Facts which need not to be proved

Author: Akshat Garg

FACTS WHICH NEED NOT BE PROVED

Section 56 to 58 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 lays down provisions relating to facts which need not be proved. Here are the facts which should not be proved in any court of law.

1. FACTS JUDICIALLY NOTICEABLE NEED NOT BE PROVED (SECTION- 56):

Section 56 declares that “no fact of which the court will take judicial notice need be proved”. Thus, if the court is bound to take notice of a particular fact the parties are spared of the burden of proving that fact. For example, the court is bound to know the law of the land.

In Managing Committee of Raja Sidheshwar High School v. State of Bihar (AIR 1996 Pat. 19.), it was held that the court can take judicial notice of the fact that the system of education in the State has virtually crumbled and serious allegations are made frequently about the manner in which the system is being worked.

2. FACTS OF WHICH COURT MUST TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE (SECTION- 57):

The Provision is supplemented by two declarations at the end of the section. One of them says that in all these matters, and also on matters of public history, literature, science or art, the court may consult the appropriate books or documents of reference. The second declaration is that if a party calls upon the court to take judicial notice of any fact, it may refuse to do so unless and until such person produces any such book or document as the court may consider necessary to enable it to take judicial notice. It means that the party who desires the court to take judicial notice of a fact has to produce before the court the reference material. Where, for example, a party request the court to take judicial notice of the proceedings of the legislatures, he should produce before the court the journal of those bodies, or their published acts or abstracts, or copies purported to be printed by order of the government concerned. In other words, the source material in which the judicially noticeable fact is recorded will have to be produced before the court.

The only guiding principle, apart from statute, as to judicial notice which emerges from the various recorded cases, appears to be that wherever a fact is so generally known that every ordinary person may be reasonably presumed to be aware of it, the court notices it either simpliciter if it is at once satisfied of the fact without more, or after such information or investigation as it considers reliable and necessary in order to eliminate any reasonable doubt.

The basic essential is that the fact is to be of a class that is so generally known to give rise to the presumption that all persons are aware of it. This excludes from the operation of judicial notice what is not ‘general’ but ‘particular’ facts.

Constitutional, Political and Administrative Matters: Judicial notice of a fact means that the court is supposed to have knowledge of the fact and the judge may rely upon his personal knowledge for deciding the case though it is not evidence in the real sense. Thus, where a judge recognized the signature of the minister for defence saying that he knew the Minister and had seen his signature as such Minister on many papers that came to him.

Law, Regulations and General Customs: The Courts may also take notice of regulations, bye-laws and other forms of sub-legislation. “Regulation made under the Act became part of the law and a tribunal takes judicial notice of the law, being at liberty to refresh memory by referring to the text of the regulations which, if there is any doubt about it, can be established by reference to a copy printed by the government printer. In Union of India v. Nihar Kanta Sen (AIR 1987 SC 1713), the Supreme Court has pointed out that the court should have taken judicial notice of the fact that a notification had been issued concerning the land of an intermediary.

The courts also take judicial notice of general customs. In Jiwan Singh v. Des Raj (AIR 1982 Punj. [N.O.C] 306), it was held that when a general usage has been judicially ascertained and established, it becomes a part of the law merchant which courts of justice are bound to know and recognize.

Matters of common knowledge: The courts also take judicial notice of matters of common knowledge. For example, the courts take judicial notice of the meaning of ordinary terms being a matter of common knowledge, and evidence is not admissible to expound their meaning, through the court, in addition to suing its own knowledge, may refer to standard authors and authoritative dictionaries in order to obtain assistance in interpretation [Camedan Marquis v. Inland Revenue Commissioners, (1914) 1 K.B. 641].

Judicial notice of the value of service of the housewife: A housewife died in a motor vehicle accident. The court said that judicial notice could be taken if services rendered by a housewife to her family. Rs. 1,500/- was taken to be the value of such services. The question of deducting 1/3 of the amount did not arise. Award of compensation of Rs. 2,95,000 was held to be proper (United Indian Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Virambhai Ranchodbhai Patel, AIR 2007 Guj. 119.).

Judicial notice, the fact of marriage in Army record: The fact of the marriage of an Army officer which was duly entered by the Army in its record was allowed to be tendered in evidence to prove the factum of marriage (Ajay Singh v. Tikka Brijendra Singh, AIR 2007 H.P. 52).

3. FACTS ADMITTED NEED NOT BE PROVED (SECTION- 58):

Another set of facts which need not be proved are facts which have been admitted. “Facts admitted need not be proved”. Section 58 lays down this principle. Averments made in a petition which have not been controverted by the respondent carry the effect of a fact admitted.

In Thimmappa Rai v. Ramanna Rai, [(2007) 14 S.C.C. 63: (2007) CHN 144], an admission made by a party to a suit in an earlier proceeding is admissible against him in a subsequent suit also. Once a party to a suit makes an admission, it can be taken in aid for the determination of issues having regard to the provision of Section 58.

There are two systems of holding a trial, one is the inquisitorial system in which the judge also acts as an investigator of facts; he can neither advise any party nor ask for the production of any evidence. He gives his judgment on the basis of the contentions argues before him, that is to say, according to the issues between the parties. Facts that have been admitted on both sides are not an issue and, therefore, no proof needs to be offered them.

The effect of admissions has already been noted before. It is that admission does not constitute conclusive evidence of the fact admitted, though it may operate as an estoppel. Therefore, section 58 also provides that the court may in its discretion require some other proof of an admitted fact. But the discretion is that of the court. The section does not bar the court from acting on the admission itself and without requiring any further proof.

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