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Presumption Of Facts v/s Presumption Of Law: An Analysis

The Indian Evidence Act, of 1872 is a piece of legislation that codifies, defines, and updates Indian evidence law. All legal actions that are brought before any court inside the boundaries of India are covered by this Act. It also applies to court martial (but not to any actions taken by the Air Force Act, the Indian Navy Discipline Act, or the Army Act). However, it does not apply to any arbitration-related proceedings or affidavits submitted to a court.

Meaning Of Presumption

In general, the term "presumption" refers to the process of determining a few facts based on a possibility or as the result of actions that reinforce a possibility. When a possibility has a strong basis in reality, facts may usually be determined. In terms of the law, presumptions refer to conclusions reached by the court regarding the presence of particular facts. By applying a technique of "best probable reasoning" to the conditions, conclusions can be reached that are either positive or negative.

The fundamental presumption rule states that when one fact from the case or set of circumstances is regarded as the principal fact and if it is establishing the other facts that are connected to it, the facts might be deemed to be established until disputed. The concept that "the court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have occurred, having regard to the usual course of:
  1. unforeseen occurrences,
  2. actions of people, and
  3. private as well as public business, in their relation to the facts of the particular case" is addressed in detail in Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act[i].

Types Of Presumption

  1. Presumption of Facts
  2. Presumption of Law
  3. Mixed Presumption

Presumption Of Facts

Predictions that are effortlessly and logically drawn from observations and situations in the normal course of human interaction are known as presumptions of fact. Natural presumptions are essentially instances of circumstantial evidence because it is thought to be very beneficial to act in the course of reasoning where many inferences can be readily drawn from other evidence. Otherwise, it will keep a lot of ambiguity in the legal framework because it will be much more challenging to prove every fact to apprehend offenders or members of society who violate the law. Natural presumptions may typically be refuted.
  • Section 86[ii]- Presumption about authenticated copies of abroad-issued judicial documents
  • Section 87[iii]: Presumption about publications, maps, and charts
  • Section 88[iv]: Assumption about Telegraphic records
  • Section 88A[v]: Assumption about electronic messaging
  • Section 89[vi]-: Presumption as to due execution
  • Section 90[vii]: Documents older than 30 years are presumed to be authentic.
  • Section 113A[viii]: Assumption that a married lady assisted in her suicide.
  • Section 113B[ix] - Presumption as to a married woman's aiding suicide concerning dowry death.

Several Situations Where A Court May Rely On The Presumption Of Fact To Determine Specific Facts Include:

  1. Foreign Judicial Records: According to Section 86[x], the summoned document must be compliant with local or domestic laws and the court has the discretionary ability to presume the correctness and authenticity of certified copies of judicial records from various foreign countries. Because of its important importance, the assumption described in this Section should be followed. Additionally, it has been found that foreign decisions lose their value as evidence in court if the judge does not believe that they are compatible with local laws.
  2. Abetment of a Married Woman's Suicide: The presumptions of aiding the suicide of a married woman by her husband or any of his relatives are covered under Section 113A[xi]. The court has outlined a few requirements to determine whether a married woman's suicide is inconsistent with the requirements stated in the provision. If it is, the court will presume that the husband or a member of his family encouraged the suicide. The fundamental elements of this clause are:
    1. Seven years had passed from the date of her marriage when the suicide occurred; and
    2. She has been treated cruelly by Section 498A of the IPC[xii] by her husband or a relative.

In Chhagan Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, the accused severely beat the victim at a location, and to justify such criminal conduct, the accused claimed that the victim had been stealing rice when the incident occurred. However, the victim committed suicide just a few days after the occurrence. As there was no evidence of cruelty, and as Section 113A's[xiii] requirements are not met by the facts of this case, the court in this case found that the accused was not guilty of the offense listed under Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act[xiv]. As a result, Section 113A's[xv] legal presumptions are not applicable in this case of murder. Because there are other factors involved in the person's death, it is not possible to apply the legal principles of 113A[xvi] blindly and one must understand how they are related. Only if her husband or any of his relatives had treated the lady cruelly in any way may she benefit from the presumption of Section 113A[xvii].

Presumption Of Law

Presumption of law refers to the arbitrary consequences that the law attaches to certain events. Although they might not be the same as the conclusions that we would often make, the law allows for the drawing of such inferences.

Classification Of Presumption Of Law

  1. Irrebuttable Presumption Of Law

    A youngster under the age of seven is, for instance, presumed by law to be incapable of committing a crime. Depending on the law, these presumptions could or might not be rebuttable. The child's age is assumed to be irrefutable evidence of his innocence under the law.
  2. Rebuttable Presumption Of Law

    Rebuttable presumptions are particular presumptions that are recognized as evidence of high quality and retain their value until the presumption is demonstrated to be false. Although it is difficult to gauge the scope of such assumptions because their validity only lasts until they are shown to be false.

    Alternatively, a person who has not been heard from in seven years has passed away. However, the assumption that someone is dead after they go unheard of for seven years may be disproven using facts. Some sections relating to a rebuttable presumption of law are mentioned below:
    1. Under Section 113A[xviii] of the Indian Evidence Act, there is a presumption that a married lady who committed suicide within seven years of her marriage did so with assistance.
    2. Under Section 113B[xix] of the Indian Evidence Act, there is a presumption that the dowry will die within seven years of the marriage.
    3. Under Section 112[xx] of the Indian Evidence Act, a child born during a marriage is the ultimate evidence of legitimacy.
    In State of M.P. v. Sk. Lallu[xxi], a newlywed bride who had endured severe beatings from her in-laws daily from the first day of her marriage till her death with complete burn damage. The presumption outlined in Section 113A[xxii] was used by the Court, which further clarified that it might be utilized to penalize the accused.
  3. Mixed Presumption

    Presumptions of fact and presumptions of law are both included in mixed presumptions. The mixed presumption is only present in real property-related legislation in the English legal system. These presumptions are, however, clearly mentioned in the Indian legal system, and the Indian Evidence Act is the law that governs them. When the court uses its discretion to raise presumptions using the principles of conclusive proof, may presume, and shall presume, mixed presumptions are subject to distinct rules.
Thus, it is clear that the Indian Legal System makes use of presumptions to provide judicial judgments more effectively. These presumptions are divided into three categories: mixed presumptions, and presumptions of law. The Court also has the discretionary authority to determine whether a presumption is based on law, fact, or error. The Principles of Conclusive Proof May Presume and Shall Presume are used by the courts to decide this.

  1. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 114
  2. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 86
  3. Indian Evidence Act, s 87
  4. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 88
  5. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 88A
  6. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 89
  7. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 90
  8. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  9. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113B
  10. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 86
  11. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  12. Indian Penal Code 1860, s 498A
  13. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  14. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  15. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  16. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  17. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  18. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  19. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
  20. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113B
  21. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 1132
  22. 1990 Cri. L.J. 129
  23. Indian Evidence Act 1872, s 113A
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