The Law of Evidence is a critical piece of legislature which supplements Court’s proceedings. Evidence is the material that establishes a claim or an assertion and enables the Court to come to a just decision.
The concept of burden of proof is defined under Section 101 of the Law of Evidence Act, states that when a person is bound to prove the existence of a fact, the burden to provide evidence for the same lies upon him. Chapter VII of the Act deals with provisions under burden of proof. The term “burden of proof” isn’t defined in the Act, however it is the rudimentary principle of criminal that, that the presumption of innocence lies with the accused unless proven otherwise.
Principles of Burden of Proof :
Theoretically, the basis is divided into two parts –
A) The concept of onus probandi
B) Factum probans
Thus together how to prove facts and who shall prove or who shall prove and to what extent? Burden of proof is constant. Onus shifts. It consists and means that what is to be proved is fixed . e.g . burden is constant and who shall prove that is to be decided.
This liabilities and responsibilities to prove the fact is known as onus (burden) which shifts from shoulder of one party to the shoulder of another party. Burden of proof is always constant because it has reference to ingredients and concepts while onus shifted from shoulder to shoulder.
The rule of burden of proof in civil and criminal cases is of different nature. In civil proceedings the party who alleges certain things must prove his case, but proving beyond doubt is not necessary. In criminal cases however the guilt of the accused is to be proved beyond reasonable doubts otherwise the accused gets benefits of doubt. Cardinal (Important) rules as to burden of proof – Section 101, 102 and S.103 of the Indian Evidence Act, Provides three types of cardinal rules as burden of proof.
In criminal cases, the principle remains constant that the initial burden is on the prosecution to establish that the accused has committed a crime. If the prosecution fails to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty, the accused is entitled to an acquittal.
If burden of proof is put on the shoulders of the wrong party, the Supreme Court states that this would vitiate the entire judicial system. Wherein, a landlord seeks eviction of the tenants on the grounds of bona fide personal need, the onus to establish the same is on him.
In the case of Banwari Lal v. Road transport , where good were lost by the carrier, the burden lies upon him to establish that there was no negligence on his part. The defence version may even be false; nevertheless, the prosecution cannot derive any advantage from the falsity or other infirmities of the defence version, so long as it does not discharge its initial burden of proving the case beyond ail reasonable doubt.
In the case of Triro v. Dev Raj, there was a delay in filing the case going beyond the limitation period, the onus to justify the delay was on the prosecution.
In matrimonial cases, the principle of burden of proof relating to civil cases is applicable. A party seeking divorce will have to prove the grounds for divorce such as desertion, cruelty or infidelity.
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