While adjudicating a case, the court has to consider questions of both law and fact involved in the case.
1) Question of law
(1) Question of a law is a question as to what the law on a point is.
Eg: What is the period of limitation of a particular suit? The law on this point is provided in the Limitation Act 1963.
(2) A question already settled by a rule of law.
Eg: Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age. ( Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 ).
2) Question of fact
In a case all questions which are not questions of law, are questions of fact. A question of fact is anything, state of things or relation of things capable of being perceived by senses and any mental condition of which any person is conscious. It is also, anything that is known to be true, or to have happened or to be existent. Disputed questions of fact are to be proved by evidence.
3) Judicial Discretion
These are matters as to what is fair, just, reasonable, right and proper to be decided by the application of knowledge, skill wisdom and responsibility in the particular circumstances of the case. It is the quality of taking decision on one’s own reasoning and sound principles in the right line.
4) Legal fiction
A legal fiction is a legal assumption that a thing is true and valid, though the fact may be otherwise. Here law deems certain facts against the reality.
Eg : Parentage of an adopted child. Under Section 12 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956, “an adopted child shall be deemed to be the child of his or her adoptive father or mother…….. “
5) Legal Presumptions
Legal Presumption is a reasonable belief that something is probable and true and taken for granted. It is an interference as to the existence of a fact, and a probable consequence drawn from other established facts and circumstances.
Eg : Under Section 112 of the Evidence Act 1872, birth during marriage is conclusive proof of legitimacy, under the conditions contained therein. Under section 114 of the Evidence Act 1872, the court may presume the existence of certain facts. Possessor of stolen goods is presumed to be the thief, or he has received the stolen goods knowing them to be stolen unless he can account for his possession.
When one person by his declaration, act or omission, causes another person to believe something to be true, and to act upon the belief, the former is not allowed to deny the truth of that thing.
Eg : A causes B to believe that a particular property belongs to A, while that property did not belong to A. B, on the belief of A’s statement purchased the property, the property later becomes the property of A. A is not allowed to prove that at the time of sale to B, A was not the owner. A is estopped from denying his statement.
Reference : Legal language, legal writing and general English by B. M. Gandhi
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