RELEVANCY AND ADMISSIBILITY

    INTRODUCTION

    Relevancy and Admissibility are not synonyms of each other. Relevance is the key touchstone for assessing evidentary admissibility. Because of this basic rule of the Law of Evidence, the words ‘relevance’ and ‘admissibility’ are often used interchangeably. It should be remembered that the two concepts are very different from each other. For example, a confession made to his wife by an accused may be relevant but is inadmissible as it falls under the purview of ‘Privileged Communications’ under the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

    RELEVANT

    Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, defines relevancy as “one fact is said to be relevant to another when the one is connected with the other in any of the ways referred to in the ways referred to in the provisions of the Act relating to relevancy of facts.” The said provisions are contained in sections 5 to 55 of the Evidence Act.

    Relevant Evidence is evidence that essentially obliges a fact to be true than it would be without confirmation. Relevant proof may be dismissed for irrational bias, perplexity or a waste of time. Relevant evidence is generally permissible and irrelevant evidence is never appropriate. Two clear principles of relevance:

    • There is nothing to be obtained that is technically not confirmed in relation to the matters that must be proven.
    • Anything that is verified or probative should come in unless and until the strong ground of law or policy excludes it. Relevance serves as a correlation between a statement of fact and an argument which must be proven.

    ADMISSIBLE

    It implies allowed in court proceedings i.e. to be part of court proceedings. Only relevant facts are admissible as allowed by Indian Evidence Act. For example, a confession by a thief to police officer is logical but not legally relevant thus not admissible. Admissibility depends upon legal relevancy.[1]

    Section 136 of the Act states that it is the judge which would decide on the admissibility of a fact/document. The essential ingredients of the Section 136 are:

    • The judge will decide the questions of relevancy and admissibility.
    • When a party proposes to adduce evidence of any fact, the Judge may ask the party to clarify ‘in what manner’ the fact would be relevant.
    • The Judge would ‘admit’ the particular adduced fact only if he is satisfied with the answer of the party that it is, indeed, relevant under one or the other provisions of S. 6 to 55.
    admissible word in a dictionary. admissible concept.

    Thus, it is always the consideration of relevancy that comes first and that of admissibility comes later, and the judge will admit the fact only if it is relevant.[2]

    FACT

    “Fact” means and includes-

    (1) any thing, state of things, or relation of things, capable of being perceived by the sense;

    (2) any mental condition of which any person is conscious.

    Phipson – No satisfactory definition of the term ‘fact’ has been or perhaps can be given. Broadly, it applies to whatever is the subject of perception or consciousness.

    Bentham classified fact into two broad categories:

    i) Physical facts – those facts which can be perceived by the five senses of a man

    ii) Psychological facts – those facts which cannot be seen by others but of which a man is conscious.

    There is direct evidence for physical facts but psychological facts are inferred from behavior.

    M. Patodia v. R.K. Birla[3]

    Admissibility is independent of and irrespective of the fact as to how an evidence is procured, so even if an evidence is procured in an illegal manner or y improper means, such evidence remains admissible.

    R.M. Malkani v. State of Maharashtra[4]

    Illegality of procuration of evidence doesn’t render it inadmissible.

    RELEVANCY AND ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE

    Relevance and Admissibility of Evidence

    A fact may either be relevant in a logical or legal context. Where a fact bears such casual connection to the other that it makes its presence or non-existence possible, it is said to be a fact of logical significance. Although all facts which are legally relevant are logically relevant, all facts which are logically relevant may not be legally relevant. For instance, an accused gives the following statement- “I have kept in the field the knife with which I killed A.” While the statement may be logically relevant to establish the guilt of the accused, its legal relevancy extends to only so far as it confirms the fact that the accused had kept the knife in the field. This is so because section 27 of the Evidence Act clearly lays down that only that part of the information may be proved which clearly relates to the fact thereby discovered.[5]

    Admissibility applies to the question of whether or not the court needs to include a material fact in its judgment on the matter. A fact is only admissible if it does not breach any of the exclusivity provisions laid down by statute. Consequently, facts that are logically relevant are true but may not be admissible whereas facts that are legally relevant are both true and admissible.

    As per Bentham, one fact is relevant to another, if the effect or tendency of the former when presented to the mind, is to produce a persuasion concerning the existence of some other matter of fact. As such the relation between factum probandum and factum probans is called relevancy. Factum Probandum refers to the ultimate fact to be proven, or the proposition to be established. Factum Probans refers to the evidentiary facts by which the factum probandum will be proved.

    As per Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, relevant means any two facts to which it is applied are so related to each other that, according to the common course of events, either taken by itself or in conjunction with other facts, proves or renders probable past, present or future existence, or non-existence of the other.

    Lakshmandas Chaganlal Bhatia v. State[6]

    The Hon’ble Bombay High Court laid down the following to be “relevant facts:

    • Facts necessary to explain or introduce a fact in issue or relevant fact;
    • Facts which support or rebut an inference suggested by a fact in issue or a relevant fact;
    • Facts which establish the identity of anything or person whose identity is relevant;
    • Facts which fix the time and place at which any fact in issue or relevant fact happened;
    • Facts which show the relation of parties by whom any fact in issue or relevant fact was transacted.

    State of Gujarat vs Ashulal Nanji Bisnol[7]

    As regards relevance and admissibility, there is no explicit or implied provision set out in the Act. It basically means, by the expression “admissible and relevant,” that admissible for the consideration of the judge, “admissible and relevant” for the consideration of the judge to pronounce the judgment. Therefore, it cannot be determined that statements or documents which are not admissible or relevant cannot be recorded. The Act does not guarantee that the information that the judge finds to be insignificant or inadmissible cannot be recorded. The putting on record of facts and information that may not be appropriate or admissible cannot be avoided.

    Ambikacharan v. Kumuk Mohan[8]

    It was held that as a general rule, S.11 is controlled by S.32, “when the evidence consists of statement of persons who are dead and the test whether such a statement is relevant under S.11, though not relevant and admissible under S.32, is that it is admissible under S.11, when it is altogether immaterial whether what said was true or false, but highly material that it was said.”

    DIFFERENCE

    Sr. No.RELEVANCEADMISSIBILITY
    1At the point when certainties are so related as to render the presence or non-presence of different facts likely as indicated by the normal course of occasions or human conduct, they are called relevancy.[9]At the point when facts have been announced to be lawfully significant under Indian Evidence Act, they become admissible.
    2Relevancy is based on logic and probability.Admissibility of evidence is strictly based on law
    3It mainly emphasis on what facts are necessary to prove before the court and not?Between relevancy and proof, it acts as a decisive factor.
    4Relevancy is basically a cause.It is mainly an effect.
    5Under Evidence Act the rules of relevancy means where evidence is admissible.Admissibility is means and of modes for admissibility of relevant evidence.
    6The rules of relevancy declare what is relevant.The rule of admissibility declares whether certain type of relevant evidence is admissible or are to be excluded.[10]
    7The court has the power to apply discretion in relevancy.The discretion cannot be applied by the court in admissibility
    8Relevancy is based on logic.Admissibility only relies on lawful pertinence
    9The facts which are relevant may not be necessarily admissible.The facts which are admissible are necessarily relevant.
    10Relevancy declares whether the given facts are relevant to the facts in question.Admissibility declares whether an evidence is admissible or not
    11The rules of relevancy are described from Section 5 to Section 55 of Evidence Act, 1872.The rules of admissibility are described after Section 56 of Evidence Act, 1872.

    Ram Bihari Yadav vs. State of Bihar[11]

    More often the expressions ‘relevancy and admissibility’ are used as synonyms but their legal implications are distinct and different from for more often than not facts which are relevant are not admissible.

    CONCLUSION

    For several years, evidence is deemed more significant in determining cases. The power bestowed on the managing official to choose whether or not an evidence is acceptable is enormous and must be constrained by law. While logical relevance is definitely an important factor in determining the probative value of facts, it happens that facts can be related to one another by varying degrees of logical proximity and immediate causes and effects, and by distant, indirect and even conjectural causes and effects.

    Therefore, all facts which are logically relevant are not legally relevant and all facts which are legally relevant may not logically be relevant. The rule is incomparable, and no one should be granted the discretionary right to twist it to their will. Every bit of evidence relating to the case must be admissible if it is found by illegal hunting or any other process. There are many people among us who, due to inadmissible facts, violate the eyes of law forever.


    [1] Fiza Gupta, Interpretation Clause of Indian Evidence Act 1872, Legal Acharya (30th August,2020, 11:32am), https://legalacharya.com/lawoftheland/interpretation-clause-of-indian-evidence-act-1872/

    [2] Venancio D’Costa, Astha Ojhi and Gauri Goel, India: Relevancy And Admissibility: Two Sides Of A Coin, Mondaq (30th August, 2020, 11:44am), https://www.mondaq.com/india/trials-appeals-compensation/924542/relevancy-and-admissibility-two-sides-of-a-coin

    [3] 1971 AIR 1295

    [4] 1973 AIR 157

    [5] Tejas Vasani, Distinction between Relevancy and Admissibility (30th August, 2020, 12:12pm), https://www.legalbites.in/distinction-between-relevancy-and-admissibility/

    [6] 1968 69 AIR 807 (Bom)

    [7] 2002(4) Crimes 47

    [8] [1928] AIR 893 (Cal)

    [9] Diva Rai, Relevancy and Admissibility, iblog pleaders (30th August, 2020, 12:42pm), https://blog.ipleaders.in/relevancy-and-admissibility/

    [10] Distinction/Difference between Relevancy and Admissibility, SRD Law Notes (30th August, 2020, 01:22pm), https://www.srdlawnotes.com/2016/12/distinction-difference-between_23.html

    [11] 1998 AIR 1859 (SC)