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Admission Under Indian Evidence Act, 1872 And Reasons For The Admissibility Of Admission

The word/expression Admission means voluntarily acknowledgement of the of the existence or truth of a particular fact. But under Evidence Act admission is defined in a narrower sense. It deals with admission by statement only by oral or written or contained in an electronic form.

Section 17- 23 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 deals with Admission. According to section 17 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872, An admission is a statement oral or documentary or contained in electronic form which suggests an inference to any fact in issue or relevant fact, which is made by any of the persons and under the circumstances, herein after mentioned.
Admission plays a pivotal role in judicial proceedings because if one party to a suit or any other proceedings proves that the other party has admitted his case, the wok of the court becomes easier.

The definition of admission is divided into three parts:
  1. It may be oral or documentary.
  2. Admission will be relevant only if it is made by any person specified in the Act. (this list is to be found in Section18)
  3. Admission is relevant only in the circumstances mentioned in the Act. (Such circumstances are mentioned in section 18-30).

Definition as per the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
According to the definition given under section 17 of Indian Evidence Act,1872, admission is a statement which suggests some inference as to the existence of a fact in issue or fact relevant to the issue. If, for example a person is sued for the recovery of a loan and there is an entry in his account books recording the fact of the loan, that is an admission on part of his liability or if he makes any statement to the effect of that he does owe the money that will also an admission being direct acknowledgement of liability. It will dispense with the necessity of any further proof of the fact of the loan.

Admission is of three kinds:
  1. Formal or Judicial admission.
  2. Informal and Casual admission.
  3. Admission by conduct.

Formal or Judicial admissions are those admissions that are made by a party during the proceedings of the case. For example- Statement given by a party to a case in front of the Magistrate during the proceedings falls under the category of Formal or Judicial admission

Admission those are informal in nature and do not appear on the records of the case are referred as Informal or casual admission. For example- An accused of murder, sustained injuries and during his treatment he told the reason of injury to the doctor. The said explanation was regarded as an admission.

Admission those are made by the conduct of a person are said to be admission by conduct. For example- If a person during the informal interrogation by the police ran away from that place, this conduct of that person is said to be admission by conduct.

In case of Ajodhya Prasad ?. Bhawani Shanker[1] the honorable court held that:
Unlike Judicial admission which are binding upon the parties, Extra Judicial admissions are only partly binding. The exception to this principle is found in cases where they operate as or have the effect of estoppel.

It is not, however necessary that to be an admission a statement should go as far as that. It will be sufficient if the statement admits a fact which suggests an inference as to his liability.
Illustration- A is charged with causing death of B by poisoning and he admits to have purchased poison. This statement suggests that A is guilty of the murder unless he can prove that he needed the poison for some innocent purpose.

The inference must be clear and unambiguous. The Supreme Court in case of Chikham Koteswara Rao v. C. Subbarao[2] has given some guidance in respect of the clarity and unambiguity of the inference.

These are the guidelines that were given by the court:
  1. Before the right of the party can be taken to be defeated on the basis of an alleged admission by him, the implication of the statement made by him must be clear and conclusive.
  2. There should not be any doubt or ambiguity.
  3. It would be necessary to read all of his statement together.

The Madras High Court has stated in a case that admissions at best only suggests inferences. The Court must examine the statement inside out and before holding a party to his statement must see that statement is unequivocal and comprehensive. It must go the whole hog, as it were, on the point at issue.

For Example- The mere admission by a person that he put his thumb impression or signature upon a piece of paper without knowing its nature and contents is not admissible by him that he executed the documents.

Reasons for the admissibility of Admission
An admission is a relevant evidence. Several reasons have been suggested for receiving admission in evidence. In Phipson on the Law of Evidence, four such reasons have been suggested and critically examined.
  1. Admission as a waiver of proof:
    The first is that if a party has admitted a fact, it dispenses with the necessity of proving that fact against him. It operates as waiver of proof. To a certain extent this principle has been expressly adopted by section 58 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872.

    The section says that:
    No fact need to be proved in any proceeding which the parties thereto or their agents agree to admit at the hearing, or which before the hearing, they agree to admit by any writing under their hands, or which by any rule of pleading in force at the time they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings.

    This section confines this effect only to formal admission made at the time of the trail or as part of pleading or in reference to the litigation. This section specifically applies only to those admission that were made voluntarily with a view to the trail and not to those used as evidence, for the latter usually consist of casual statements made before litigation was contemplated, which are not conclusive in nature.

    Section 58 also provides a proviso in its principle that the court may, in its discretion require the fact admitted before the court by the party or agent to be proved, it is on the discretion of the court that whether the court requires the party to prove his admission or not. Thus, the court may reject an admission either wholly or in part or may require further proof. Hence, Waiver of proof cannot be said to be an exclusive reason for the relevancy of an admission.
  2. Admission as statement against interest:
    The second suggested reason of relevancy of admission is that an admission being a statement against the interest of the maker, should be supposed to be true, as it is highly doubtful/dubious that a person will voluntarily make any false statement against his own interest. But this is not the only reason for the relevancy of admissions. As section 17 does not require that the statement must be self-harming, it only requires that the statement should suggest some inference as to the fact-in-issue or the relevant fact it dose not matter even if the statement is in favor of the declarant. As self-harming statement has more relevancy over self-serving as no person wants his own wrong.

    However, the exception to prove the self-serving statement is given under section 21 of IEA, 1872. But sometimes, a personís own self-serving statement becomes adverse to his own interest and may be proved against him as an admission. In the words of the Supreme Court, an assertion in oneís own interest may not be an evidence, but a statement adverse to oneís interest would be evidence Indeed.
  3. Admission as evidence of contradictory statements:
    Another reason that partly accounts for the relevancy of admission is that there is a contradiction between the partyís statement and his case. This kind of contradiction disgrace his case.

    Example:
    A sues B for the wrongful possession of a land but the land paper shows that C father of A has given B the right to reside at that land. This statement in the land paper is an admission on his part as it contradicts his case against B. But this is only partly true, for the principle is the party can prove all his opponent statement about the facts of the case and it is not necessary that they should be inconsistent with his case.
  4. Admission as evidence of truth:
    The last and most important and widely accepted reason that accounts the relevancy of admission is that whatever statement a party makes about the fact of the case, whether they be for or against of his interest, should be relevant as representation or reflecting the truth as against him.

    In Slatlerie V. Pcoley[3] Parke B observed:
    Whatever a party says in evidence against himself, what a party admits to be true may be presumed to be so.
End-Notes:
  1. A.I.R. 1957 All. 1 F.B.
  2. A.I.R. 1981 S.C. 1542
  3. (1840) 6 M & W. 664: 10 L.J. Ex. 8 :151 e.r. 579 Ahmedshaeb v. Sayed Ismail, A.I.R. 2012 S.C. 3320: (2012) 8 S.C.C. 516

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