Admissibility of Hearsay Evidence under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

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Evidence is an essential part of the legal proceedings to prove or disprove the fact and truth of the event, and it enables the court to pass appropriate judgment. 

Many kinds of evidence available in India these are governed under the Indian evidence act,1872; hearsay evidence is among them, which is directly not count as evidence, but it has some provision to prove the accuracy or relevance of truth. In this article, we discuss the hearsay evidence rule according to the Indian evidence act,1872.

Types of evidence under the Indian evidence act:

Deferent types of evidence are available under the Indian evidence act, 1872; let’s see what are that?

Oral evidence – This type of evidence define under section 60 of the Indian evidence act. A person gives this evidence which is he seen or heard by himself. That’s why this kind of evidence is called direct, which positively impacts the case.

Documentary evidence – This type of evidence is defined under section 3 of the Indian evidence act. This type of documents presents by the parties in a documentary form; that’s why it is called documentary evidence. Here one thing we should know that the court permits the documentary evidence for inspection.

Primary evidence – This type of evidence is defined under section 62 of the Indian evidence act. As per the name, the primary evidence is preferable as well admissible in terms of evidence; because this kind of evidence plays a crucial part in the case.

Secondary evidence – This is defined under section 63 of INE. in due circumstances. If primary evidence is not available in the case, then secondary evidence can be used as evidence.

Real evidence – This type of evidence will come in the outcome by inspecting any physical object presented in the court. Such kind of evidence mainly helps to consider the fact.

Judicial evidence –  Judicial evidence means the evidence given before the court, whether the facts of this evidence prove or not. Even the witness’s statement is also included in that.

Non-judicial Evidence – This type of Evidence is confessed out of court; that Evidence might be admissible after proving that before the court as judicial Evidence.

Direct Evidence – This kind of Evidence determines any particular fact; that plays a crucial part in deciding some specific proof.

Indirect or Circumstantial Evidence – This kind of Evidence not defines the proof in terms of direct Evidence. However, it helps on the bassed of the basic idea of the proof.

Hearsay Evidence – Hearsay evidence means when a person has heard or seen something about an event from another but directly does not involve his particular knowledge and experience. In this article, we discuss hearsay evidence in detail.

What is Hearsay Evidence?

In simple words, we can say the general meaning of hearsay is combinations of two words like hear and say. Which is not defines particular knowledge of an event. When a witness is heard, he gives some information regards the event from another say. Such type of evidence may treat as second-hand evidence, which is never permissible like direct evidence.

As per the provision of the Indian evidence act, hearsay evidence can not be concider as evidence because such is not direct evidence.

Suppose we refer to section 60 of the Indian evidence act, which clearly says that in terms of oral evidence. The information is given by a witness who is gathered from another that can not be treated as full proof and direct evidence.

Admissibility of Hearsay evidence:

In the case of the hearsay witness, that may happen that he can not be able to explain the fact by his statement. that may be some mistake or inaccuracies comes at the time of his testimony given as a witness; the reason for that is,

  • such a type of witness doesn’t hold any responsibility regarding his statement.
  • he has a chance to playing fraud by making a false represent the event that another person hears.

What section 60 of the Indian evidence act say?

According to that section, it is specified that the witness must give oral evidence in direct terms. Oral evidence must be direct in all circumstances; that is, 

  • If a witness refers to the fact, the witness can be heard; it must be the testimony of a witness who claims to have heard it.
  • If it applies a truth that may be interpreted in some other way or some different sense, it must be the testimony of a witness who claims to have experienced it in that way or by that definition.

It must be the facts of the individual who holds the opinion on specific grounds, whether it applies to views or the grounds on which they are expressed.

In the case of Kalyan Kumar Gogoi v. Ashutosh Agnihotri, (AIR 2011 SC 760), the Supreme Court observed that Hearsay evidence is excluded on the ground that it is always desirable, in the interest of justice, to get the person, whose statement is relied upon, into court for his examination in a regular way, in order that many possible sources of inaccuracy and untrustworthiness can be brought to light and exposed, if they exist, by the test of cross-examination. The phrase “hearsay evidence” is not used in the Evidence Act because it is inaccurate and vague. It is a fundamental rule of evidence under the Indian Law that hearsay evidence is inadmissible. A statement, oral or written, made otherwise than a witness in giving evidence and a statement contained or recorded in any book, document or record whatever, proof of which is not admitted on other grounds are deemed to be irrelevant for the purpose of proving the truth of the matter stated. An assertion other than one made by a person while giving oral evidence in the proceedings is inadmissible as evidence of any fact asserted. The reasons why hearsay evidence is not received as relevant evidence are “(a) the person giving such evidence does not feel any responsibility. The law requires all evidence to be given under personal responsibility, i.e., every witness must give his testimony, under such circumstances, as expose him to all the penalties of falsehood. If the person giving hearsay evidence is concerned, he has a line of escape by saying “I do not know, but so and so told me”, (b) truth is diluted and diminished with each repetition, and (c) if permitted, gives ample scope for playing fraud by saying “someone told me that”. It would be attaching importance to false rumours flying from one foul lip to another. Thus the statement of witnesses based on information received from others is inadmissible.[1].

Exceptions to the rule of Hearsay Evidence:

As per the above discussion, we know that there is more reliability of direct evidence than hearsay evidence. But here are some exceptions to that rule on those circumstances the hearsay evidence may accept. Let’s know when hearsay evidence can be received.

Res Gestae:

Section 6 of the Indian evidence act makes an exception to the general rule of evidence. According to that provision, the hearsay evidence also becomes admissible, but the essential requirement is that it must be the same transaction as the act, and there should be no gap between contemporaneous.

In the case of Pratapsingh and another, Appellants vs. State of M.P (1971 Cri LJ 172), the Madhya Pradesh High court observed that The requirement of S.6 is that the statement must have been made contemporaneously with the act or immediately after it and not at such an interval of time as to make it a narrative of past events or to allow time for fabricating it.[2].

Criminal procedure code, 1874

In the case of Bhaskaran, vs State of Kerala, (1985 CRI. L. J. 1711), the Kerala high court held, The statements must be of a person who has seen the actual occurrence and who uttered the same simultaneously with the incident or soon after it so as to make it reasonably certain that the speaker is still under the stress of excitement caused by his having seen the incident. [3].

Admission and Confessions:

Section 17 of the Indian evidence act defined admission, which is an exception of hearsay evidence. According to that, admission may be a statement in terms of oral, documents, or electronic form given in the court.

The court can accept such type of evidence which a person gives against his own. Because basically, that should be understood that no one can provide a statement against himself, the court also accepts such a statement on the same ground.

The same thing is also to lay down in the confession; in the Indian evidence act, sections 24 to 30 deals with a confession. In simple words, we can say confession means accepting guilt in court.

When a person confesses his guilt out of court, it can be proved by his testimony. A witness who never seen or hear himself about the event; however, such confession can be confirmed by his testify.

Dying declaration:

section 32 of the Indian evidence act deals with a witness who gives a statement but does not appear in the court for his testimony. Due to when a person is on a deathbed, cause of any other disability, or a person who gives his statement but he can not found anywhere, and it can not be possible for a witness to present in the court.

In that situation, a statement given by a dead person or cause of his death who received such statement. He can appear in the court as a witness and present his evidence as hearsay evidence as well he can declare such a statement which he receives from that person as relevant.

Criminal procedure code, 1874,

In the case of Qaiyum Mian And Ors. vs State Of Bihar, (1993 Cri LJ 1756), the Patna high court held, When the evidence of a witness to the dying declaration of the deceased discloses the manner of assault, weapon and persons causing assault as the same as in the evidence given by other witnesses and also when the declaration is corroborated by medical evidence, the evidence of declaration is admissible.[4].

Evidence was given in the former proceedings:

Section 33 of the evidence act deals with the relevancy of evidence proven in the subsequent proceeding, where the truth or facts is mentioned in a subsequent proceeding.

Suppose a person dies or unable to present before appearing to the court as a witness in that situation. In that case, the statement given by that person in previous proceedings might be using evidence to prove the fact in current proceedings.

Statements in public documents: 

Section 35 of IEA deals with the relevancy of public records that have formed part of their performance of public duty. For example, books of accounts, public registers, documents, an electronic form, etc., state a relevant fact, which a public servant makes as a part of his duty. If that person who made that record is not alive, then the evidence made by him as part of a previously official duty is admissible in court.


The evidence given in the case enables the court to pass a relevant, accurate judgment but should be proved without reasonable doubt. After discussing the above details, we can conclude that there is also a value of hearsay evidence that will come on the record when hearsay evidence proves according to the above provisions of the Indian evidence act,1872.


(1) Kalyan Kumar Gogoi v. Ashutosh Agnihotri, (AIR 2011 SC 760).

(2) Pratapsingh and another, Appellants vs. State of M.P (1971 Cri LJ 172).

(3)  Bhaskaran, vs State of Kerala, (1985 CRI. L. J. 1711).

(4) Qaiyum Mian And Ors. vs State Of Bihar, (1993 Cri LJ 1756).

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