The Concept of Burden of Proof under the Evidence act

Introduction 

A statement that is given by a person based on fact needs to be proven as per the Indian Evidence Act,1872. The burden of proof has been defined in the said act. However, the term “burden of proof” is precisely not defined in the Indian Evidence Act. The meaning of said word “burden of proof “is related to conferring the facts, which will be helping to the court to make a proper decision. 

The burden of proof deals with sections 101 to 103 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 in these sections cover different criteria like were to lie the burden of proof, burden of proof on particular facts, etc. And section 104 to 106 deals with requirements like proving admissibility of evidence, proving within the knowledge, etc. This article discusses the basic concept of burden of proof and where it applies in the Evidence Act.

Before discussing the burden of proof in the Indian Evidence Act,1872, let’s refer to some related terms connected to this concept.

What is Fact? 

Fact means anything which exists, like any event or action. The Fact is divided into two categories in the Indian Evidence Act that are given below;

The Indian Evidence Act, Section 3, deals with some interpretation-clauses, and the Fact is one of them. According that Fact includes –

(1) any kinds of things that include state or relations of things and capability to understand senses etc.

(2) any person’s conscious mental condition.

What is the burden of proof in Civil Cases?

When a person wants to file a lawsuit against another party, he should include the fact and grievances of the case in the petition. Here the applicant party who files such a suit is called a plaintiff, and another party against the lawsuit is filed called the defendant.

In the civil suit, the plaintiff has a burden of proof; he must have evidence of his case according to facts and relevant evidence. He can not lay the burden of proof on the defendant. Moreso, he can not take advantage of the weakness of the defendant. Even if the defendant does not take appropriate defense from his side, then that is the plaintiff’s duty to prove his case with the relevant facts and evidence of the suit.

What is the burden of proof in a criminal case?

The well-settled proposition of the law is that a person is always treated as innocent unless he is not proved guilty. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove to the court that the accused committed a crime. And thus, he is liable to be punished.

The burden of proof also can be laid on the accused if he claims that he is innocent of the crime. In the claim of exception of the crime, such burden of proof can be shifted upon the accused. However, the heavy burden of proof is always upon the prosecution firstly; they must prove the case without any reasonable doubt. The prosecution cannot discharge its duty by way of the weakness of the accused; thus, without any substantial proof of a crime, the court can not convict the accused. Let’s see the provisions and principles that refer to the burden of proof.

The provisions and principles of burden of proof

The two maxims have covered the principle of burden of proof; the first one is onus probandi which is referred to as the burden of proof and the second one is factum probands which refers to proving the Fact. In other words, we can say that when the burden of proof remains stable, in that situation, it shifted from one party to another party to prove the liability of the Fact in the appropriate case.

Thus, failing to prove the case by the prosecution with appropriate evidence, they cannot rely on the evidence adduced by the accused of his defense.

Section 101 burden of proof 

According to this section, any party who wants to assert a judgment in his favor from the court. He must prove his case with the accrued evidence. As per this section, the party must produce appropriate and accrue evidence based on reliability, which any doubt criteria cannot cover.

Thus a party who desires any legal liability or right dependent on fact; must be proven with evidence. Also, a claim must be proven by adducing proof based on the fact of the claim.

Section 102 burden of proof lies

As per this section, the burden of proof always lays on the party who will stand on the fact. Suppose either of the parties produces no evidence. Thus the burden of proof lies on the party who relies upon fac;t and not on the party who denied it.

Here the common question comes to our mind is, which party bears the burden of proof? In the suit proceeding, the burden of proof can be laid only on the party who is firm and cannot be sifted on that party who denied the fact.

In the case of Ram Raja Ram vs Dhuba Charan Jena,(A.I.R 1982 Ori 264), the Orissa high court held that the party who claimed consideration must be proof as per section 118 of the Negotiable instrument Act.[1]. 

Section 103, the burden of proof as to a particular fact

According to this section, the burden of proof is on the party who wants the court to believe and react to a fact. In other words, we can say that the burden of proof is laid only on that party that explains the Fact, which is required to prove the same in the court of law.

Suppose Mr. Ramesh wants to prove that when someone murdered his neighbor Mr. Paresh, he was not present there. But he was at his uncle’s house. In that situation, Mr. Ramesh must prove that he was present at his uncle’s house.

Section 104 of the Evidence Act

This section says that anyone who wants to prove the Fact must bear the burden of proving it in terms of admissible evidence, which confirms the Fact. In other words, suppose a person who wants to produce some evidence to prove some event will be responsible for proving both the event and evidence.

When a person wants to admit one Fact that depends upon another fact, that is required to prove the Fact and subsequent Fact with evidence.

For example, If Mr. A desired to prove that Mr. B gave him a dying declaration before he died. In that case, Mr. A has to be proved that Mr. B has died.

In Paramjeet Singh @ Pamma vs State of Uttarakhand, (AIR 2011 SC 200). The Supreme court rightly observed that the more serious the crime, the stricter proof required in a criminal trial when the burden of proof is on the prosecution.[2].

In Basanta Gohain vs The State (1957 CriLJ 360), the Gauhati high court observed that the prosecution’s burden is on proving the case against the accused.[3].

What does section 105 say?

This section deals with the exceptions provided under the general exception of the Indian penal code or any of the laws enforced. According to this section, the burden of proof may lie on the accused when it falls under any exception criteria. If the accused’s defense that the offense he committed existed as a circumstance and was not done with intent, he must be proved that. When the guilt is proved, the burden of proof shifts to the accused person who pleads defense under the exception. The well-settled principle of the law is that the accused can not be established guilty until the prosecution does not prove the same.

What does section 106 say?

This section deals with the principle of the law that; if a person states that he knows the Fact, then such Fact has to be proved. That type of Fact especially comes under the knowledge of a person. Thus he has to prove it. Suppose an allegation was made against Mr. A that he is traveling on a bus without a ticket. Now he has to prove that a ticket is having on him.

What is Shifting of the burden of proof evidence act?

In the evidence act, some criteria can be shited the burden of proof. In other words, we can say that shifting the burden of proof means that it can be changed, proving the Fact from one party to another party. When one party proves some things, the court will allow another party to clarify their point before deciding the real issue.

In which circumstances is the burden of proof shited?

Suppose a party meets some particular evidence during the trial. In that case, the court allows the opposite party to clear his counterpoint via shifting the burden of proof before relying upon that evidence. It will be necessary when the case is based on circumstances evidence.

What is the difference between the burden of proof and the onus of proof evidence?

The primary difference between the burden of proof and the onus of proof is that; the burden of proof lies on that person who wants to prove the Fact that will never shift. While the onus shifts from one party to another party.

The burden of proof evidence act by oral

Section 59 deals with the proof of facts by oral evidence; according to that, except for the documents’ content and electronic records, all other wings of facts and circumstances can be proved by oral evidence.

In the case of Bhima Tima Dhotre vs. The pioneer chemical co.((1968) 70 BOMLR 683), the Bombay high court rightly observed that, in every case, the writer of the documents is not to called give oral evidence of the content of the document. There is meaningless such documentary evidence.[4].

Reference

The Indian Evidence Act,1872.

The Indian Evidence Act, Section 3.

(1) Ram Raja Ram vs Dhuba Charan Jena,(A.I.R 1982 Ori 264).

(2) Paramjeet Singh @ Pamma vs State of Uttarakhand, (AIR 2011 SC 200).

(3) Basanta Gohain vs The State (1957 CriLJ 360).

(4) Bhima Tima Dhotre vs. The pioneer chemical co.((1968) 70 BOMLR 683)

Aslo Read:

Admissibility of Hearsay Evidence under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

What happens if a party lead evidence beyond pleadings?

When there is no sufficient ground to prosecute the accused, the trial Judge is bound to discharge the accused.

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