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What do you understand by Admission?
General Concept of Admission -
In general, Admission is a voluntary acknowledgment of a fact.
Importance is given to those admissions that goes
against the interests of the person making the admission. For example,
when A says to B that he stole money from C, A makes an admission of
the fact that A stole money from C.This fact is detrimental to the
interests of A. The concept behind this is that nobody would accept or
acknowledge a fact that goes against their interest unless it is indeed
true. Unless A indeed stole money from C, it is not normal for A to say
that he stole money from C. Therefore, an admission becomes an
important piece of evidence against a person. On the other hand,
anybody can make assertions in favor of themselves. They can be true or
false. For example, A can keep on saying that a certain house belongs
to himself, but that does not mean it is necessarily true. Therefore,
such assertions do not have much evidentiary value.
Admission as per Indian Evidence Act -
Section 17 of Indian Evidence
Act defines Admission as thus - An admission is a statement, oral
or documentary, or contained in electronic form, which suggests any
inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made
by any of the persons and under the circumstances hereinafter mentioned.
As per this definition, any statement, which suggests any inference
about any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made by persons
under certain circumstances, is an admission. These circumstances are
mentioned in Section 18 to 20 as follows -
Section 18 - Admission by party
to proceeding or his agent; by suitor in representative character; by
party interested in subject-matter; by person from whom interest
derived - Statements made by a party to the proceeding, or by an agent
to any such party, whom the Court regards, under the circumstances of
the case, as expressly or impliedly authorized by him to made them, are
By suitor in representative character - Statements made by parties to
suits suing or sued in a representative character, are not admissions,
unless they were made while the party making them held that character.
Statements made by -
(1) by party interested in subject matter; persons who have any
proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject-matter of the
proceeding and who make the statement in their character of persons so
(2) by person from whom interest derived; persons from whom the parties
to the suit have derived their interest in the subject-matter of the
suit, are admissions, if they are made during the continuance of the
interest of the persons making the statements.
According to this section, statements made a persons who are directly
or indirectly a party to a suit are admissions. Thus, statements of an
agent of a party to the suits are also admissions. Statements made by
persons who are suing or being sued in a representative character are
admissions, only if those statements were made by the party while being
in that representative character. Similarly, statements made by persons
who have a pecuniary interest in the subject matter of the proceeding
and statements made by persons from whom such interest is derived by
the parties in suit, are also admissions if they are made while the
maker had such an interest. For example, A bought a piece of land from
B. Statements made by B at the time when B was the owner of the land
are admissions against A.
Section 19 - Admissions by
persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit-
Statements made by persons whose position or liability it is necessary
to prove as against any party to the suit, are admissions, if such
statements would be relevant as against such persons in relation to
such position or liability in a suit brought by or against the made if
they are made whilst the person making them occupies such position or
is subject of such liability.
A undertakes to collect rent for B.
B sues A for not collecting rent due from C to B.
A denies that rent was due from C to B.
A statement by C that he owned B rent is an admission, and is a
relevant fact as against A, if A denies that C did owe rent to B.
Section 20 - Admission by
persons expressly referred to by party to suit - Statements made by
persons to whom a party to the suit has expressly referred for
information in reference to a matter in dispute are admissions.
The question is, whether a horse sold by A to B is sound A says to B
"Go and ask C. C knows all about it" C's statement is an admission.
To be considered an admission, it is not necessary for a statement to
give a direct acknowledgment of liability. It is sufficient even if the
statement suggests an inference about the liability. For example, A is
charged with murder of B by giving poison. The statement by A that he
purchased a bottle of poison is admission because it suggests the
inference that he might have murdered B using that poison, even though
it does not clearly acknowledge the fact that A murdered B. In the case
of Chekham Koteshwara Rao vs C Subbarao, AIR 1981, SC
held that before the right of a party can be taken to be defeated on
the basis of an alleged admission by him, the implication of the
statement must be clear and conclusive. There should not be any doubt
or ambiguity.Further, it held that it is necessary to read all of his
statements together. Thus, stray elements elicited in cross examination
cannot be taken as admission.
Q. Discuss the law regarding proof of admissions against
persons making them and by or on behalf of them. "Admission cannot be
proved by or on behalf of any person who makes it". Are there any
It is important to note that Indian Evidence Act does not require that
an admission be of statements that are against the interests of the
maker. All that is necessary is that the statement should suggest some
inference as to a fact in issue or relevant to the issue, even if the
inference is in the interest of the maker of the statement. Self
serving prior statements are also admissions. For example, A person can
say to B that he did not steal money from C. This is a self serving
statement and is a valid admission. Does this mean that a person can
make self serving statements and escape from his liability? The answer
is no because such self serving admissions are governed by the
provisions of Section 21, which says the following -
Section 21 - Proof of admissions against persons making them, and by or on their behalf -
Admissions are relevant and may be proved as against the person who
makes them, or his representative in interest; but they cannot be
proved by or on behalf of the person who makes them or by his
representative in interest, except in the following cases -
(1) An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making
it, when it is of such a nature that, if the person making
it were dead, it would be relevant as between third persons
under section 32.
(2) An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it,
when it consists of a statement of the existence of any state of
mind or body, relevant or in issue, made at or about
the time when such state of mind or body existed, and
is accompanied by conduct rendering its falsehood improbable.
(3) An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it,
if it is relevant otherwise than as an admission.
(a) The question between A and B is, whether a certain deed is or is
not forged. A affirms that it is genuine, B that it is forged. A
may prove a statement by B that the deed is genuine, and B may
prove a statement by A that deed is forged;
but A cannot prove a statement by himself that
the deed is genuine, nor can B prove a
statement by himself that the deed is forged.
(b) A, the captain of a ship, is tried for casting her away.
Evidence is given to show that the ship
was taken out of her proper course. A produces a book
kept by him in the ordinary course of his
business showing observations alleged to have been taken by
him from day to day, and indicating that the
ship was not taken out of her proper course. A
may prove these statements, because they would be
admissible between third parties, if he were dead, under
section 32, clause (2).
(c) A is accused of a crime committed by him at Calcutta. He
produces a letter written by himself and dated at
Lahore on that day, and bearing the Lahore post-mark of that day. The
statement in the date of the letter is admissible, because,
if A were dead, it would be admissible under section 32, clause (2).
(d) A is accused of receiving stolen goods
knowing them to be stolen. He offers to prove that he refused to sell
them below their value. A may prove these statements, though they
are admissions, because they are explanatory of conduct influenced by
facts in issue.
(e) A is accused of fraudulently having in his
possession counterfeit coin which he knew to be counterfeit. He
offers to prove that he asked a skillful person to examine the
coin as he doubted whether it was counterfeit or not, and
person did examine it and told him it was genuine. A may prove these
facts for the reasons stated in the last
From the above illustrations it is clear that the general rule is that
a person is not allowed to prove his own admissions. Otherwise, as
observed in R vs Hardy, 1794,
every man, if he were in difficulty, or in view of one, might make
declarations to suit his own case and then lodge them in proof of his
case. This principle, however, is subject to some important
exceptions, which allow a person to prove his own statements. These are
as follows -
Exception 1 - When the
statement should have been relevant as dying declaration or as that of
a deceased person under Section 32. Section 32 deals with the statement
of persons who have died or who otherwise cannot come before the court.
The statement of any such person can be proved in any case or
proceeding to which it is relevant whether it operates in favor of or
against the person making the statement. In circumstances stated in
Section 32 such a statement can be proved by the maker himself if he is
still alive. In the situation described in Illustration (b), in a case
between the shipowner and the insurance company, the contents of the
log book maintained by the captain would have been relevant evidence if
the captain were dead under Section 32. Therefore, the captain is
allowed to prove the contents of the log book even in the case
involving him and the shipowners.
Exception 2 - Statements
as to bodily feeling or mind - It enables a person to prove his
statements about his state of mind or body if such state of mind or
body is a fact in issue or is relevant fact and if the statement was
made at the time when such state of mind or body existed and further if
the statement is accompanied with his conduct that makes the falsehood
of the statements improbable. In Illustration (d), the statements of A
that show that he refused to sell them below their value, are self
serving admissions. However, it is acceptable because they reflect A's
state of mind and were associated with a conduct of refusing to sell
that makes their falsehood improbably.
Exception 3 - The last
exception allows a person to prove his own statement when it is
otherwise relevant under any of the provisions relating to relevancy.
There are many cases in which a statement is relevant not because it is
an admission but because it establishes the existence or non-existence
of a relevant fact or a fact in issue. In all such cases a party can
prove his own statements. These cases are covered by the following
Section 6 -
When a statement is made relevant by the doctrine of res gestae
i.e. due to part of the same transaction. For example, immediately
after a road accident, if the victim has made a statement to the
rescuer about the cause of the accident, he can prove that statement
because it is part of the same transaction.
Section 8 - A statement may be
proved by or on behalf of the person make it under Section 8 if it
accompanies or explains acts other than statements or if it influences
the conduct of a person whose conduct is relevant. For example, where A
says to B, "You have not paid my money back", and B walks away in
silence, A may prove his own statement because it has influenced the
conduct of a person whose conduct is relevant.
Section 14 - When the statement
explains his state of mid or body or bodily feeling when any such thing
is relevant or is in issue, it can be proved by himself. For example,
where the question is whether a person has been guilty of cruelty
towards his wife, he may prove his statements made shortly before or
after the alleged cruelty which explain his love and affection for and
his feeling towards his wife.