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Academic Commentary
ADMISIBILITY OF EXPERT EVIDENCE IN THE COURT OF LAW

ADMISIBILITY OF EXPERT EVIDENCE IN THE COURT OF LAW

Written By – Rajat Shandilya

The provisions related to the admissibility of expert evidence in court are dealt under section 45 to 51 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872.

In order to understand the admissibility of expert evidence in court we first need to understand who actually an expert is?  The same question was answered in the case of Bal Krishna Das Agarwal vs. Smt. Radha Devi and Ors.[1]  In this case the court held that an expert is a person who has training and experience in a particular specialized skill or area.

SUBJECTS ON WHICH EXPERT OPINION CAN BE TAKEN:

  1. Art
  2.  Science
  3. Foreign Law
  4. Handwriting
  5. Finger Impression

 It should be understood that when the court has to ascertain anything test to determine anything then all such matters would be dealt through the help of an expert opinion.

 It is a well acknowledged fact that an expert opinion or advice of the expert would hold a different value as compared to a normal witnesses in the court of law as experts have specialised knowledge in a particular area and have much more experience than a normal witness as the same was held in the case of Ramesh Chandra Agarwal vs Regency Hospital Ltd.[2]

 Section 45A of the Act talks about the admissibility of electronic evidences in the court under section see that increased examination of the electronic evidence the opinion of the expert in under section 79a of the information technology act is relevant. Next important aspect is dealt under section 47 of the act which talks about the relevancy of expert opinion in the handwriting in the court of law, however it should be kept in mind that handwriting evidence is weak evidence and the same was held in the case of Karthikeya vs. Kamalamma[3]. The court further said that the handwriting should be examined with great care and caution and every possible precaution should be taken during its examination. Now when it comes to the examination of the handwriting of an individual then there are basically various different modes for the same. Furthermore section 45 also deals with the opinion of the ballistic expert and these are the persons who are expert in the study and knowledge of weapons. Their opinion is taken in the cases where there are been an active involvement of the weapons and also the details about them are taken from the same expert. Apart from ballistic experts the opinion of the expert over fingerprints also form in important integral part of the evidence because of the unique nature of fingerprint. It is also interesting to see that the evidence of sniffer dogs is also relevant under section 45 of the act and the same was held in the case of Abdul Razak vs. State of Maharashtra.[4]

 Moving further Section 47 of the act talks about the relevancy of digital signatures in such a case where the honourable has to a court has to form an opinion over the signatures of an individual which had done digitally then the certifying authority of such signatures would be contacted in order to ascertain the authenticity of the signature.

 Section 48 deals with the aspect of general customer and general rights. Under the Ambit of the section comes the opinion of the people who are well acquainted with the same. Gururadhwaja vs.  SP Singh (1900) is an important case law of the Privy Council under the ambit of this Section in which the Privy Council held that the opinion of the witness as to the existence of family custom based upon information derived from disease person is relevant.

Section 50 of the Evidence Act 1872 deals with the position where the court has to form an opinion over the question of relationship between two people then in such case the opinion of the family member or any other person who is familiar regarding the same becomes relevant provided that the person declaring the fact  must have the special knowledge regarding the same.

An important authority under this section is the case law of Dhannulal vs. Ganeshram[5]in which the court held that the burden of proof lies on the party who denies his/her relation with the opposite party.

The last Section which deals with the concept of expert evidence is section 51 which talks about the relevancy of grounds of opinion. In general terms, this section says that the grounds on which an opinion is also become relevant under the purview of this section.

EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF EXPERT OPINION EXPERT:

 evidence easel of Indian Evidence and it can’t take the place of substantive evidence it is a rule of procedure that expert evidence must be corroborated either by clear direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence it is not safe to rely upon this type of evidence without seeking reliable corroboration, the same was held in the case of   S. Gopal Reddy vs. State of A.P.[6]

CONCLUSION:

This short article dealt with the provisions related to the Admissibility of Expert evidence in the court of law. Based on the research it can be evidently concluded that expert evidence is evidence which is weak in nature and it requires further corroboration based on the instant circumstances and relevant facts of the matter.


[1] AIR 1989 All. 133.

[2] Civil Appeal No. 5991 of 2002.

[3] AIR 1994 AP 102.

[4] 1987 (3) BomCR 467.

[5] Civil Appeal No. 3411 of  2007.

[6] (AIR 1996 SC 2184 Para 27.

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