Section 31 of the Evidence Act provides that admissions are not conclusive proof of matters admitted against any part but it may operate as estoppel. However, it does not mean that admission of a party is of little value.

Section 58 provides that facts admitted need not be proved. Admission acts as waiver of proof. What a party himself has admitted to be true is certainly presumed to be true, unless it is disproved. In Bharat Singh v. Bhagirathi, AIR 1966 SC 405 Supreme Court held that  admission is substantive evidence of the fact admitted and admission duly proved are admissible irrespective of whether the party making them appears as a witness or not. Supreme Court in Thiru John v. Returning Officer, AIR 1977 SC 1724 held that it is well settled that party’s admission fulfilling the requirements of Section 21 is substantive evidence. An admission, if clearly and unequivocally made, is the best evidence against the party making it though not conclusive, shifts the onus on the maker on the principle that ‘what party himself admits to be true may reasonably be presumed to be so and until the presumption is rebutted the fact admitted must be taken to be established’.

Admission can only be made as to point of fact and not point of law. Admission by pleader as to point of law in court does not bind the party. Admission by guardian ad litem does not bind the minor. Admission is an exception to the rule of heresay. Admission cannot be used in parts. It can be either used as a whole on rejected as a whole [H. G. Narain v. State of M.P.]

When silence may amount to admission?: Silence may amount to admission, in case where there is duty to speak. Thus, where a duty is imposed upon any person to answer the question and he abstains from answering the same, then adverse inference can be drawn and his silence may be treated as admission. This can be illustrated by referring to Illustration (g) to Section 8 of Indian Evidence Act.

Where the question before the court is whether ‘A’ owes ‘B’ Rs. 10,000, the fact that ‘A’ asked ‘C’ to lend money to him and ‘D’ told ‘C’ in A’s presence, ‘Don’t lend him money as he already owes Rs. 10,000 to B’ and ‘A’ remains silent and without saying anything went away, in such a case, A’s silence amounts to admission of the fact that he owed Rs. 10,000 to ‘B’ as it was his duty to speak and rebut what was said by ‘D’ but he failed to do so.

Formal or judicial admissions: An admission which is made as part of the proceedings so that it is recorded in the file of the court is called formal or judicial admission. Supreme Court in Nagindas Ramdas v. Dalpatram (1974) 1 SCC 242 held that admission in pleading or judicial admissions, admissible under Section 58 stand on a higher footing than evidentiary confessions.

Casual or informal admissions: They occur in ordinary course of life, in the course of business or informal conversations.  

Author & Former Judge

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