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Effects of Improper Admission or Rejection of Evidence under the Indian Evidence Act

(a) In the case of improper admission —

There is sufficient evidence to justify the decision independently of the evidence objected to and admitted; or

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(b) In the case of improper rejection —

The decision could not be varied if the rejected evidence had been received.

The object of section 167 is- that the Court of Appeal or Revision should not disturb a decision on the ground of improper admission or rejection of evidence, if in spite of such evidence, there is sufficient material in the case to justify the decision. In other words, technical objections will not be allowed to prevail where substantial justice has been done.

The provisions of this section are applicable to all judicial proceedings in or before any Court. Thus, the section applies to civil as well as criminal cases. Although the word decision (appearing in S. 167) is generally used as applicable to civil cases, it is an expression which would apply with equal force to a criminal proceeding as well.

In Narain v. State of Punjab, (A.I.R. 1959 S.C. 484), a person was attacked and injured and was being carried away, when his brother came on the scene to rescue the victim after shooting one of the assailants in self-defence. The other assailants were tried for various offences. The brother (who shot one of the assailants) was cited as a prosecution witness, but he claimed protection under Article 20 of the Constitution, and was, therefore, not examined.

When the matter came in appeal before the Supreme Court, it was held that the prosecution could not rely on section 167 of the Evidence Act, because the question under that section is not so much whether the evidence rejected would not have been accepted against the other testimony on record, as whether evidence ought not to have varied the decision.

Objection in Appeal to Documents Admitted by Consent:

Where evidence is admitted by the trial Court with the consent of the parties (or without any objection to its reception) and the evidence is admissible and relevant, no objection will be allowed to be taken to its reception at any stage of the litigation on the ground of improper proof.

But if the evidence is irrelevant or inadmissible, as for instance, owing to want of registration, consent or omission to take objection to its reception, the objection may be raised even in appeal for the first time. The question of relevancy is a question of law, and therefore, such a question can be raised at any stage. The question of proof is, however, a question of procedure, and is capable of being waived. (Pandappa v. Shivlingappa, 47 Bom. L.R. 962)

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