Section 43 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Illustrations:

(a) A and  separately sue Ñ for a libel which reflects upon each of them. Ñ in each case says, that the matter alleged to be libelous is true, and the circumstances are such that it is probably true in each case, or in neither.

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A obtains a decree against Ñ for damages on the ground that Ñ failed to make out his justification. The fact is irrelevant as between  and C.

(b) A prosecutes  for adultery with C, A’s wife.

 denies that Ñ is A’s wife, but the court convicts  of adultery.

Afterwards, Ñ is prosecuted for bigamy in marrying  during A’s lifetime. C, says that she never was A’s wife.

The judgment against  is irrelevant as against C.

(c) A prosecutes  for stealing a cow from him, B, is convicted.

A afterwards sues Ñ for the cow, which  had sold to him before his conviction. As between A and C, the judgment against  is irrelevant.

(d) A has obtained a decree for the possession of land against Â, C, B’s son, murders A in consequence.

The existence of the judgment is relevant, as showing motive for a crime.

(e) A is charged with theft and with having been previously convicted of theft. The previous conviction is relevant as a fact in issue.

(f) A is tried for the murder of Â. The fact that  prosecuted A for libel and that A was convicted and sentenced is relevant under section 8 as showing the motive for the fact in issue.

Comments:

Principle:

Section 43 provides that if judgment is not relevant under sections 40, 41 or 42 it will not be relevant unless the judgment itself is a fact-in-issue or is a relevant under some other provisions of the Act. This section expressly contemplates cases in which a judgment itself is fact-in-issue or is relevant fact, being admissible except Sections 40,41 and 42. The illustrations appended to the section show that judgments have become relevant under some other provisions (e.g. Sections 6 to 55) of the Act.

The object of enacting Section 43 is of two fold, viz.,—(i) “to treat every case a class by itself so that the judgment delivered in one case may not be availed of by parties in another case; and (ii) to maintain the independence of courts by preventing the parties from submitting before the court hearing their case the judgments of other courts.” “The exceptions to this rule are judgments which are relevant under Article 141 or Article 227 of the Constitution as binding precedents or the judgments which are relevant under sections 41 and 42 of the Evidence Act or which are necessary to be taken into consideration when plea of res judicata is raised.”

Where the accused was charged for criminal misappropriation findings against him in departmental proceedings would be relevant under section 43 of the Act.

Judgment relevant under other provisions of this Act:

The Income Tax and Wealth Tax assessment orders are not admissible in evidence under sections 40 to 42 but they are definitely admissible in evidence as they contain admission with regard to shares which the parties were having in the property in question.

Admissibility of judgment:

A judgment not inter parties is admissible if its existence is a relevant fact. Under this section judgments other than those mentioned in Sections 40, 41 or 42 are of themselves irrelevant, unless the existence of the judgment is relevant under some other provisions of the Act. A judgment setting aside the transfer of a holding is a fact in issue in pre-emption proceedings under section 26, F.B.T. Act and therefore admissible though not inter-parties Relying upon the decision of Bombay High Court in Laxshman Govind v Amrit Gopal it was held the judgment not inter-parties are inadmissible to prove the fact stated therein.

Effect of judgment of Criminal Court in Civil cases:

Judgment of a Criminal case cannot be relied on as binding in civil case. Similarly the findings in civil proceeding are not binding on a subsequent prosecution. However, admission made by a party is admissible in subsequent civil proceedings. The judgment in the Criminal Court would not be relevant in the claim petition under the Motor Vehicle Act. “The standard of proof for imposing liability is widely different between the civil and criminal courts and while in a civil suit a defendant can be made liable on probabilities or the action decided on a mere consideration of the burden of proof in the absence of other evidence, no accused can be convicted on such uncertain grounds.”

The decision of Civil Court is relevant in Criminal case. But such decision alone is not sufficient for conviction in criminal trial.