evidence is the statement by the witness whereas the documentary evidence is the statement made by the documents.

In terms of durability and reliability, documentary evidence is better than oral evidence. There are more ways to try to prove the authenticity of documentary evidence than to refute oral evidence. In many cases, the existence of documentary evidence does not include the production of oral evidence.


According to Section 91 of Indian Evidence Act: When the terms of a contract, grant or any other property disposal are reduced to the form of documents, and in all cases, the law requires the reduction of anything except the document itself or in the case of secondary evidence In addition to the secondary evidence, for any form of contract, gift or other property or the provisions of such matters, no evidence shall be provided as evidence in the form of this document is acceptable according to the provisions contained above.

Exception 1.- When the law requires the appointment of a public official in writing and shows that any particular person has already served as the public official, there is no need to prove the appointment in writing.

Exception 2- Wills admitted to probate in India] may be proved by the probate.

Section 92 of the Indian Evidence Act: when any such contract, gift or other property clause is proved according to the last section, or any matter required by law to be simplified in the form of a document, The parties or their interested representatives shall accept any verbal agreement or statement of evidence in order to check conflict with the terms of the term, increase or decrease:

This section excludes any evidence of oral agreement or statement, when the contract, the terms of granting or disposing of property, or any matter required by law in writing has been proved in accordance with the provisions of Section 91 to conflict with, change, When supplementing, it may be subtracted from its terms. The principle stipulates that when the terms of any such document have been proved by the primary or secondary evidence of the document, no oral agreement or statement of evidence shall be accepted.


  1. The validity of the document-Section 92, the first provision states that evidence can be provided to prove any relevant facts that would invalidate the document in question or give the party the right to obtain any decree related to the document or command, in case the validity of the document may be questioned.
  1.  Matters for keeping the document silent-The second conditional condition provides that evidence of oral agreement can be provided for matters where the document remains silent. There are two conditions for allowing such evidence: First, the verbal agreement should not conflict with the provisions in the document. Second, when allowing oral agreement evidence, the court should consider the formality of the document.
  1. Condition precedents-The third condition stipulates that it can prove that there is any separate oral agreement, which constitutes a condition precedent for attaching any obligations to the document. If the party liable under the document has indicated payment under the document, he cannot later defend the oral precedent for liability.
  1. Recession or modification-according to the provisions of Section 4, withdrawing the document means putting it on hold, and modifying means canceling or modifying some of them; this verbal agreement can prove. However, this is subject to a condition stipulated by the additional condition itself, that is, the law requires the contract to be in writing, or the contract has been registered in accordance with the law related to the registration of the document, which proves that it cannot agree to any oral agreement to resign or modify its terms.
  1. Usage and customs-Therefore, Section 5 stipulates that there can be a certain usage or habit of attaching certain types of contracts to incidents. However, this is subject to the following conditions: the usage or habit of providing proof should not conflict with the explicit terms of the document. Usage should not conflict with or inconsistent with the document, otherwise it will invalidate the document.
  1. The relationship of the language of the facts- The contracts itself stipulates the facts on which the document is based, sometimes not. Oral evidence can also be used to illustrate the nature of the document. This section does not limit the court’s power to disclose the true meaning of the document based on all relevant circumstances surrounding it.


New Delhi v. M/s. C-Net Communication India Pvt. Ltd[1]: In this case, the Supreme Court said that “digital electronics” will mean that the decoder is multiple outputs, input and logic circuit, which turns the coded input into a coded output. In addition, it is considered that a decoder is a small tool, contrary to the encoder, the encoding is fixed so that the first data can be recovered.

In Taburi Sahai vs. Jhunjhunwala[2]: The Supreme Court ruled that the deed of adoption was not a contract under section 91 of Indian Evidence Act , therefore, the fact of adoption could be proved by any evidence other than the deed. In addition, the principle of excluding all other evidence only applies to the clauses that are exactly mentioned in the contract. In addition to the presentation of documents, any other evidence can also prove this. Both oral and documentary evidence are independently acceptable. The advantage is that there is no requirement in the bill that documentary evidence should prevail over oral evidence.

In Keshav Lal vs. Lal Bhai Tea Mills Ltd[3], the court ruled that if the document did not mention any price at all, then section 92 of this document would allow oral evidence saying that the document was silent but not when the document mentions ambiguous prices

In Balu Sonba Shinde v. Maharashtra[4] the Supreme Court held that the testimony statement of the witnesses was not hostile to the facts. The part of the evidence in favor of the parties can be used, but the court should be extremely cautious when accepting such evidence.

In Kallu vs. Uttar Pradesh[5], the defendant was murdered by shooting a deceased with a domestic pistol. A bullet was found next to the deceased’s bed. The defendant was arrested 14 miles from the village where the incident occurred. He took out a pistol from his house, which showed that he could have known it existed there. Gun experts proved that the gun was the same as the gun, and the deceased was killed. In convicting the defendant, the Supreme Court ruled: “Circumstantial evidence indicates that the death of the deceased was caused by the defendant and not anyone else.”

Sivrajbhan v. Harchandgir[6], In this case, it was stated that the word evidence in connection with Law includes all agreements except which prove or disprove any fact or matter whose truthfulness is presented for Judicial Investigation. In other words, when the parties involved don’t get the opportunity to cross-examine the statements to ascertain the truth then such a statement does not amount to evidence. Thus, electronic evidence can be considered as a valid form of evidence.


The value of oral evidence is lower than that of documentary evidence. The court will inevitably accept the documentary proof. But oral evidence can be considered. This also requires some supporting evidence. Briefly stated, the parties provided two types of evidence, verbal and written. In court, the value of documentary evidence is higher than that of documentary evidence. Because the law always needs the best evidence. Oral evidence is evidence limited to verbal expression. The evidence on the other side is two types of documentary evidence. The original evidence is more reliable, and the best evidence is considered by the court. In the absence of primary evidence, secondary evidence is provided to witnesses based on his own point of view. The primary document as the main evidence is submitted to the court for inspection. Direct evidence is the best evidence to prove the facts. But in some cases, the main evidence is the best evidence in all cases. There is documentary evidence that excludes and excludes oral evidence, and the oral evidence shall prevail when the evidence is submitted as a court witness. Those who provide direct evidence can cross-check to test their accuracy.

Therefore, the document was written as written evidence. Sections 91 and 92 exempt written evidence from oral evidence. In some evidence of criminal transactions called written testimony in section 91, oral evidence is more certain and reliable than oral evidence.

[1]AIR 2007 SC (Supp) 957.

[2]AIR 1967 SC106

[3]1958 AIR 512 , 1959 SCR213  

[4]2003 SCC (Crl.) 112

[5]AIR 1958 SC 180

[6]AIR 1954 SC 564

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