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Supreme Court of India

Nagindas Ramdas vs Dalpatram Ichharam @ Brijram And ... on 30 November, 1973

if at the time of the passing of the decree, there was some material before the Court, on the basis of which, the Court could be prima facie satisfied, about the existence of a statutory ground for eviction, it will be presumed that the Court was so satisfied and the decree for eviction, though apparently passed on the basis of a compromise, would be valid. Such material may take the shape either of evidence recorded or produced in the case, or, it may partly or wholly be in the shape of an express or implied admission made in the compromise agreement, itself, Admissions, if true and clear, are by far the best proof of the facts admitted. Admissions in pleadings or judicial admissions, admissible under s. 58 of the Evidence Act, made by the parties or their agents at or before the hearing of the case, stand on a higher footing than evidentiary admissions. The former class of admissions are fully binding on the party that makes them and

constitute a waiver of proof. They by themselves can be made the. foundation of the rights of the parties. On the other hand evidentiary admissions which are receivable at the trial as evidence, are by themselves, not conclusive. They can be shown to be wrong.

Supreme Court of India

Uttam Singh Dugal & Co.Ltd vs Unied Bank Of India & Ors on 8 August, 2000

Admissions generally arise when a statement is made by a party in any of the modes provided under Sections 18 to 23 of the Evidence Act, 1872. Admissions are of many kinds : they may be considered as being on the record as actual if that is either in the pleadings or in answer to interrogatories or implied from the pleadings by non-traversal. Secondly as between parties by agreement or notice. Since we have considered that admission for passing the judgment is based on pleadings itself it is unnecessary to examine as to what kinds of admissions are covered by Order XII, Rule 6 CPC.

Supreme Court of India

Ram Bharose Sharma vs Mahant Ram Swaroop And Ors on 6 February, 2001

An admission of a fact certainly binds the maker of it and not an admission on a question of law.

It follows that the terms and conditions of Ext. A-l fall within the meaning of 'existing jagir law'. Thus, the claim of the first respondent based on erroneous interpretation of Ext. A-l - 'existing jagir law' that Jagir property is a public trust, cannot be treated as an admission binding on him so as to deprive him of the benefit of true interpretation of the grant.

Supreme Court of India

Satrucharla Vijaya Rama Raju vs Nimmaka Jaya Raju & Ors on 27 October, 2005

The oral evidence on the side of election petitioner, the learned Judge held that the burden had shifted to the appellant to show that he belonged to a Scheduled Tribe, namely, the Konda Dora Tribe. The learned Judge noticed that the appellant had not adduced any documentary evidence to establish that he belonged to the Konda Dora Tribe

Though in a prior statement, an assertion in one's own interest, may not be evidence, a prior statement, adverse to one's interest would be evidence. In fact, it would be the best evidence the opposite party can rely upon. Therefore, in the present case, where the appellant is pleading that he is a Konda Dora, the statement in the series of documents, pre-constitution and post constitution, executed by his ancestors and members of his family including himself describing themselves as 'Kshatriyas', would operate as admissions against the interest of the appellant in the present case. These admissions also strengthened the admission of the appellant that in his school leaving certificate also, he is described as a 'Kshatriya' and his paternal uncle's son is also described as a 'Kshatriya' in his school leaving certificate and that uncle's son was also held to be a 'Kshatriya' on an enquiry made in that behalf.

Supreme Court of India

Union Of India vs Moksh Builders And Financers Ltd. ... on 27 October, 1976

The ancillary question is as to who was the real owner of the house for whom defendant No. 2 was the "benamider"? We have not taken the admissions of defendant No. 3 into consideration so far, but they have a direct bearing on the question now before us. lie recorded a statement Ex. P. 1 dated August 12, 1950 before Puran Chand P.W. 1, Income-tax Officer, which has been proved by the witness. It has been stated there as follows,--

"I purchased 15 Keeling Road on 12.12.46 for Rs. 60,000/- in the name of my son (Major Krishan Lal). This money was paid out of my bank accounts and I have shown the details and payments from my bank pass books."

Then there is document Ex. P. 6 which is a copy. of the personal account of defendant No. 3. It was filed in connection with the return of his income-tax for 1947-48. An attempt was made to argue that the document had not been proved or marked as an exhibit. We have seen the original document and we have no doubt that the whole of it was tendered in evidence and was marked as Ex. P. 6. The identity of the document has been established by the statement of Puran Chand P.W. 1 that the scribbling on it was made by him. The document has therefore been proved beyond doubt. It shows that it was defendant No. 3 who spent Rs. 60,000/- on "property" in that assessment year. Both exhibits P. 1 and P. 6 go to prove that the house was purchased by defendant No. 3 out of his own funds in the name of his son defendant No. 2 who, it will be recalled, was admittedly only 18 years old at that time and did not have any money of, his own. Moreover defendant No. 3 showed the income accruing from the house as his own income in his return for the years 1947-48 and 1948-49. Counsel for the respondents have urged for the exclusion of these admissions. The main attack was that they were admissions of a co-defendant and were not admissible against defendant No. 2. As has been stated, we have not taken them into consideration as evidence against that defendant. There is however no force in the other argument that they are not admissible in evidence against defendant No. 3 as he was not confronted with them in the, trial court and they were not adverse to the interest of their maker at the time when they were made. It has been held by this Court in Bharat Singh and another v. Bhagirath - that an admission is substantive evidence of the fact admitted, and that admissions duly proved are "admissible evidence irrespective of whether the party making them appeared in the witness box or not and whether that party when appearing as witness was confronted with those statements in case it made a statement contrary to those admissions." In taking.this view this Court has noticed the decision in Ajodhya Prasad Bhargava v. Bhawani Shanker Bhargava and another also. The point has been considered and answered as follows in Wigmore on Evidence, Volume IV, 1048 (at page 3),--

"The theory of the Hearsay rule is that an extra judicial assertion is excluded unless there has been sufficient opportunity to test the grounds of assertion and the credit of the witness, by cross-examination by the party against whom it is offered (post, 1362); e.g. if Jones had said out of court. "The party--opponent Smith borrowed this fifty dollars", Smith is entitled to an opportunity to cross-examine Jones upon that assertion.. But if it is ,Smith himself who said out of court, I borrowed this fifty. dollars, certainly Smith cannot complain of lack of opportunity to cross-examine himself before his assertion is admitted against him. Such a request would be absurd. Hence the objection of the Hearsay rule falls away, because the very basis of the rule is lacking, viz, the need and prudence of affording an opportunity of crossexamination."

Moreover, the defendant No.3 had full opportunity,. to appear and defend himself, but he did not do so and the case proceeded against him ex-parte. The plaintiff even tried to examine him as his own witness, but his appearance could not be secured in spite of the prayer for the issue of summonses and a warrant. There is therefore force in the argument to the contrary.

So also, there is no force in the argument that the aforesaid admissions or statements of defendant No. 3 could not be read against him as they were not adverse to his interest when made. There is no such requirement of the Evidence Act and the argument is untenable as it unreasonably restricts the opportunity to prove the true state of affairs on the party's own showing and to demolish his subsequent claim as self-contradictory. This point has also been dealt with in Wigmore on Evidence, 1048 (at page4) in this way,--

"It follows that the subject of an admission is not limited to facts against the party opponent's interest at the time of making it. No doubt the weight of credit to be given to such statements is increased when the fact stated is against the person's interest at the time; but that circumstance has no bearing upon their admissibility. On principle, it is plain that the probative reason why a party-opponent's utterance is sought to be used against him is ordinarily the reason noted above, in par. (1)b,. viz. that it exhibits an inconsistency with his present claim, thus tending to throw doubt upon it, whether he was. at the time .speaking, apparently in his own favour or against his own interest.' The contrary view, has been characterised by Wigmore as "a fallacy. in the fullest sense."

Supreme Court of India

S. Venugopal vs A. Karruppusami And Anr. on 28 March, 2006

the landlord has clearly stated that he needed one shop for carrying on his own jewellery business and the premises in question were located in a commercial area in the city of Coimbatore. In very categorical terms, he stated that he required the premises for the purpose of carrying on his own occupation from where he wanted to conduct his gold jewellery shop. He again reiterated the same by saying that he required the premises for his own occupation. Only thereafter the so-called admission appears on which great emphasis had been laid by the High Court. In fact, later in the same paragraph, he has stated that most important reason for claiming eviction was his need of the premises for his own occupation, Reading the deposition as a whole, it would appear that the landlord, in categorical terms, has repeatedly asserted that he needed the premises in question for running his own business in jewellery. He has emphasised the fact that the premises is located in a commercial locality and he, more than once, stated that he needed the premises for his own occupation. We are, therefore, inclined to take the view that the recording of evidence of PW 1 was not accurate, wherein it has been recorded that he could not do business if he got possession of the existing shops. Perhaps what he must have stated is that he cannot do business "unless" he got possession of the existing shops. The admission clearly goes against the general tenor of the landlord's deposition, which strengthens our apprehension that the same is the result of faulty recording of evidence. We, therefore, have no doubt that the High Court was in error in rejecting the claim of bona fide personal need of the landlord merely on the basis of the so-called admission made by the landlord in his deposition, which appears to be a result of faulty recording of his evidence.

Supreme Court of India

Thiru John & Anr vs Returning Officer & Ors on 12 April, 1977

It is well settled that a party's admission as defined in Sees. 17 to 20, fulfilling the requirements of Sec. 21, Evidence Act, is substantive evidence proprio vigore. An admission, if clearly and unequivocally made, is the best evidence against the party making it and though not conclusive, shifts the onus on to the maker on the principle that "what a party himself admits to be true may reasonably be presumed to be so" and until the presumption was rebutted the fact admitted must be taken to be established. Admissions made ante litem mortem are entitled to a greater weight.

Supreme Court of India

Delhi Transport Corporation vs Shyam Lal on 12 August, 2004

The respondent-workman was found to have committed misconduct while working as a conductor. He had collected money but had not issued tickets as was found during a checking done by the concerned officials. Departmental proceedings were initiated against him and he was found guilty. A charge sheet in this regard was issued to the workman on 22.12.1988 and he submitted his reply on 30.12.1988. Subsequently on 13.1.1989 and 24.2.1989, the workman admitted his guilt and pleaded for leniency. Basing on his admission, he was found guilty in the departmental proceedings and removed from service.

Court held - "We find that the Tribunal's conclusions are prima facie not correct. The statement made by the passenger who had paid excess money to the checking officer is not in the nature of hearsay evidence. Additionally, the effect of the admission regarding guilt as contained in the letters dated 13.1.1989 and 24.2.1989 have not been considered in the proper perspective. It is a fairly settled position in law that admission is the best piece of evidence against the person making the admission. It is, however, open to the person making the admission to show why the admission is not to be acted upon."

Supreme Court of India

Ahaji C. H. Mohammad Koya vs T. K. S. M. A. Muthukoya on 12 September, 1978

"It is settled law that an admission made by a person whether amounting to a confession or not cannot be split up and part of it used against him. An admission must be used either as a whole or not at all".

To the same effect is the decision of this Court in the case of Palvinder Kaur v. The State of Punjab(i') where Mahajan, J. speaking. for the Court observed as follows:-

"The court thus accepted the inculpatory part of that statement and rejected the exculpatory part. In doing so it contravened the well accepted rule regarding the use of confession and admission that these must either be accepted as a whole or rejected as a whole and that the court is not competent to accept only the inculpatory part while rejecting the exculpatory part as inherently incredible".

The same view was taken in a recent decision of this Court in the case of Dadarao v. The State of Maharashtra where Apex Court observed as follows:

"It may not, however, be overlooked that the admission made by the appellant must be read as a whole, for what he has stated is that he had made his signature in the. account books of the branch office after an audit objection was raised that he ought to have signed the books at the end of every day in his managerial capacity. The statement of the appellant on this aspect is not capable of dissection because the particular part thereof on which the High Court relies is inextricably connected with the other part which the High Court has not taken into consideration".

In view of the settled law on the question, it is manifest that the petitioner would fail or succeed on the admission of the appellant and the admission will have to be read in the light of what the

appellant has himself stated in his statement unless there are other satisfactory reasons for taking a contrary view.

R v Petcherini (1855 7 Cox CC 70): If a man makes a declaration accompanying an act it is evidence, but declarations made two or three days, or a week, previous to the transaction in question cannot be evidence, otherwise it would be easy for for a man to lay grounds for escaping the consequences of this wrongful acts by making such declarations.

Supreme Court of India

Rakesh Wadhawan & Ors vs M/S. Jagdamba Industrial ... on 26 April, 2002

The contents of this letter are neither disowned nor explained and this letter sinks a death-nail into the plea of the tenants. Apart from other evidence available on record, these two material pieces of evidence viz. the deed of lease and tenants' letter abovesaid accompanied by cheques, are enough to overrule the plea of the tenants and to hold that the rate of rent is Rs.2000/- p.m. The Appellate Authority, in arriving at a finding to the contrary, was deeply impressed by the fact that in the family litigation for partition of the property, the plaintiffs therein had alleged rate of rent of these premises as Rs.1800/- p.m. and this averment was not disputed by the landlord herein, who was one of the defendants therein. The Appellate Court overlooked some very relevant facts. The plaintiffs in the partition suit were not the landlords realizing the rent; that was the landlord herein who was realizing the rent from the tenants. By an interim order the Civil Court had restrained the tenants from making payment of rent to the litigating parties and had directed the rent to be deposited in the Court so as to be available for distribution to the party found entitled at the end to release of the rent. The written statement filed in the civil suit by the landlord-plaintiff herein did not contain any admission as such; there was a mere failure to object. In that suit, rent payable by the tenants herein was not a subject matter of controversy; it was a side issue. Admission is only a piece of evidence and can be explained; it does not conclusively bind a party unless it amounts to an estoppel. Value of an admission has to be determined by keeping in view the circumstances in which it was made and to whom. A mere failure to object cannot be placed on a footing higher than an admission. If the two clear cut admissions made by the tenants, referred to herein above, were to be weighed against the landlord's mere failure to object about a wrong averment as to rate of rent in a case where it was not a point in issue, then no inference other than the one of the rate of rent being Rs.2000/- p.m. could have been drawn. To that extent, the finding arrived at by the Appellate Authority suffer from perversity and should have been set aside by the High Court even in exercise of revisional jurisdiction.

Supreme Court of India

Bharat Singh And Anr vs Bhagirathi on 26 August, 1965

Admissions have to be clear if they are to be used against the person making them. Admissions are substantive evidence by themselves, in view of ss. 17 and 21 of the Indian Evidence Act, though they are not conclusive proof of the matters admitted. We are of opinion that the admissions duly proved are admissible evidence irrespective of whether the party making them appeared in the witness box or not and whether that party when appearing as witness was confronted with those statements in case it made a statement contrary to those admissions. The purpose of contradicting the witness under s. 145 of the Evidence Act is very much different from the purpose of proving the admission. Admission is substantive evidence of the fact admitted while a previous statement used to contradict a witness does not become substantive evidence and merely serves the purpose of throwing doubt on the veracity of the witness. What weight is to be attached to an. admission made by a party is a matter different from its use as admissible evidence.

We are therefore of opinion that the admissions of Bhagirati. Which had been duly proved could be used against her. They were proved long before she entered the witness box and it was for her to offer any explanation for making those admissions. The Court could have considered the effect of her explanation. She preferred to make no reference to her admissions proved by the plaintiffs. Her simple statement that her husband had separated from his brothers even before her marriage is, by itself, neither an adequate explanation of those admissions nor a clear-cut denial of the facts admitted. We have already referred to her admissions in the agreement executed by her and Giani Ram for referring the dispute in Giani Ram's suit for arbitration in 1946. She instituted a suit earlier in 1944. The plaint of that suit is Exhibit P.

Supreme Court of India

Bishwanath Prasad And Others vs Dwarka Prasad (Dead) And Others on 30 October, 1973

There is no merit even in the contention that because these three statements-Exs. G, G2 and H-had not been put to the first plaintiff when he was in the witness box or to the eighth defendant although he had discreetly kept away from giving evidence, they cannot be used against him. Counsel drew our attention to s. 145 of the Indian Evidence Act. There is a cardinal distinction between a party who is the author of a prior statement and a witness who is examined and is sought to be discredited by use of his prior statement. In the former case. an admission by a party is substantive evidence if it fulfill the requirements of s. 21 of the Evidence Act; in the latter case a prior statement is used to discredit the credibility of the witness and does not become substantive evidence. In the former there is no necessary requirement of the statement containing the admission having to be put to the party because it is evidence proprio vigore : in the latter case the Court cannot be invited to disbelieve a witness on the strength of a prior contradictory statement unless. it has been put to him, as required by s. 145 of the Evidence Act. This distinction has been clearly brought out' in the ruling in Bharat Singh v. Bhagirathi(1). This Court disposed of a similar argument with the following observations :

"Admissions are substantive evidence by themselves, in view of ss. 17 and 21 of the Indian Evidence Act, though they are not conclusive proof of the matters admitted. We are of opinion that the admissions duly proved are admissible evidence irrespective of whether the party making them appeared in the witness box or not and whether that party when appeared as witness was confronted with those statements in case it made a statement contrary to those admissions. The purpose of contradicting the witness under s. 145 of the Evidence Act is very much different from the purpose of proving the admission. Admission is substantive evidence of the fact admitted while a previous statement used to contradict a witness does not become substantive evidence and merely serves the- purpose of throwing doubt on the veracity of the witness. What weight is to be attached to an admission made by a party is a matter different from its use as admissible evidence." (this case is also the authority on , that admissions made in earlier suit in pleadings can be relied upon. So an admission made by plaintiff in a plaint and verified by him , can be relied upon in other suits as well. And it is not necessary to first confront the party with such earlier admissions made in pleadings).

Orissa High Court

Harihar Rajguru Mohapatra And ... vs Nabakishore Rajaguru Mohapatra ... on 8 March, 1962

The admission of one co-plaintiff or co-defendant is not receivable against another, merely by virtus of his position as a co-party in the litigation; if the rule were otherwise, it would in practice permit a litigant to discredit an opponent's claim merely by joining any person as the opponent's co-party, and then employing that person's statement as admissions. Consequently, it is not by virtue of the person's relation to the litigation that the admission of one can be used against the other; it must be, because of some privity of title or of obligation".

Supreme Court of India

Sahoo vs State Of U.P on 16 February, 1965

we will at the outset deal with the contention that the soliloquy of the accused admitting his guilt was not an extra-judicial confession as the Courts below held it to be. If it was an extra-judicial confession, it would really partake the character of direct evidence rather than that of circumstantial evidence. It is argued that it is implicit in the concept of confession, whether it is extra-judicial or judicial, that it shall be communicated to another. It is said that one cannot confess to himself: he can only confess to another. This raises an interesting point, which fails to be decided on a consideration of the relevant provisions of the Evidence Act. Sections 24 to 30 of the Evidence Act deal with the admissibility of confessions by accused persons in criminal cases. But the expression "confession" is not defined. The Judicial Committee in Pakala Narayana v. R. has defined the said expression thus:

"A confession is a statement made by an accused' which must either admit in terms the offence. or at any rate substantially all the facts which constitute the offence."

A scrutiny of the provisions of ss. 17 to 30 of the Evidence Act discloses, as one learned author puts it, that statement is a genus. admission is the species and confession is the sub-species. Shortly stated, a confession is a statement made by an accused admitting his guilt. What does the expression "statement" mean? The dictionary meaning of the word "statement" is "the act of stating, reciting or presenting verbally or on paper." The term "statement" therefore, includes both oral and written statements. Is it also a necessary ingredient of the term that it shall be communicated to another? The dictionary meaning of the term does not warrant any such extension; nor the reason of the rule underlying the doctrine of admission or confession demands it. Admissions and confessions are exceptions to the hearsay rule. The Evidence Act places them in the category of relevant evidence, presumably on the ground that, as they are declarations against the interest of the person making them, they are probably true. The probative value of an admission or a confession does not depend upon its communication to another, though, just like any other piece of evidence, it can be admitted in evidence only on proof. This proof in the case of oral admission or confession can be offered only by witnesses who heard the admission or confession, as the case may be. The following illustration pertaining to a written confession brings out the said idea: A kills B; enters in his diary that he had killed him, puts it in his drawer and absconds. When he places his act on record, he does not communicate to another; indeed, he does not have any intention of communicating it to a third party. Even so, at the trial the said statement of the accused can certainly be proved as a confession made by him. If that be so in the case of a statement in writing, there cannot be any difference in principle in the case of an oral statement. Both must stand on the same footing. This aspect of the doctrine of confession received some treatment from wellknown authors on evidence, like Taylor, Best and Phipson. In "A Treatise on the Law of Evidence" by Taylor, 11th Edn., Vol. I, the following statement appears at p. 596:

"What the accused has been overheard muttering to himself, or saying to his wife or to any other person in confidence, will be receivable in evidence."

In "The Principles of the Law of Evidence" by W.M. Best, 12th Edn., at p. 454, it is stated much to the same effect thus:

"Words addressed to others, and writing, are no doubt the most usual forms; but words uttered in soliloquy seem equally receivable." We also find the following passage in "Phipson on Evidence", 7th Edn., at p. 262: "A statement which the prisoner had been overheard muttering to himself,f, if otherwise than in his sleep, is admissible against him, if independently proved."

These passages establish that communication to another is not a necessary ingredient of the concept of "confession". In this context a decision of this Court in Bhogilal Chunilal Pandya v The State of Bombay(1) may usefully be referred to. There the question was whether a former statement made by a witness within the meaning of $. 157 of the Evidence Act should have been communicated to another before it could be used to corroborate the testimony of another witness. This Court, after considering the relevant provisions of the Evidence Act and the case-law on the subject came to the conclusion that the word "statement" used in s. 157 meant only "something that is stated" and the element of communication was not necessary before "something that is stated" became a statement under that section. If, as we have said, statement is the genus and confession is only a sub-species of that genus, we do not see any reason why the statement implied in the confession should be given a different meaning. We, therefore, hold that a statement, whether communicated or not, admitting guilt is a confession of guilt.

Supreme Court of India

K. K. Chari vs R. M. Seshadri on 16 March, 1973

if the tenant in fact admits that the landlord is entitled to possession on one or other of the statutory grounds mentioned in the Act, it is open to the court to act on that admission and make an order for possession in favour of the landlord without further enquiry. It is no doubt true that each case will have to be decided on its own facts to find out whether there is any material to justify an inference that an admission, express or implied. bag been made by the, tenant about the existence of one or other of the statutory grounds. But in the case on hand, we have already referred to the specific claim of the landlord as well as the fact of the tenant withdrawing his defence. According to us, such withdrawal of the defence expressly amounts to the tenant admitting that the landlord has made out his case regarding his requiring the premises for his own occupation being bona fide. In the three decisions of this Court, to which we have already referred, the position was entirely different. In none of those cases was there any material to show that the tenant had expressly or impliedly accepted the plea of the landlord as-true. Therefore those decisions do not assist the respondent-tenant. For all the reasons mentioned above, it cannot be held, in the particular circumstances of this case, that the decree for eviction has been passed solely on the basis of the compromise entered into between the parties. On the other hand, it is clear from the various matters referred to, that the court was satisfied about the bona fide requirement of the landlord.

Rajasthan High Court

Smt. Roopi Bai vs Mahaveer And Ors. on 10 March, 1993

There was no dispute, nor there was any issue whether Pratap Singh executed any document of sale in favour of plaintiffs or not. The defendant had merely pleaded his ignorance about such fact. When a fact pleaded in plaint is not specifically denied, but mere ignorance about its existence is pleaded, in such cases unless by necessary implication it amounts to denial of the fact pleaded, mere plea of ignorance amounts to admission of fact. Reference in this connection may be made to Jahuri Sah v. Dwarka Prasad Jhunjhunuwala, (AIR 1967 SC 109), wherein it was observed as under (at p. 111 of AIR): -

"The High Court has pointed out that the plaintiffs have clearly stated in para 1 of the plaint that Shankerhd had been given in adoption to Sreelal. In neither of two written statements filed on behalf of the defendants has this assertion of fact by the plaintiffs been specifically denied. Instead, what is stated in both these written statements is that the defendants have no knowledge of the allegations made in para 1 of the plaint. Bearing in mind that Order 8, Rule 5, C.P.C. provides that every allegation of fact in the plaint, if not denied specifically or by necessary implication or stated to be not admitted in the pleading of the defendant shall be taken to be admitted, to say that a defendant has no knowledge of fact pleaded by the plaintiff is not tantamount to a denial of the existence of that fact, not even an implied denial. No specific issue on the question of adoption was, therefore, raised. In the circumstances the High Court was right in saying that there was no occasion for the parties to lead any evidence on the point."

Supreme Court of India

Shri Krishnan vs The Kurukshetra University, ... on 17 November, 1975

Mr. Nandy counsel for the respondent placed great reliance on the letter written by the appellant to the respondent wherein he undertook to file the requisite permission or to abide by any other order that may be passed by the University authorities. This letter was obviously written because the appellant was very anxious to appear in Part II Examination & the letter was written in terrorem and in complete ignorance of his legal rights. The appellant did not know that there was any provision in the University Statute which required that he should obtain the permission of his superior officers. But as the respondent was bent on prohibiting him from taking the examination he had no alternative but to write a letter per force. It is well settled that any admission made in ignorance of legal rights or under duress cannot bind the maker of the admission. In these circumstances we are clearly of the opinion that the letter written by the appellant does not put him out of court. If only the University authorities would have exercised proper diligence and care by scrutinising the admission form when it was sent by the Head of the Department to the University as far back as December 1971 they could have detected the defects or infirmities from which the form suffered according to the University Statute. The Head of the Department of Law was also guilty of dereliction of duty in not scrutinising the admission form of the appellant before he forwarded the same to the University.

Krishna Mohan v. Bal Krishna Chaturvedi (AIR 2001 ALL 334)

the admission is a best piece of evidence against the maker. The admission is binding on the person or the party making it. Admission of witness is not binding on the party. The admission of a witness may be used for the purposes of contradiction or drawing an inference by the Court. In any way the admission of a witness cannot be treated an admission of a party and is not binding on the party.

Supreme Court of India

Basant Singh vs Janki Singh And Ors on 2 August, 1966

Under the Indian law, an admission made by a party in a plaint signed and verified by him may be used as evidence against him in other suits. In other suits, this admission cannot be regarded as conclusive, and it is open to the party to show that it is not true. The explanation of Janki Singh and Kailashpati Singh that the plaint was drafted by their lawyer Ramanand Singh at the instance of the panchas including- one Ramanand and they signed and verified the plaint without understanding its contents cannot be accepted. There is positive evidence on the record that the plaint was drafted at the instance of Janki Singh and was filed under his instructions. The plaint was signed not only by Janki Singh and Kailashpati Singh but also by their lawyer, Ramanand Singh. Neither Ramanand Singh nor the panch Ramanand was called as a witness. Even in this litigation, Ramanand Singh was acting as a lawyer on behalf of some of the defendants. Kailashpati Singh is a Homeopathic medical practitioner and knows English. The plaint was read over to Janki Singh. Both Janki Singh and Kailashpati Singh signed the plaint after understanding its contents and verified all the statements made in it as true to their knowledge. They then well knew that Ramyad Singh had died in 1939 after the passing of the Hindu Women's Rights to Property Act. It is not shown that the admission in the plaint as to the date of death of Ramyad Singh is not true or that it was made under some error or misapprehension. This admission must be regarded as a strong piece of evidence in this suit with regard to the date of death of Ramyad Singh.


The roots of Without Prejudice correspondence may be traced back to public policy, and the agreement of the parties to the correspondence (vide - Unilever Plc v The Procter & Gamble Co [2000] 1 WLR 2436, at 2448).

Indeed, owing to the public policy argument, correspondence need not even be marked Without Prejudice in order to qualify for the protections afforded to WP communications – subject to the following explanation and exceptions. The policy is , " it is in interest of the state that litigation must come to an end . "

The test of without prejudice rule has two requirements:

1.The parties are genuinely attempting to resolve a dispute which is already the subject of litigation, or will become litigious if no resolution is reached; and

2. the party seeking privilege has made an admission (whether express or implied) as part of the genuine attempt to settle the dispute.

If these two requirements are met, then the statements made by the party will be protected by privilege and cannot be used against that party in any current or subsequent litigation.

If the parties are not communicating to try to genuinely settle a dispute or are not making an admission or concession as part of these communications, then even if the words “without prejudice” appear in a letter, or are said in a phone call, the communication will not attract any right to privilege.

Walker v Wilsher (1889) 23 QBD 335, at 337

The words ‘without prejudice’ have been held to mean that the terms of a letter are “without prejudice to the position of the writer of the letter if the terms he proposes are not accepted.”

It is important to bear in mind that the Without Prejudice rule is only engaged where “there is a dispute and parties are genuinely attempting to resolve it” (vide : Rush and Tompkins Limited v GLC [1989] AC 1280, at 1297).

There are other exceptions to the "WITHOUT PREJUDICE" rule, the list of which is still being added to (vide :- Oceanbulk Shipping & Trading SA v TMT Asia Limited and Ors [2010] UKSC 44).

An example of the exception to the rule is where evidence is to be lead from a WP letter, for instance, to disrupt “perjury, blackmail or other unambiguous impropriety”

A further important exception is any qualifications that the writer of a letter may have added to the Without Prejudice docquet. A common example is the phrase “without prejudice except as to costs”. This caveat to the rule, based on agreement between the parties, serves to allow reference to be made to Without Prejudice correspondence. This may arise, for instance, if a party makes a reasonable offer to settle a matter and wishes to reserve their right to refer to the offer should it be unreasonably rebuffed. A party’s failure to so caveat the Without prejudice docquet will invariably mean that a court will not be interested in the terms of the offer, and accordingly whether the other party has acted unreasonably in not accepting same (vide - Reed v Reed [2004] EWCA Civ 887 at para. 26 ad 27).

Whilst any “without prejudice” communication which meets the above-mentioned test will be afforded privilege, there are circumstances where a party who seeks the privilege will also want to rely on the communication in open Court at the end of a dispute when addressing the question of costs. That is, a party may not want a Court to know about a concession it made about the strength of its case during the dispute, but wants the Court to know that it did make a concession in trying to settle the dispute as that concession may be relevant to question of who should pay costs. Parties to a dispute can have the benefit of both worlds by marking communication as “without prejudice save as to costs”. This means that the communications are privileged and cannot be disclosed to the Court except in relation to the question of costs.

Generally, one party to without prejudice correspondence cannot unilaterally waive privilege. Both parties would have to agree, which could damage (or assist) both sides’ cases. However, on the basis that part of the underlying rationale for the Without Prejudice rule is the agreement of the parties, it seems likely that this could be varied by agreement .

Indian case laws :

Shibcharan Das Versus (Firm) Gulabchand Chhotey Lal AIR 1936 Allahabad 157 wherein it was held as under:

"Where negotiations are being conducted with a view to settlement it should be held that these negotiations are being conducted "without prejudice". In such circumstances it is not open for one of the parties to give evidence of an admission made by another. If negotiations are to result in a settlement each side must give away a certain amount. If one of the parties offers to take something less than what he later claims he is legally entitled to, such offer must not be used against him; otherwise persons could not make offers during negotiations with a view to a settlement."

Smt. Surjit Kaur Versus Gurcharan Singh AIR 1973 Punjab and Haryana 18 had also held as under:

"A perusal of this section would show that if an admission is made upon an express condition that evidence regarding it would not be given or under circumstances from which the court could infer that the parties had agreed that the evidence regarding it would not be given, then such an admission would not be relevant. In the case parties were trying to affect a compromise and during that interval, the said letter was written by the husband. It may be stated that the husband has frankly admitted that he did write that letter, but he claimed privilege regarding the same on the ground that it was written when the talks of a compromise were going on between the parties. It appears from the circumstances of the case that he had written this letter perhaps at the instance of the wife, because she might be ready to go back to the husband but her father may not be giving her permission to do so, and it is quite possible that he wrote that letter just to prevail up, her father to send her back to him. Equally probable is that the father might have asked the husband to write such a letter, so that he could show it to his daughter and on it basis persuade her to back after telling her that the husband had admitted his fault and apologized for the same.

x x x In any case this letter, admittedly, was written during the period when the compromise talks were going on. The interference drawn by the learned judge from all these circumstances was that the letter was written at a time when the parties had agreed that no evidence would be given regarding it. That being so, the case will be covered by the second condition laid down in Section 23, quote above, and as such the husband could claim privilege regarding the same.

Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Shibcharan Das V. Firm Gulabchand Chhotey Lal AIR 1936 ALL 157, wherein the High Court has held thus (at page 158):

"xx xx xx. Negotiations were being conducted with a view to settlement, and that being so, we are bound to hold that these negotiations were conducted 'without prejudice'. In such circumstances, it is not open for one of the parties to give evidence of an admission made by another. If negotiations are to result in a settlement each side must give away a certain amount. If one of the parties offers to take something less than what he later claims he is legally entitled, such must not be used against him, otherwise could not make offers during negotiations with a view to a settlement."

When it cannot be used ?

“without prejudice” cannot be used when parties are in discussions about something which is not in dispute, or is not related to the dispute they have.

Commercial negotiations cannot be “without prejudice” because they do not involve resolving a dispute. These types of negotiations may be confidential, or can be done on a “commercial-in-confidence” basis, but this will not attract any legal privilege or protection in the same way as “without prejudice” communications.

In essence, confidentiality signals the disclosure of private or secret information which the receiving party cannot abuse, whereas the phrase “without prejudice” has a distinct legal meaning in relation to making admissions or concessions in an effort to resolve a dispute.

007. Admissions
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