Relationship of Section 48 with sections 13 and 32 of IEA, 1872 – EXPLAINED.

Home Forums Rights and Customs under Indian Evidence Act Relationship of Section 48 with sections 13 and 32 of IEA, 1872 – EXPLAINED.

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      Manimozhi Balakrishnan

      Ques: State the relationship of Section 48 with sections 13 and 32 of IEA, 1872.

      According to Section 48 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872, when a court is been provided with the opinion as to the existence of a right or custom, such opinion by a person who has knowledge about the same are relevant in deciding the case brought before it. Firstly, it is to be understood that courts (here meant to be judges) are not expected to be an expert in every arena that is needed to decide a case that’s been brought before them. So, in case of the absence of knowledge, courts can ask for opinions by a person with expected knowledge about the issue in question. When the power has been granted now, the question would be about the validity of such opinions. So, the section thereby clarifies that the opinions provided are relevant in courts. But the section does not acclaim that opinions brought under the section are per se relevant. Then there comes the aid of surrounding sections.

      As per Section 13 of the Indian Evidence Act the following facts, that are derived out of opinions are relevant when a right or custom is in question. They are, when facts assert any transaction or also in cases when facts assert particular instances through which the right or custom in question was (i) created, claimed, modified, recognized, asserted or (ii) denied or (iii) found to be inconsistent with its existence or (iv) departed from. In an ordinary trial, the person who gave opinion ought to present himself before the court on anytime he sought to, in the process of deciding the relevancy. Hence there arises a question what if the person who has made such opinion subsequently dies or disappears or any other situation that makes him impossible to participate in order to determine the relevancy factor.
      The question is answered in section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act. The section reads as follows, where the opinion was made either written or oral, and the person dies before deciding the relevancy, courts can consider the opinion relevant where the statement was as to the existence of public right or custom or matter of public or general interest.
      Hence one can find the relationship that flows between Sections 48, 13, and 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which in general falls under the head of relevancy of customs, rights out of general practices, and anything of that sort.

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