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05/11/2016

IndianEvidenceActBurdenofProof

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Q.WhatdoyouunderstandbyBurdenofProof?Onwhomthedoestheburdenof
prooflie?StatetherulesofdeterminingBurdenofProofinasuitorproceeding.
Whendoestheburdenofproofshifttotheotherparties?Arethereanyexceptions?
GeneralConceptofBurdenofProof
Theresponsibilitytoproveathingiscalledburdenofproof.Whenapersonisrequiredtoprovetheexistenceortruthfulnessofa
fact,heissaidtohavetheburdenofprovingthatfact.Inacase,manyfactsareallegedandtheyneedtobeprovedbeforethe
courtcanbaseitsjudgmentonsuchfacts.Theburdenofproofistheobligationonapartytoestablishsuchfactsinissueor
relevantfactsinacasetotherequireddegreeofcertaintyinordertoproveitscase.Forexample,inacaseofmurder,prosecution
mayallegethatalltheconditionsconstitutingamurderarefulfilled.Allsuchconditionsarefactsinissueandthereisanobligation
toprovetheirexistence.Thisobligationisaburdenofproof.Ingeneral,everypartyhastoproveafactthatgoesinhisfavoror
againsthisopponent,thisobligationisnothingbutburdenofproof.Section101definesburdenofproofasfollowsWhena
personisboundtoprovetheexistenceofanyfact,itissaidthattheburdenofproofliesonthatperson.
Theimportantquestioniswhoissupposedtoprovethevariousfactsallegedinacase.Inotherwords,onwhomshouldthe
burdenofprovingafactlie?TherulesforallocationofburdenofproofaregovernedprimarilybytheprovisionsinSection101to
105.TherulespropoundedbythesesectionscanbecategorizedasGeneralrulesandSpecificrules.

Generalrules
Rule1AsperSection101,specifiesthebasicruleaboutwhoissupposedtoproveafact.Itsaysthatwhoeverdesiresany
Courttogivejudgmentastoanylegalrightorliabilitydependentontheexistenceoffactswhichheasserts,mustprovethatthose
factsexist.Forexample,AdesiresaCourttogivejudgmentthatBshallbepunishedforacrimewhichAsaysBhascommitted.A
mustprovethatBhascommittedthecrime.AnotherexampleAdesiresaCourttogivejudgmentthatheisentitledtocertain
landinthepossessionofB,byreasonoffactswhichheasserts,andwhichBdenies,tobetrue.Amustprovetheexistenceof
thosefacts.
Factscanbeputintwocategoriesthosethatpositivelyaffirmsomethingandthosethatdenysomething.Forexample,the
statement,"Aistheownerofthisland"isanaffirmativestatement,while"Bisnottheownerofthisland"isadenial.Therulegiven
inSection101meansthatthepersonwhoassertstheaffirmativeofanissue,theburdenofproofliesonhistoproveit.Thus,the
personwhomakesthestatementthat"Aistheowneroftheland",hastheburdentoproveit.Thisruleisusefulfordeterminingthe
ownershipoftheinitialburden.Whoeverwishesthecourttotakecertainactionagainsttheoppositepartybasedoncertainfacts,
heoughttofirstprovethosefacts.
However,itisnotverysimpletocategorizeafactasassertingtheaffirmative.Forexample,inthecaseofSowardvsLegatt,
1836,alandlordsuingthetenantassertedthatthetenantdidnotrepairthehouse.Here,hewasassertingthenegative.Butthe
samestatementcanalsobesaidaffirmativelyasthetenantletthehousedilapidate.Inthiscase,LordABINGERobservedthatIn
ascertainingwhichpartyisassertingtheaffirmativethecourtlookstothesubstanceandnotthelanguageused.Lookingatthe
substanceofthiscase,theplaintiffhadtoprovethatthepremiseswerenotrepaired.
Thus,thecourtshouldarriveatthesubstanceoftheissueandshouldrequirethatpartytobeginwhoinsubstance,thoughmay
notbeinform,allegestheaffirmativeoftheissue.
BurdenofProofandOnusofProof
ThetermBurdenofProofisusedintwodifferencesensestheburdenofproofasamatteroflawandpleading,andtheburdenof
proofasamatterofadducingevidencealsocalledasonus.Thereisasubtledistinctionbetweenburdenofproofandonusof
proof,whichwasexplainedinthecaseofRanchhodbhaivsBabubhaiAIR1982.Thefirstoneistheburdentoprovethemain
contentionofpartyrequestingtheactionofthecourt,whilethesecondoneistheburdentoproduceactualevidence.Thefirstone
isconstantandisalwaysupontheclaimantbutthesecondoneshiftstotheotherpartyasandwhenonepartysuccessfully
producesevidencesupportingitscase.Forexample,inacasewhereAissuingBforpaymentofhisservices,theburdenofproof
asamatteroflawisuponAtoprovethatheprovidedservicesforwhichBhasnotpaid.ButifBclaimsthattheserviceswerenot
uptothemark,theonusofburdenastoadducingevidenceshiftstoBtoprovethedeficiencyinservice.Further,ifuponproviding
suchevidence,Aclaimsthattheserviceswereprovidedasnegotiatedinthecontract,theonusagainshiftstoAtoprovethatthe
servicesmeetthequalityasspecifiedinthecontract.
Thenextruledetermineswhohastheonusofproof.
Rule2AsperSection102,theburdenofproofinasuitorproceedingliesonthatpersonwhowouldfailifnoevidenceatall
weregivenoneitherside.Thefollowingillustrationsexplainthispoint
Illustration1AsuesBforlandofwhichBisinpossession,andwhich,asAasserts,waslefttoAbythewillofC,B'sfather.Ifno
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IndianEvidenceActBurdenofProof

evidenceweregivenoneitherside,Bwouldbeentitledtoretainhispossession.ThereforetheburdenofproofisonA.
Illustration2AsuesBformoneydueonabond.Theexecutionofthebondisadmitted,butBsaysthatitwasobtainedbyfraud,
whichAdenies.Ifnoevidenceweregivenoneitherside,Awouldsucceed,asthebondisnotdisputedandthefraudisnot
proved.ThereforetheburdenofproofisonB.
Rule3AsperSection103,thepersonwhowantsthecourttobelieveinanallegedfactistheonewhoissupposedtoprovethat
factunlessitisprovidedbyanylawthattheproofofthatfactshalllieonanyparticularperson.Forexample,AprosecutesBfor
theft,andwishestheCourttobelievethatBadmittedthethefttoC.Amustprovetheadmission.AnotherexampleBwishesthe
Courttobelievethat,atthetimeinquestion,hewaselsewhere.Hemustproveit.Further,asspecifiedinSection104,ifaperson
wantsthecourttobelieveinafactthatassumestheexistenceofanotherfact,itisuptothepersontoprovetheotherfactalso.For
example,AwishestoproveadyingdeclarationbyB.AmustproveB'sdeath.Awishestoprove,bysecondaryevidence,the
contentsofalostdocument.Amustprovethatthedocumenthasbeenlost.

SpecificRules
Theserulesspecificallyputtheburdenonprovingcertainfactsonparticularpersons
Rule1AsperSection106,whenanyfactisespeciallywithintheknowledgeofanyperson,theburdenofprovingthatfactis
uponhim.Whenapersondoesanactwithsomeintentionotherthanthatwhichthecharacterandcircumstancesoftheact
suggest,theburdenofprovingthatintentionisuponhim.Forexample,Aischargedwithtravelingonarailwaywithoutaticket.
Theburdenofprovingthathehadaticketisonhim.
RulesofPresumptionSection107and108saythatifapersonwasknowntobealivewithin30yrsthepresumptionisthathe
isaliveandifthepersonhasnotbeenheardofforsevenyearsbythosewhohavenaturallyheardfromhimifhehadbeenalive,
thepresumptionisthatthepersonisdeath.Butnopresumptioncanbedrawastothetimeofdeath.Sections109establishesthe
burdenincaseofsomerelationssuchaslandlordandtenant,principleandagentetc.Furthersectionsspecifytherulesabout
burdenofproofincaseofterrorism,dowrydeath,andrape.

Exceptions
Exception1Thegeneralruleincriminalcasesisthattheaccusedispresumedinnocent.Itistheprosecutionwhoisrequiredto
establishtheguiltoftheaccusedwithoutanydoubt.Atthesametime,theaccusedisnotrequiredtoprovehisinnocencewithout
anydoubtbutonlyhastocreatereasonabledoubtthathemaynotbeguilty.Section105specifiesanexceptiontothisgeneral
rule.WhenanaccusedclaimsthebenefitoftheGeneralExceptionclausesofIPC,theburdenofprovingthatheisentitledtosuch
benefitisuponhim.Forexample,ifanaccusedclaimsthebenefitofinsanityinamurdertrial,itisuptotheaccusedtoprovethat
hewasinsaneatthetimeofcommittingthecrime.
InthecaseofKMNanavativsStateofMaharashtra,AIR1962,SCexplainedthispoint.Inthiscase,Nanavatiwasaccusedof
murderingPremAhuja,hiswife'sparamour,whileNanavaticlaimedinnocenceonaccountofgraveandsuddenprovocation.The
defence'sclaimwasthatwhenNanavatimetPrematthelatter'sbedroom,Premhadjustcomeoutofthebathdressedonlyina
towelanangryNanavatisworeatPremandproceededtoaskhimifheintendstomarrySylviaandlookafterhischildren.Prem
replied,"WillImarryeverywomanIsleepwith?",whichfurtherenragedNanavati.SeeingPremgoforthegun,enclosedina
brownpacket,Nanavatitoowentforitandintheensuingscuffle,Prem'shandcausedtheguntogooffandinstantlykillhim.
Here,SCheldthatthereisapresumptionofinnocenceinfavoroftheaccusedasageneralruleanditisthedutyofthe
prosecutiontoprovetheguiltoftheaccusedbeyondanydoubt.Butwhenanaccusedreliesuponthegeneralexceptionor
provisocontainedinanyotherpartofthePenalCode,Section105oftheEvidenceActraisesapresumptionagainsttheaccused
andalsothrowsaburdenonhimtorebutthesaidpresumption.Thus,itwasuponthedefencetoprovethatthereexistedagrave
andsuddenprovocation.Inabsenceofsuchproof,Nanavatiwasconvictedofmurder.
Exception2AdmissionAfactwhichhasbeenadmittedbyapartyandwhichisagainsttheinterestofthatparty,isheldagainst
theparty.Ifthefactiscontestedbytheparty,thentheburdenofproofrestsuponthepartywhomadetheadmission.Forexample,
Awasrecordedassayingthathecommittedtheftatthesaidpremises.IfAwantstodenythisadmission,theburdenofproofrests
onAtoproveso.
Exception3PresumptionsCourtpresumestheexistenceofcertainthings.Forexample,asperSection107/108,court
presumesthatapersonisdeadoralivebasedonhowlonghehasnotbeenheardof.Section109,presumesthatwhentwo
peoplehavebeenactingaspertherelationshipoflandlordtenant,principleagent,etc,suchrelationshipstillexistsand
anybodywhocontendsthatsuchrelationshiphasceasedtoexisthastoprovideproof.Section110presumesthattheperson
whohasthepossessionofapropertyistheownerofthatproperty.AsperSection113A,Whenthequestioniswhetherthe
commissionofsuicidebyawomanhadbeenabettedbyherhusbandoranyrelativeofherhusbandanditisshownthatshehad
committedsuicidewithinaperiodofsevenyearsfromthedateofhermarriageandthatherhusbandorsuchrelativeofher
husbandhadsubjectedhertocruelty,thecourtmaypresume,havingregardtoalltheothercircumstancesofthecase,thatsuch
suicidehadbeenabettedbyherhusbandorbysuchrelativeofherhusband.AsperSection113B,whenthequestioniswhether
apersonhascommittedthedowrydeathofawomananditisshownthatsoonbeforeherdeathsuchwomanhadbeensubjected
bysuchpersontocrueltyorharassmentfor,orinconnectionwith,anydemandfordowry,thecourtshallpresumethatsuch
personhadcausedthedowrydeath.
Thus,whenthepresumptionofthecourtisinfavorofaparty,theburdenofdisprovingitrestsontheoppositeparty.

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