Oral Evidence -

1) Introduction- -

         S.59 and S.60 of Indian Evidence Act deals with 'Oral Evidence'. Oral evidence is a much less satisfactory medium of proof than documentary proof. oral evidence in all cases must be direct and not hearsay.

2) Meaning of the Expression -

         Meaning of the expression "Oral Evidence" is given along with the definition of the term 'evidence' in S.3 of the Indian Evidence Act

“Evidence” means and includes —

(1) all statements which the Court permits or requires to be made before it by witnesses, in relation to matters of fact under inquiry, such statements are called oral evidence;

(2) all documents including electronic records produced for the inspection of the Court,
such documents are called documentary evidence.

3) S.59.Proof of facts by oral evidence

All facts, except the contents of documents, may be proved by oral evidence

Oral evidence must be direct.  Oral evidence must, in all cases, whatever, be direct; that is to say;

If it refers to a fact which could be seen, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he saw it;
If it refers to a fact which could be heard, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he heard it;
If it refers to a fact which could be perceived by any other sense or in any other manner, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he perceived it by that sense or in that manner;

If it refers to an opinion or to the grounds in which that opinion is held, it must be the evidence of the person who holds that opinion on those grounds -

     Provided that the opinion of experts expressed in any treatise commonly offered for sale, and the grounds on which such opinions are held, may be proved by the production of such treatise if the author is dead or cannot be found or has become incapable of giving evidence or cannot be called as a witness without an amount of delay or expense which the Court regards as unreasonable.
Provided also that, if oral evidence refers to the existence or condition of any material thing other than a document, the Court may, if it thinks fit, require the production of such material thing for its inspection

4) S. 60 says that Oral evidence must be direct

Oral evidence must, in all cases, whatever, be direct; that is to say;
If it refers to a fact which could be seen, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he saw it;
If it refers to a fact which could be heard, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he heard it;
If it refers to a fact which could be perceived by any other sense or in any other manner, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he perceived it by that sense or in that manner;
If it refers to an opinions or to the grounds in which that opinion is held, it must be the evidence of the person who holds that opinion on those grounds -
Provided that the opinion of experts expressed in any treatise commonly offered for sale, and the grounds on which such opinions are held, may be proved by the production of such treatise if the author is dead or cannot be found or has become incapable of giving evidence or cannot be called as a witness without an amount of delay or expense which the Court regards as unreasonable.
Provided also that, if oral evidence refers to the existence or condition of any material thing other than a document, the Court may, if it thinks fit, require the production of such material thing for its inspection
This section sets out the scope of the expression ‘direct evidence’, and hearsay  evidence is excluded by this section.

5) Conclusion -

At present days oral evidence is much less satisfactory medium of proof than documentary evidence

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