Hearsay evidence signifies the evidence heard and said.  It is also known as second hand unoriginal evidence, a witness is merely reporting not what he himself saw or heard but what he has learnt in respect of the fact through the medium of the third person. It is a statement made by a witness of what has been said and declared out of Court by a person and not before the Court. Evidence given by a witness may be oral or documentary. According to the Section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 oral evidence to be admissible, it must be direct. In other words, hearsay evidence is no evidence.

Illustration -

         'A' is being tried for stealing B's Cycle. 'C' as witness says that he (C) heard ’D’ saying that 'D' saw 'A' with B's Cycle.  Such evidence given by 'C' is not admissible on the ground that testimony of C is hearsay evidence.

        Hearsay Evidence means whatever a person is heard to say it includes:

1) A statement made by a person, not called as witness;

2) A statement contained or recorded in any book, document or record which is not admissible.

The hearsay witness may not be able to say correctly and completely the truth of his statement.


The Indian Evidence Act provides for certain exceptions

         This general rule, hearsay evidence is no evidence. In other words, hearsay evidence is admissible in the following cases.

1) Res gestae (statements from part of some transaction: Section 6)

2) Admission and Confessions (Section 17 - Section 23 and Section 24 - Section 30)

3) Statement by a person who cannot be called as a witness (Dying Declaration. Section 32(1)

4)  Evidence given in the former proceedings (Section 33)

5)  Statements in public documents (Section 35)

6) Opinions of Experts (Section 45- Section 51); and

7) Entries in books of Accounts (Section 34)

See also... Oral Evidence


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