James Fitzjamen Stephan is the father of Evidence act. The word Evidence has been derived from the Latin word “Evidere” means to show clearly/ to discover/ to prove. Evidence act is also know as “LEX FORI” which is law of the land or law of the place. This is important for both civil as well as criminal. Evidence act contains a set of rules and regulations which governs the admissibility of any evidence in the court of law. If any Evidence is being presented will it be accepted or what is the correct way to present the evidence is given in this act. This consist of 167 sections which is divided into 3 parts.
Now, if we talk about the history of Evidence it is divided in three parts the first is the ancient India the Hindu period, The medival India the Hindu and Muslim period and lastly the British India.
In ancient India, Dharmashastra, Smritis and vedic texts were considered as reference for equity, justice or for Evidence. At that time king was the judge so they used to ensure justice on the basis of these. Vashistha Jee who we all know by Ramayana. He in ancient times had laid down three rules of evidence that is lekhya which is document , shakshi which is witness and bukhti which is possession.
In medieval time which was mainly the Muslim period there Quran was considered as a base or reference for evidence or for dispute settlement. In the medival time the classification of evidence was oral, documentary and direct where oral evidence was given more importance. Here the qazi’s used to decide the dispute.
In the British period , the evidence act came into existence. Sir, Henry Maine drafted the law of evidence in 1868 but it proved unsuitable in India. But again in 1872, Sir James Fitzjames Stephan prepared the bill of the evidence act and the British parliament passed the act in 1872. It enacted on 15th march 1872 and came into force on 1st September 1872.
Definition of law of evidence given by Sir james Stephan is that law of Evidence is that part of law of procedure which with a view to ascertain individual rights and liabilities in a case decide three things.
A. What facts may and what facts may not be proved.
B. What sort of Evidence must be given to a fact which may be proved. C. By whom and in which manner the Evidence must be given by which any fact is proved.
Nature of this act- it is retrospective in nature. Evidence act is neither substantive nor procedural it is basically adjective law. Which means it has both substantive as well as procedural aspects.
Need of the act- it plays an important role in ascertaining the facts of a case on the process of delivering justice by the court. Lays down the principle and rules according to which facts of a case may be proved or disproved in a court of law. Also it helps the judges in deciding the rights and liabilities of parties arising out of the facts presented to him for further application of relevant laws. Importantly helps the court in preventing the wastage of time upon irrelevant issues.
The preamble of this act combines all those previous legislation prevailing in the court system in a single form. Also to define the rules and regulations regarding evidence. And to amend it so that the law does not lose its importance and value with time.
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