An affidavit is a statement or declaration in writing made on oath or solemnaffirmation setting out certain facts and sworn or affirmed before a personhaving the authority to administer oath or affirmation. Affidavits are requiredfor filing in judicial proceedings before courts or in proceedings before otherauthorities. Usually the rules of courts or the rules governing the proceedingsbefore the authorities prescribe the form and contents of affidavits.

The ordinary rule is that the decision of a court on facts must be based on evidence recorded viva voce in court. Order XIX of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with affidavits in Civil Courts. Rule 1 of this order empowers the court to order that any particular fact or facts may be proved by affidavit. Rule 3 sets out the matters to which affidavits shall be confined. It reads:

Affidavits shall be confined to such facts as the deponent is able of his knowledge to prove, except on interlocutory applications, on which statements of his belief may be admitted: provided that the grounds thereof are stated.

The Allahabad High Court has added Rules 4 to 15 to Order XIX which prescribe in detail the form, the contents and the mode of execution of affidavits.

Though Order XIX of the Code of Civil Procedure is applicable to proceedings before the Supreme Court, Order XI of the Supreme Court Rules,1966 deals with affidavits in Supreme Court.


Section 139 of the Code prescribes the authorities who may administer oaths to the deponent of an affidavit. It provides:
In the case of any affidavit under this Code-

(a) any Court or Magistrate; or
(aa) any notary appointed under the Notaries Act, 1952 (53 of 1952); or
(b) any officer or other person whom a High Court may appoint in this behalf, or
(c) any officer appointed by any other Court which the State Government has generally or specially empowered in this behalf.
may administer the oath to the deponent.

Section 3(2) of the Oaths Act, 1969 provides:
Without prejudice to the powers conferred by sub-section (1) or by or
under any other law for the time being in force, any Court, Judge,Magistrate or person may administer oaths and affirmations for the purposeof affidavits, if empowered in this behalf-
(a) by the High Court, in respect of affidavits for the purpose ofjudicial proceedings; or
(b) by the State Government in respect of other affidavits.

Oath Commissioners for swearing and affirmation of affidavits have beenappointed for all courts from the amongst advocates and members of the staff ofthe court.

3. Contents of affidavits

Affidavits usually consist of four parts, viz.,
(i) Heading contains a description of the court or authority before whichand a description of the case or proceedings in which the affidavit isto be filed.

(ii) Averments contain the statement of facts made on oath or affirmationset out in serially numbered paragraphs.
Those who are responsible for drawing affidavits should be circumspect andshould not make statements when there is no basis, in fact, for making them.Whenever a person makes a statement in court on oath or affirmation, whetheroral or in an affidavit, he is bound to state the truth and if he does not, he makeshimself liable to prosecution under Section 193 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

(iii) Verification contains a statement verifying that the contents of certainparagraphs (enumerated) are true to the personal knowledge of thedeponents and that the contents of other paragraphs (enumerated) aretrue to information received by the deponent from (source) andbelieved to be true.

(iv) Swearing or affirmation contains an endorsement by the court, notarypublic or Oath Commissioner to the effect that the deponent has dulysworn or affirmed the contents of the affidavit. Usually an affidavit is executed by a single person but it is permissible for twoor more persons to jointly execute an affidavit.

4. Stamp Duty

Affidavits are chargeable with stamp duty under Article 4, Schedule 1,Stamp Act, 1899. But no stamp duty is charged on affidavits filed or used in courts. Such affidavits are liable to payment of court-fee prescribed for the various courts.


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