Admissions: Admissibility and Evidentiary Value


This post is written by Himanshu Jangra

Section 17 of the Indian evidence Act, 1872 defines the term “Admission” in following words:

An admission is a statement, 1[oral or documentary or contained in electronic form, which suggests any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made by any of the persons, and under the circumstances, hereinafter mentioned.”

Hence it is a statement, oral or documentary made by a party to a proceeding or his representative, connected with the subject-matter of the suit or facts relevant thereto and made under the circumstances mentioned in the Act. The definition of admission given in Section 17 is incomplete as it does not mention the persons by whom it can be made, nor the circumstances under which it can be made. Such persons and circumstances are dealt with under Section 18-30.

A study of these sections provides some essential requisites of admission which are mentioned below:

  1. It is a statement, oral or documentary;
  2. The statement must suggest any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact;
  3. It must be made by any of the following persons:
    1. Party to the proceedings
    2. Agent authorised by such party
    3. Party’s representative i.e., party suing or sued in a representative character making an admission
    4. Person jointly interested in the subject-matter of the proceedings i.e., person who has any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject -matter of the proceedings.
    5. Person from whom the parties to the suit have derived their interest or title to the subject-matter of the suit.
    6. Person whose position or liability is necessary to prove against a party to a suit. This is a case of admission by strangers to the suit if they occupy such a position or are subject to such a liability
    7. Referee i.e., person to whom a party to the suit has expressly referred for information or opinion. This is also a case of admission by a stranger.
    8. Statements made by accused are also admissible as admission under section 18.
  4. Statements must be made under the following circumstances;
    1. Admission by representative of a party, if made while holding such representative character.
    2. Admission by a person jointly interested, if made during the continuance of such interest.
    3. Admission by a person, from whom the parties to the suit have derived interest or title, if made during the continuance of such interest.
    4. Admission by strangers to the suit; when their statements would be relevant in a suit brought by or against them.
    5. Admission by a referee in a reference to a matter in dispute

Why Admission is Superior Evidence

The Supreme Court in Mrintunjoy Sett v. Jadunath Basak,[1]held that an admission made in a court of law is a valid and relevant piece of evidence to be used in other legal proceedings. Since an admission n originates (either orally or in written form) from the person against whom it is sought to be produced, it is the best possible form of evidence.

Admission constitutes a substantial piece of evidence which can be relied upon for proving the veracity of the facts incorporated therein. Admission of a party in the proceedings either in pleading or oral is the best evidence and the same can be relied upon even without corroboration.[2]

Forms of Admission

Admissions are receivable which are contained in letters, previous pleadings, depositions, petitions, deeds account books, even if not regularly kept. Even statements in cancelled, invalid instruments or unstamped documents are receivable.[3] Statements made in instruments which are inadmissible for want of proper attestation or registration may be admitted as documents. Admissions may be implied from the acquiescence of a party. The General rule is that they are admissible against the party making them but not against other party. Exceptions to this rule are contained in Section 18-20.

Also Read:  Admission in Indian Evidence Act

Evidentiary Value of admission

Generally, an admission made by a person whether amounting to a confession or not, cannot be split up only part of it be used against him. An admission must be used as whole or not. But where a statement, which is sought to be given in evidence forms part of a larger statement, evidence shall be given of so much of the statement as is necessary to the full understanding of the nature and the effect of the statement. However, if there is other evidence in the case, the court in the light of the evidence may believe it in part and disbelieve the rest.

In K.S. Venkatesh v. N.G. Lakshminarayana[4] the court held that if an admission is in writing and if an opposite party wants to make use of that statement as an admission then the whole statement containing the admission must be taken together to ascertain what the party has conceded against himself. Unless the whole is received, the true meaning of the part which is evidence against him cannot be ascertained.

Admissions are not conclusive proof of-matters-admitted, but-they may operate as estoppel, i.e., the person cannot be permitted to deny it (Section 31). A party’s admission must be presumed to be true until the contrary is shown. Admissions founded on hearsay or consisting of merely of declarant’s opinion or belief are receivable in evidence but their weight is slight. As compared with a confession it is a weak type of proof. Evidence of oral admissions ought always to be received with great caution.

Such evidence is necessarily subject to much imperfection and mistake; for either the party himself may have been misinformed, or he may not have clearly expressed his meaning, or the witness may have mis-understood him or may purposely misquote the expression used. But where the admission is deliberately made and precisely identified the evidence it affords is often of the most satisfactory nature.

It is clear that the purpose of contradicting the witness under Section 145 of the Evidence Act is quite different from the purpose of proving the admission.

Under the Indian law, an admission made by a party in a plaint signed and verified by him may be used as evidence against him in other suits. However, this admission cannot be regarded as conclusive and it is open to the party to show that it is not true“. [5]

Admission is only a piece of evidence and can be explained. It does not conclusively bind a party unless it amounts to an estoppel. Value of an admission has to be determined by keeping in view the circumstances in which it was made and to whom.[6]

[1] (2011) 11 SCC 402

[2] Ahmedsaheb v. Sayed Ismail, AIR 2011 SC 2496

[3] Pakala Narayan Swami v. Emperor, AIR 1939 PC 47

[4] 2007 AIHC 3583 (3588)

[5] Rakesh Wadhawan v. Jagdamba Industrial Corporation, AIR 2003 SC 2004

[6] Ujali Padhani v. Rushi, (1972) 38 Cut LT


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