Q. What are the exceptions to the general rule that ’’Hearsay evidence is not admissible”? [MPCJ 2009]

Ans. As a general rule section 60 of the Evidence Act mandates that oral evidence in all cases must be of direct in nature. It also explains as to what is meant by direct evidence. That is, a witness who himself has perceived the facts by any of his five senses should only make the statement in court. Thus, evidence of opinion, belief etc which falls in the category of what is commonly called hearsay evidence is excluded. But, the strict enforcement of such idea of best evidence may at a times lead to grave failures of justice. Hence on the ground of the necessity and where there are special circumstances which guarantees trustworthiness of the testimony, the law permits acceptance of the hearsay evidence as an exceptions. Those exception are as follow-

  • The statement of experts in treatises- The first proviso to section 60 of the act itself permits the opinion of an expert stated in the treatises along with the ground if such treatises are offered commonly for sale and the expert is either dead or otherwise unavailable as a witness.
  • The principle of “res gestae” as embodied in Section 6 of the Evidence Act. The rationale is spontaneity and immediacy of such statement or fact, in relation to the “fact in issue”. So, it is necessary that such fact or statement must be part of the same transaction. In other words, such statement must have been made contemporaneous with the acts which constitute the offence or at least immediately thereafter. But if there was an interval, however slight it may be, which was sufficient enough for fabrication then the statement is not part of res gestae.
  • Admissions and confessions are exceptions to the “hearsay” rule. The rationale is, that they being declarations against the interest of the person making them, they are in all probability true.
  • The statements under section 32 of the act including dying declaration.

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