What do you understand by Relevancy of facts under the Indian Evidence Act 1872? What is distinction between Relevancy and Admissibility of Facts?


Meaning of Relevancy

Relevancy has been said by the Act to mean the connection of events as cause and effect.

‘Legal’ relevancy is based for the most part on logical relevancy, but it is not correct to say that all that is logically relevant is necessarily legally relevant but every fact which is legally relevant is logically relevant.

A fact is said to be ‘logically’ relevant to another, when it bears such a casual relation with the other as to render probable the existence or non-existence of the latter.

A fact is said to be legally relevant to another only when the one is connected with the other in any of the ways referred to in Sections 6 to 55 of the Indian Evidence Act.

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Admissibility how decided

The question of admissibility is ‘a question of law’ to be decided by the judge. The question of admissibility should be decided when raised and should not be reversed until the date of the judgment in the case. Where a court is in doubt as to the admissibility of a particular piece of evidence, it should declare in favour of admissibility (R. v. Ram Chandra, 19 Bom. 749). The moment a witness commences giving evidence which is inadmissible, he should be stopped immediately by the court.

A party objecting to a question of admissibility must does as soon as it is stated and before the answer is given. When an irrelevant document is tendered an objection should be made at that time. If it is not taken in time, it is considered to be waived; where no objection is taken in the court of first instance to the reception of a document in evidence, it is not within the province of the Appellate court to raise or recognize it in appeal [Ghimanji GovindGodbole v. DinkarDhondevGodbole, (1886) 11 Bom 320].

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Relevancy and Admissibility not extensive

According to Woodroffe and Amir Ali, relevancy and admissibility are not co-extensive and interchangeable terms. Public policy, considerations of frames, the particular necessity for reaching speedy decisions and certain other similar reasons cause constantly the necessary rejection of such evidence seemingly relevant. All admissible evidence is relevant, but all relevant evidence is not admissible. The question of relevancy strictly so-called presents, as  a rule, little difficulty. Any educated person, whether lay or professional, can say whether a circumstance has probative force, which is the meaning of relevancy. This is an affair of logic and not of law.

It is otherwise with the question of admissibility which must be determined according to the rules of law. A fact may be relevant but it may be excluded on the grounds of public policy as already noted. A communication to a legal adviser may be in highest degree relevant, but other consideration excludes its reception as a ‘privileged’ communication and is not admissible.

The rules of relevancy declare certain facts relevant, rule of admissibility lay down as to whether a certain form of evidence about relevant fact may be allowed or excluded. What is the material fact which may be produced before a court in a case is a first question. Relevancy means what facts may be proved before a court.

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The admissibility is the means and the methods of proving the relevant facts.

Thus ‘relevant’ has been meant to be what which is logically probative. Admissibility whereas, is founded on law and not on logic. Section 5 of the Indian Evidence Act says:

“Evidence may be given in any suit or proceeding of the existence or non-existence of:

(i) every fact-in-issue, and

(ii) such other facts are hereinafter declared to be relevant and of no other (Section 6 to 55).

Hence relevancy is a wider term than admissibility and it is not necessary that all relevant facts may also be admissible, therefore the two are not co-extensive.

MCQ on Indian Evidence Act 1872

Distinction between Relevancy and Admissibility

Serial No.RelevancyAdmissibility
1.Relevancy means what is probative or which makes the existence or non-existence of fact-in-issue or relevant fact highly probable or highly improbable.The rule of Admissibility means what is to be admitted by the court or what is accepted by the court for consideration in particular case.
2.Relevancy is dealt with from sections 6 to 55 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872.Admissibility is dealt with from sections 56 to 100 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
3.All relevant fact need not be admissible.All admissible fact are relevant occurring to Evidence Act.
4.Relevant fact means what is logical probative.Admissibility is not based on logic but on law and strict rules.
5.The rule of relevancy declares certain fact to be relevant.The rule of admissibility lays down as to whether a certain form of evidence may be allowed or excluded.
6.The sphere of relevancy is until and bigger.The sphere of admissibility is narrower and restricted by provisions of Evidence Act, 1872.

Question:- “Relevancy and Admissibility are not co-extensiveterms.” Comment on this statement.

Question:- Whatever relevant is not necessarily admissible but all whatever admissible is relevant. ‘Explain.’

The answers of these questions are same.

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