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Affidavit Order 19 Code Of Civil Procedure, 1908

The term "affidavit" is not defined in the Code, it generally means "a sworn statement in writing made especially under oath or on affirmation before an authorised officer or Magistrate." An affidavit is, to put it simply, a written declaration of facts that is sworn in front of a witness with the power to conduct oaths. Every affidavit must be written and should only include facts, not conclusions.

It has been properly attested or affirmed by the Notary or Oath Commissioner. The Court appoints these commissioners for notaries and oaths. The notary and oath commissioners have a responsibility to make sure the deponent's signature are not fake. As a result, the deponent must appear in person before the notary or oath commissioner to get the affidavit attested.

Essentials of Affidavit:

  • It must be a statement made by an individual.
  • It must be related to facts.
  • It must be in written form.
  • It must be written in the first person and sworn or confirmed in front of a magistrate or another authorised official.

Contents of Affidavit

  • An affidavit should only contain information that the deponent can personally attest to. However, the deponent is permitted to mention such facts in interlocutory applications that are founded on belief under Rule 3(1) of Order 19.
  • A sense of responsibility should be shown when filing affidavits on behalf of the state.
  • Conflicting affidavits submitted by the same officer are inappropriate; the government spokesperson exhibits complete neglect for the truth.

Verification of Affidavit

An affidavit has to be validated. The purpose of verification is to hold the deponent accountable for the allegations made and to determine whether the deponent's claims are true and authentic.

According to Section 3 of The Evidence Act, affidavits are considered "evidence." The Supreme Court, however, held that an affidavit can only be used as evidence if the Court so orders for adequate reasons (Khandesh Spg & Wvg Mills CO. Ltd. Vs Rashtriya Girni Kamgar Sangh). Therefore, without a particular court order, an affidavit cannot typically be used as evidence.

The Supreme court in case of Amar Singh v. Union of India and others, has given instructions to the courts registry to carefully review all affidavits, petitions, and applications and reject any that do not follow Order XI the Supreme Court Rules and Order XIX of the Code of Civil Procedure. In this ruling, the Supreme Court emphasised the significance of affidavits and analysed numerous judicial rulings on the subject.

In case of Virendra Kumar Saklecha v. Jagjiwan and others, the court ruled that failure to provide information will show that the election petitioner failed to identify the information's source at the earliest opportunity. The significance of revealing such a source is to notify the opposing party and to give them a chance to verify the accuracy and authenticity of the information source.

Filing of False Affidavit

A person intentionally swears false and irrelevant statements to be true, correct, and accurate in an affidavit and signs it with the intent to deceive the Court. This is known as a false affidavit. This significantly slows down the legal process and is a blatant abuse of it. Filing of false affidavit is an offence under Sections 191, 193, 195, and 199 of the Indian Penal Code.

The person who submits a fraudulent affidavit may face criminal contempt of court charges. If a person files false affidavit in a situation when a court has ordered a party to do so is punished under Section 2(c) of the 1971 Contempt of the Courts Act. It is punishable by a term of up to six months.

Section 200 of the Indian Penal Code allows a private complaint to be made before a magistrate.

It is clear that an affidavit is a very significant document. Even when authorised representatives sign it, only those who are fully informed of the circumstances of the case are expected to sign it and a person who is aware of the existence of such facts and circumstances makes a sworn statement of those facts in an affidavit.

References Books:
  • Takwani C.K., Civil Procedure Code, Edition 5. Reprint 2007, Eastern Book Publication, Lucknow.
  • Ratanlal and Dhirajlal The Indian Penal Code
  • BATUK LAL The Law of Evidence [Central Law Agency]

Web References:

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