Evidence may be classified into Oral Evidence and Documentary Evidence, a fact may be proved either by oral evidence of fact or by documentary evidence, if any. This means there are two methods of proving a fact. One is by producing witnesses of fact, which are called oral evidence and the other by producing the document which records the fact in question and this is called documentary evidence.   
          Section 59 and 60 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 provides the provisions relating to oral evidence Section 59 provides for proof of Facts by oral evidence, Section 60 says that oral evidence must direct in other words hearsay evidence no evidence.

Meaning of Oral Evidence: 
         The term Oral signifies by word of mouth. 'Oral Evidence' literally means “The evidence, which is confined to words spoken by mouth". 
           It is a fact to the knowledge of the court by the statement of a witness qualified to speak on the point. However a witness, who is unable to speak, is permitted and considered as competent to give evidence in any matter which, he can make it intelligible. Verbal Statements includes signs and gestures. A deaf may testify by signs or by writing   Oral evidence, if worthy of credit, is sufficient without documentary evidence to prove a fact or title.

Definition of Oral Evidence:

 Section.3 of the Indian Evidence Act defines oral evidence, the first Part of the Evidence which defines Evidence deals with ’Oral evidence'. It says - “All Statements which the court permits or requires to be made before it, by witnesses in relation to matter of fact under enquiry, such statements are called Oral Evidence."

        The evidence of witnesses in general is given orally, and this Means Oral Evidence. Therefore Oral Evidence includes the statement of witnesses before the court which the Court either permits or requires them to make. The statement may made by witnesses capable of making it. A witness who can speak may communicate his knowledge of the fact to the court by signs or by writing and it will be treated as oral evidence

 Proof of Facts by oral Evidence (Section.59) :

Section 59 says that, “All facts, except the contents of documents, may be proved by oral evidence. (The words or electronic records inserted by IT Act 2000)

Importance of Oral Evidence:

       This Section lay down that, where written documents exist, they shall be produced as being the best evidence of their own contents and no oral evidence can be adduced to prove as to what is wrong in the document.
       While receiving oral evidence great Care must be exercised. The Court must sift the evidence, separate grain from chaff and accept what it finds to be true and reject the rest. The real test for accepting or rejecting the evidence is:

A) How consistent the story is with itself.

B) How it stands the taste of cross examination; and

C) How far it fits in with the rest of the evidence and the circumstances of the case.

Oral Evidence Must Be Direct: 

Section 60 of Indian Evidence Act reads as follows: 

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 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.

See also... 

Admissibility of Tape Recorded Statement as Oral Evidence 

HearsayEvidence No Evidence


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