How Is Evidence Used In A Criminal Trial?


According to Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 evidence refers to and includes oral and documentary evidence. Here, oral evidence refers to all the statements that the court allows the witness to make before it, and such evidence should relate to the facts of the case under investigation. Whereas, photographic or textual documentation applies to any electronic documents sent to the trial. This definition is perceived to be a limited concept because it does not involve specific items, such as weapons; identifying procedures; outcomes of police investigations; court rulings; etc.

The Usage of Evidence

1. Direct Evidence

Direct evidence is considered to be essential evidence for the decision on the matter in question. It directly proves or refutes the fact. In such evidence, a clear reality is clearly identified without providing a justification to relate to that truth. It is hardly necessary to point out that the illustration provided as the testimony of the witness before the court is direct evidence, as opposed to the testimony of a fact suggesting guilt.

Such proof is actual, observable, or direct proof of a reality that needs little thinking or analysis to show its presence. However, depending solely on the facts without any argument to justify its presence may often be viewed as a downside.

2. Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial or indirect evidence refers to evidence that proves the facts in question by providing other facts, that is, indirect facts and then proving their relevance. A satisfactory conclusion can be drawn from such evidence by referring a number of other facts to the facts at issue. This secondary evidence may have been related to the evidence at the question and must have a cause and effect connection.

Under the Indian Evidence Act, “circumstantial evidence” is covered by the term “relevant facts.” Here, “relevant facts” must be identified by way of direct testimony, whether oral or written proof.

Hanumant v. State of Madhya Pradesh[1]

In this case, the first appellant held the position of an excise officer, while the second appellant held the role of the chemical engineer. They were both convicted and sentenced for an offense of criminal conspiracy, abhorrence, and forgery. There was no direct evidence to support them, and therefore circumstantial evidence was used.

It has been stated that while dealing with circumstantial evidence, there is always a possibility that suspicion could take the place of legal evidence. For situations where the testimony is of a circumstantial sort, such facts will be clearly documented to be compatible with the guilt hypothesis of the accused. Thus, the Supreme Court of India absolved the appellants as the proof provided was inadequate to show the guilt of the accused beyond any reasonable doubt.

3. Digital Evidence

Originally, the digital or electronic type of evidence was not identified or covered by the definition of evidence. However, the definition of evidence has been amended by the Information Technology Act, 2000 to include ‘electronic records’ in the same context. The electronic record shall contain the produced document, the created data, the recorded image, the recorded sound, or any information obtained or sent in electronic form.

Such evidence shall be collected by a reasonable and least objectionable means. The manner of selection depends on a number of variables, such as:

  1. Configuration of the system,
  2. Type of investigation,
  3. Proof would be available in respect of the inquiry.

The investigator will be knowledgeable of the relevant electronic evidence needed for the investigation. He/she must be equipped to resolve the challenges that occur through the processing of electronic data. The electronic record shall mean the data, log, data produced, picture recorded, sound recorded, or other information obtained or transmitted in electronic form.

Sivrajbhan v. Harchandgir[2]

In this case, it was claimed that the term proof in accordance with the statute encompasses all transactions except that support or disprove some fact or matter whose truthfulness is submitted to the Judicial Investigation. In other terms, if the people concerned do not have the ability to cross-examine claims in order to determine the facts, then the argument does not amount to proof. Electronic proof can also be considered as a legitimate source of evidence.

4. Forensic Evidence

Forensic evidence could lead to the development of key investigative leads. Such evidence helps to look at and analyze things that can’t be seen with the naked eye. It differs from the sort of crime that is being prosecuted. For eg, DNA or fingerprints may be tracked in the case of vehicle burglary. Here, the DNA ( deoxyribonucleic acid) is the foundation block for all human beings. Researchers will consider preparatory DNA in biological samples collected at the crime scene.

5. Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay testimony applies to proof that the witness has never witnessed nor heard in person. It has just been reported by the witness and is considered to be very weak evidence. In other words, it refers to something other people have said or heard. There are no defined requirements for the reception of such proof, given that it has fair reliability and connection. In the absence of this kind of credibility and nexus, it is difficult and dangerous to act on such evidence. Thus, a piece of evidence of this kind can not be used unless its credibility is assured and questioned.

This proof is sometimes ignored because it is deemed meaningless. They are inadmissible as the complainant has never witnessed nor learned directly. The complainant could not see the facts through his eyes, but come to recognize it in the third person.

Balram Prasad Agrawal v. The State of Bihar and Ors.[3]

In this case, a young married woman named Kiran Devi, daughter of the appellant-complainant who is alleged to have been murdered by the respondent-indicted or forced to commit suicide by falling in a well situated on the back of the accused’s house. It was claimed that the information obtained from their neighbors was completely heard the evidence, but the respondents were convicted on the basis of hearing evidence.

It has been mentioned in this case that the testimony of an argument made to a complainant who is not himself named as a complainant can or may not be hearsay, in situations such as:

1. It is claimed and inadmissible that the purpose of the proof is to determine the validity of what is found in the argument.

2. It is not, and is, admissible where it is recommended that the proof be formed, not the validity of the argument, but the reality that it was made.

The fact that the argument was rendered very apart from its reality is important to the assessment of the emotional condition and actions of the plaintiff or of the individual in whose presence such claims were made.


Evidence is an essential part of every case, whether it is a criminal case or a civil suit as it validates the facts. The facts may be used as evidence for the purposes of decision making as well as the evidence of the disputed facts. Evidence attaches weight to the facts cited as evidence. Thus, different types of evidence can be used to prove and disprove the facts. In fact, proof tends to popularize the resources devoted to a single situation. As a result, it can be concluded that the evidence is for judicial conduct, as is the rationale for logic.

[1] Hanumant v. State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1952 SC 343.

[2] Sivrajbhan v. Harchandgir (AIR 1954 SC 564).

[3] Balram Prasad Agrawal v. The State of Bihar and Ors., Criminal Revision No. 10 of 1992 (R).

This Article is Authored by Anisha Bhandari, 2nd Year, B.A. LL.B (Hons.) Student at Institute of Law, Nirma University.

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