Friday 15 December 2023

Scope of applicability of the Indian Evidence Act to the Family Courts.

 14 of Family courts Act:-  Application of Indian Evidence Act, 1872.—A Family Court may receive as evidence any report, statement, documents, information or matter that may, in its opinion, assist it to deal effectually with a dispute, whether or not the same would be otherwise relevant or admissible under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872).

The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (IEA) is the primary legislation governing the admissibility of evidence in Indian courts. However, in the case of Family Courts, established under the Family Courts Act, 1984 (FCA), the applicability of the IEA is nuanced and varies slightly.

Provisions of the Family Courts Act:

  • Section 14: This section states that a Family Court may receive as evidence any report, statement, document, information, or matter that in its opinion assists in resolving the dispute effectively. This provision allows Family Courts more flexibility compared to regular courts bound by the strict rules of the IEA.

Impact on Evidence Admissibility:

  • Family Courts are not bound by the technical rules of the IEA regarding evidence admissibility. They can consider a broader range of materials, including hearsay, opinion evidence, and informal reports, as long as they deem them helpful in resolving the dispute.

  • This flexibility allows Family Courts to gather a more holistic understanding of family conflicts and consider social, emotional, and welfare aspects alongside legal arguments.

  • However, the Family Court must exercise discretion and judgment while admitting evidence. Just because something is not prohibited by the IEA does not mean it is automatically admissible.

  • The Family Court must still consider the relevance, reliability, and probative value of any evidence before admitting it.

  • The court's reasoning for admitting evidence should be clearly documented in the judgment.

Overall, the Family Courts Act provides a framework for Family Courts to adopt a more flexible approach to evidence admissibility. This allows them to consider all relevant information and reach fair and just decisions in family matters. However, this flexibility is coupled with responsibility, requiring the court to carefully evaluate the evidence and ensure a fair and just outcome.

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