Admission Under the Indian Evidence Act
What is Admission?
Admission is a statement that may be oral, documentary, or contained in electronic form, which suggests any inference as to the fact in issue or relevant fact. Section 17 of the Indian Evidence Act defines Admission.
1. Admission can be either self-harming or self-serving (serve own interest).
2. Self-harming admissions are acceptable evidence.
3. Confession is an admission of guilt. It is acceptable and valid in evidence.
4. There can be an admission by silence also.
Admission Can Be Formal or Informal
Formal admissions: Formal admissions are judicial admissions, and in such a case, there is no need to prove the facts admitted. Section 58 of the Indian Evidence Act says that the facts which are judicially admitted need not to be proved.
Informal admissions: Informal admissions are usually made in casual conversation in ignorance of the possibility of it being used in future litigation. For example, with friends, family, neighbour, and so on.
Admission as a Waiver of Proof
When parties make an admission of fact, it, in turn, amounts to a waiver of proof of such a fact. If a party admits any fact on its own then there is no need to give evidence to prove such a fact.
Conditions For Admissibility of Admissions
1. Admission must relate to the subject matter.
2. Admission must always be in the nature of self-harming form/statement.
3. Admission must be made by persons and in the circumstances mentioned under Section 18 to 20 of the Indian Evidence Act.
Who Can Make Admissions?
Admissions may be made by the:-
1. Party to the proceedings (Section 18)
2. By the agent of such party who is authorised.
3. Suitor in a representative character, when he held that character.
4. Party having pecuniary or proprietary interests.
5. Predecessor in the title (who was in the title before me).
6. Person whose position or liability in question. (Section 19)
7. Referee (Section 20)
Evidentiary Value of Admission
Admission is not conclusive proof of the fact admitted as it is a piece of prima facia evidence only. But it may operate as an estoppel. The person can be stopped to deny the truth of the statement.
The Supreme Court in Banarasi Das vs. Kanshi Ram, 1963 said, ‘it is a weak type of evidence, and the court may reject it if the contrary is proved.’
In Bishwanath Prasad vs. Dwarka Prasad, 1974, the Supreme Court met further observations-
1. Admissions are substantive evidence by themselves though they are not the conclusive proof of the matter admitted.
2. Admission duly proved are admissible in evidence irrespective of the fact whether the party making them appeared as a witness or not.
3. Clarification: Admissions will be admissible even when the party is not called as a witness.
The purpose of contradicting a witness in section 145 and the object of proving admission here is entirely different. In case of contradiction, it will be necessary to put the statement to the witness so that he will have an opportunity to explain it. But it is not so required in admission.
In this context, Justice Krishna Iyer pointed out that admission is substantive evidence. While the purpose of section 145 is to clear doubt on the veracity (accuracy, truthfulness, correctness, faithfulness, conformity to facts) of witness and does not become substantive evidence.
Admission as Estoppel
Section 31 of the Indian Evidence Act says that admissions are not conclusive proof of the matter admitted, but it may operate as an estoppel. A person can’t deny of the fact he admitted in court. And if it is treated as estoppel, rules of section 115-117 of the Indian Evidence Act will apply.
When Admission May be Proved
Proof Of Admission Against Persons Making Them, And By Or On Their Behalf: Section 21
Admissions will be proved against the person making it and not in his favour. The general rule is that one cannot prove a statement in his favour. But section 21 incorporates three exceptions, which, even if being self-serving, can be proved by the party. These are:-
1. Admissions falling under section 32: This exception enables a person to prove his own statement where the circumstances are such that if he were dead, the statement would have been relevant in dispute between third parties (when veracity is not in doubt it can be brought).
2. Statement as to the bodily feeling of the state of mind falling under section 14- The statement of men’s mind or body is relevant under section 14 and statement narrating such facts which indicate the state of mind or body made at or about the time when such state existed and which is accompanied by conduct are relevant.
3. Statement otherwise relevant, then it may be proved as otherwise relevant fact and not as admissions.
Admission to Prove Document
When Oral Admissions As To Contents Of Documents Are Relevant: Section 22
Document must be proved by the document itself. But when the document is not available, then secondary evidence may be given for it under section 65.
Section 59 says all facts except the contents of documents or electronic records may be proved by oral evidence.
Section 63(5) says oral accounts of the contents of a documents given by some person who has himself seen it.
Oral Admission of Electronic Record
When Oral Admissions As To Contents Of Electronic Records Are Relevant: Section 22A
Inserted by IT Act 2000. When genuineness of electronic record produced is in question, then only oral admissions as to the contents of electronic records are relevant.
Admission in Civil Cases
Admission In Civil Cases, When Relevant: Section 23
Where there is an agreement to the fact either express or implied that evidence of admission will not be given, then it will not be produced/adduced before the court. It is just to encourage the parties to settle their matter of dispute with full freedom where they can diverse the things.