Is Hearsay Evidence Enough To Convict Someone?

Hearsay is information collected by witness from another person on some Condition or Event of which the witness had No experience. When submitted as Evidence under Court of Law, such statement of witness is called Hearsay Evidence. In Hearsay Evidence, A statement of a person given to Court, who does not seen the happening of the transaction, but heard of it from others.

In Hearsay Evidence statement of witness is In-Admissible, Because of this Hearsay Evidence is not relevant in court of law.

Supreme Court given reasons why Hearsay Evidence is not relevant evidence in Kalyan Kumar Gogoi V Ashutosh Agnihotri case,

  • Person giving Hearsay Evidence does not feel any responsibility. Indian Law requires all Evidence to be given under personal responsibility.
  • Truth is Diluted and Diminished with each Adjournment Proceedings, and
  • If Hearsay Permitted, gives ample Scope for Fraud by saying “someone told me that …”

Various Precedents and Exceptions paved the way for reliable statements for Hearsay category to become Admissible. The development of the Hearsay Doctrine has never been concluded, because of new exceptions, which the courts go on formulating and establishing with the help of Precedents. These exceptions are as accepted as the rule itself. Necessity and Reliability have been the two major factors for the formulation of exceptions to the hearsay rule.

Following the Rule against Hearsay strictly would lead to Miscarriage of Justice in certain cases. Hence, the liberalisation of the rule by way of exceptions is necessary.

Well known Case Law, Where Judge Ruled out Hearsay Evidence

In R v. Bedingfield, Privy Council has discussed about the principle of Res Gestae and exception to the Hearsay Rule. In this case, a girl living with her boyfriend until the relationship sour. During inter relationship boyfriend cut her throat. Even with a cut throat girl managed to run out of the room where her throat cut and shortly before she died said, “Oh dear Aunt, see what Harry (Bedingfield) has done to me”. Court held that the statement was not admissible, since it was stated by her after the transaction got over. It’s not part of same transaction under ResGastae.

Common Exceptions for Hearsay, that generally will be accepted as Admissible Evidence. Categorized as follows

Medical: Statements that are made to a medical practitioner for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment

Reputation: Reputation of the person, their family, or land boundaries etc

Documents: Business Records, Government Records, Family Records, and Church Records etc.

How to get Help from Advocate

If you’re facing a Criminal Trial, there may be several pieces of evidence that the Government is relying on for their case. However, that doesn’t mean that the Evidence is Admissible in court. A Criminal Lawyer can challenge questionable evidence, such as Hearsay Statements, and help you prepare your strongest defense.

Hearsay Evidence is not Relevant, But Exceptions as follows

Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule as follows

  • Admissions in Evidence Act under Sections 17 to 24
  • Confession Statements under Sections 25 to 52 in Evidence Act
  • Statements made by persons who cannot be called as witnesses laid out at Section 33 of the Evidence Act.
  • Evidence given in previous judicial proceedings covered at Section 34 of the Evidence Act.
  • Under special circumstances in Section 37 to 41 of Evidence Act
  • Statements in Documents produced in civil proceedings under Section 35 and 36 of Evidence Act


Usally Hearsay is not Relevant under Court of Law, Why because

  • The witness giving Hearsay Evidence does not feel any responsibility. The court requires all evidence to be given under personal responsibility, Witness giving a line of escape by saying “I do not know, but so and so told me”
  • Truth is Diluted and Diminished when Court proceedings prolonged
  • If Hearsay permitted, gives ample scope for playing fraud by saying “someone told me that………..”. Thus statement of witnesses based on information received from others is In-Admissible.

This Article Written by Potineni Ratna Sekhar, Final Year Student of IPLC Law College, Ongole

Also Read – Under What Circumstances Secondary Evidence Is Admissible?

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