Section 17 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
The statement is the genus whereas admissions are the species and confessions are the sub-species. If admission is considered to be genus then confession will be the species.
Statement per-se will not be admitted even if it admits a particular fact. Admission is a subjective concept and in order to be an extra-judicial admission the statement will have to subscribe to the following conditions –
1) It should be seen in reference to suit or proceeding. Such suit or proceeding may have been pending at the time when the statement has made or it may have been instituted after the statement was made.
2) It is necessary that such a statement was made not in a judicial proceeding. In that case, it will be called judicial admission. In order to be an extra-judicial admission for the purpose of sec 17, it is essential that statements have been made out of any – court proceeding.
3) The statement should be such as suggest an inference about the fact in issue or relevant fact of said suit or proceedings.
4) It should be made by such person and in such circumstances, as it declared u/s18 to 20.
Section 17- Admission
In Evidence Act, the concept of ‘admission’ has been defined in Section 17, Sections 18-20 provides the person whose admissions are made relevant. Section 21 specifies the exceptions in which admission can be proved by or on behalf of the person making it. Section 22 states oral admission as to the contents of a document is irrelevant. Section 23 renders that no evidence of admission can be permitted in civil suits if it is made upon an understanding that it shall not be given in evidence. Section 31 states that admissions are not conclusive proof unless they operate as an estoppel.
Meaning (or definition) of admission:
‘Admission’ is a voluntary acknowledgement made by a party of the existence of certain facts which are inconsistent with his claim in an action.
“An admission is a statement, oral or written, suggesting an inference as to any fact in issue or relevance or deemed to be relevant to any such fact, made by or on behalf of any party to any proceeding.”
The word ‘admission’ has a technical meaning in law and it has been defined in Section 17 of the Evidence Act 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 (in Sections 18-20).”
If we take into consideration Sections 18, 19 and 20 along with Section 17, the term ‘admission’ can be defined comprehensively as under:
“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 is made by any of the persons, namely:–
Provisions or ingredients or nature of admissions:
1) Admissions are statements which suggest any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact. 2
2) They must be made by any of the persons prescribed by the Act.
3) They must also be made under the circumstances prescribed by the Act.
4) They may be in oral or documentary or electronic form and the documents may be letters, depositions, affidavits, plaints statements, deeds, receipts, horoscopes written statements.
5) Admissions should be clear-cut and accurate, with specific statements of that very person in his own words.
6) Admissions of fact only bind persons making them.
7) Admission must be taken as a whole.
8) Admission must be a conscious and deliberate act and not something which was not intended.
9) Admissions are the admitting of anything as true.
10) Admission is only a piece of evidence and can be explained. An admission may be relevant if not explained away.
11) Admission should not be made on a quest of law.
12) Admissions must be made on the basis of personal knowledge of the facts stated.
13) It is immaterial to whom the admission is made.
14) What a person is overheard saying to himself would even be evidence.
15) Admission is a voluntary acknowledgement made by a party.
16) Admissions are not vague statements but they should be ex facie unequivocal and categorical.
The classification of admissions is as follows.
Admissions can be broadly classified into two categories:
- Judicial admissions.
- Extra-judicial admissions.
Judicial admissions or formal admissions are made by a party during the proceedings of a case. Admission in a pleading in the Court is a judicial admission and it can be made the foundation of the rights of the parties. Judicial admissions are fully binding on the party that makes them. They constitute a waiver of proof.
Judicial or formal admissions are made deliberately with a view to dispensing with the other proof.
Judicial or formal admissions are allowed to be proved under Sect 58 of the Evidence Act.
Section 58 refers to the following formal or judicial admissions of the face and which facts need not be proved:
1) Admissions made in any judicial proceedings.
2) Admissions made by the parties in writing.
3) Admissions deemed by any rule of pleading in
Extra-judicial or informal admissions are admissions not appearing on the record of the case Extra-judicial or informal admission are usually made in the course of casual conversation in ignorance of the possibility of their being used in future litigation.
Extra-judicial or informal admissions are also binding on the parties against whom they are set. However, they are binding only partially, and not fully, except in cases where they operate as or have the effect of estoppel, in which case again they are fully binding and constitute the foundation of the rights of the parties.
The general principle of admission:
The general principle of admission is that admission by one party may be given evidence against the maker but cannot be used against any other party. There are two exceptions to this general rule of admission. They are:
i) When a party having a joint interest with others, make an admission relating to a subject matter, it can be used against others.
ii) An admission which can be used against the maker can also be used against the heir of the maker and against the persons who claim the interest of the maker relating to the subject matter of the admission.
In Phuljhari Devi v. Motilal,it has been held that the admission by the defendant cannot bind other co-defendants nor can it be evidence against them.
When a person sues in a personal capacity admissions made by him in a representative capacity may be proved against him but not vice versa.
Value or effect of admission:
The following are the basic features of admission as pieces of evidence:
i) An admission constitutes a substantive piece of evidence in the case and, for the reason can be relied upon for proving the truth of the facts incorporated therein.
ii) An admission has the effect of shifting the burden of proof to the contrary on the party against whom it is produced with the result that it casts an imperative duty on a such party to explain it. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, it is presumed to be true.
iii) An admission, in order to be competent and to have value and effect should be clear, certain and definite, and not ambiguous, vague or confused.
Circumstances or conditions for the admissibility of admission:
The following are the conditions for the admissibility of admission:
1) An admission should be a statement against the interest of a party.
2) Admission may be oral or in writing or contained in electronic form or by conduct.
3) Admission of which evidence is sought to be given must relate to the subject matter in issue.
4) Admission must be in the nature of self-harming form, that is, it must go against the interest of the maker.
5) Admission must be made by persons and in the circumstances mentioned in the Evidence Act [Sections 18-20].
6) The party against whom admission is tendered is retitled to have so much of the whole of the statement contained in admission as relates to the question in dispute put in evidence even if some parts may be favourable to himself.
7) The admission should be in clear, certain, definite terms and not ambiguous, vague or confused terms.