Evidence is anything that you see, experience, read, or are told that causes you to believe that something is true or has really happened. … Evidence is the information which is used in a court of law to try to prove something. Evidence is obtained from documents, objects, or witnesses.
1 Indian Evidence Act was drafted by
- Sir James Stephen
- Lord Macaulay
- Sir Henry Summer Maine
2 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
Oh no! Poor Mr.A was murdered by Mr.B. But hang on. Ms.C says she saw B kill A. Mr.D says he heard Mr.A screaming for his life and begging Mr.B not to kill him, and Mrs.E says, Ms.C came and told her that she saw Mr.A being killed by B. Now tell me, whose evidence is considered as relevant evidence in a trial?
- Mrs. E
- Mrs. D
- Mrs. C
- All of these testimonies
Of course, the testimonies of all the people are relevant as they speak of facts which relate to the murder of Mr.A.
3 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
Apart from deciding relevancy of the evidence, we have to decide which of these people's testimonies is actually admissible in a Court of law. As prosecutor, you will now have to decide which ones will you actually use in your case. Ms. C: I saw Mr. B killing Mr. A when I was passing by Mr.A's house Mr. D: I was on my morning walk when I heard Mr.A shouting and begging Mr.B not to kill Mrs.E: I had just finished breakfast when Ms. C came in all flustered and scared and told me she saw Mr.B killing Mr.A
- Ms. C and Mrs. E
- Ms.C and Mr.D
So what if a piece of evidence is relevant, it need not be admissible. Mrs. E's testimony in this case is inadmissible because it is hearsay, which means that she does not actually know if something did or did not happen, but she only heard it so. Hearsay is inadmissible because there is no way the other side can disprove a fact only based on hearsay. But what about Mr.D? Even he only heard Mr.A screaming for his life. However, there are exceptions to the rule of hearsay, one of which is res gestae, or things said and done in the course of the transaction. Since, Mr.D heard the words while the murder was happening, his testimony is covered under the res gestae exception.
4 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
The prosecutor has closed and produced all his witnesses. The case seems bleak for Mr.B, being accused for Mr.A's murder but wait, the defence has a special witness..Mrs.B! Mrs. B says that Mr.B was with her all day, and could not have possibly been at Mr. A's house when the murder happened! Is Mrs. B's evidence relevant?
But of course, any evidence which can show that an existing fact is actually false is relevant.
5 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
Mrs. B has just testified in the murder trial of her husband Mr.B, that he was with her when he was supposed to have committed the murder of Mr.A, the Public Prosecutor (or District Attorney if you are American), jumps up to cross-examine. He asks Mrs. B whether or not her husband told her that he had murdered Mr.A. Does Mrs. B need to answer this question
Now, every question asked by the counsel has to be answered by the witness and the judge can promise dire consequences if he or she doesn' answer the question. The only exception is if you are covered by some privilege such as marital , judicial, official or professional privilege. Here, Mrs. B need not tell the Prosecutor what her husband told her.
6 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
The prosecutor is just getting into his stride, cross-examining Mrs.B, the wife of the murderer, Mr.B, on her alibi that her husband was with her at the time of the supposed murder. The prosecutor's next question is: "Mrs.B, did your husband go out to buy groceries on that day?"
"Of course,", she replies, "he goes out everyday"
"Then I put it to you that he used that time to kill Mr.A did he not Mrs.B?"
"Weelll..," she starts, "he didn't like him very much, and he may have..."
"Thank you Mrs. B. No further questions your honour", says the Prosecutor with a sumg smile towards the defence counsel, who should now ask permission to do what?
- to kill Mrs.B
- to re-examine Mrs.B
- to wipe the silly grin off the Prosecutor's face
- to continue with the case
Mrs.B has just become a hostile witness to the defence itself, and the defence counsel will now has the opportunity to cross examine Mrs.B to show that her most recent testimony was false. However, Mrs.B's testimony is still valid and it is up to the judge (or jury) to decide whether or not they have to believe her entirely or what amount of her evidence they should take into consideration. Alas for Mr.B, the evidence is too strong against him and he is convicted of murder.
7 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
Ms. X, a popular actress has just been called a " mean money-grabbing, miserly b***h" by Mr.Y, a press reporter, in his article on movie stars. Like any other person with a reputation to protect, she sues the newspaper for severe damages. Mr. Y and the newspaper take the defence that they are only publishing the truth. So on whom does the burden of proof lie to show that Mr.Y has or has not caused the defamation?
- On space aliens who know everything anyway.
- Burden is shared equally
According to the law of evidence, he or she who claims a right, must prove that such a right exists and that damage has been caused as a result of the violation of such a right. So, Ms.X has to show that Mr.Y's statement was defamatory, in that, the burden lies on her to show that Mr.Y's statement caused right thinking members of society to have a lower impression of her.
8 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
In a defamation case, where Ms. X alleges that Mr. Y, a newspaper reporter has defamed her, Mr.Y and the newspaper have taken the defence of truth. This means that they have to actually prove that what they said about Ms. X is a 'mean, money grabbing, miserly b***h' is in fact true. Which of the below can be produced as evidence in the court?
- Ms.X's behaviour 'caught on tape'
- Friends and relatives of Ms.X who are aware of her ways
- Bank records of Ms.X showing income and expenditure
- All of them
All of the above are relevant evidence relating to character, since such character is relevant in this case. On a side note, Ms.Y would have probably done well to remember my Evidence professor's adage on defamation suits, '..they are like bikinis; they reveal more than they hide'. Needless to say Ms.Y suffered a huge public embarassment, when her case was dismissed.
9 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
A huge bribery scandal has blown up in the Indian Parliament and Home Minister, Mr. K is said to be involved. Apparently, Mr.K took enormous sums to give preference to one company over the other in a huge defence contract. The Court has framed charges and the trial has begun. The first piece of evidence is the file in the Defence Ministry which lists the specifications of the companies' which had bid. Can the prosecutor ask the Court to compel the Government to produce this file in Court?
This is a slightly controversial area in the law of evidence. Normally, the Government can plead official privilege and state that matters relating to affairs of state cannot be produced in Court. However, the Indian Supreme Court has clarified that only matters relating to foreign affairs, high level communications and defence, come under 'affairs of state' protection. Even this too has to be decided by the Trial Judge, who will ask that the document be produced in a sealed cover and then examine it to decide whether or not it is protected by official privilege. Even in this case, the Prosecutor can ask that the document be produced so that the judge may examine it to see if it is protected or not. One of the leading authors on the law of Evidence, Prof. Vepa P. Sarathi( also my Evidence prof.), suggests that this is too dangerous simply because as a former lawyer, he doesn't trust most judges at the lower levels to keep sensitive information secret. Therefore, he suggests that in matters relating to 'affairs of state' only the Supreme Court should be allowed to examine such documents and decide whether or not they should be protected by the privilege.
10 Read Carefully the para and then answer.
So I, living in Bangalore, India, decide that I don't like G's face. I pick up the nearest iron rod I can lay my hands on, wait for him in a dark corner, make sure there are no witnesses, and I keep hitting him till he is dead. I throw the iron rod into a lake, to remove prints, jog upto the nearest police station and confess to the police officer. Can I be convicted on the basis of the murder weapon and my confession?
Shocking as it is, the police would be unable to convict me under Indian law, if I simply go and confess and even tell them where the murder weapon is. This is because confessions made to a police officer, or made in police custody cannot be produced as evidence in the Court. Even evidence they discovered from my confession cannot be produced. They can at best say that they found an iron rod, with what looks like a blood stain. This was more or less the fact situation in Aghnoo Nagesia v. State of Bihar, where despite the confession of the accused and the recovery of the murder weapon based on the confession, the Supreme Court of India let the suspect off.