Section 59 in Indian Evidence Act 1872
Title: Proof of facts by oral evidence
All facts, except the 1[contents of documents or electronic records], may be proved by oral evidence.
1. Subs. by Act 21 of 2000, s. 92 and the Second Schedule, "for Contents of documents" (w.e.f. 17-10-2000).
Title: Oral evidence must be direct
Oral evidence must, in all cases, whatever, be direct; that is to say --
if it refers to a fact which could be seen, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he saw it;
if it refers to a fact which could be heard, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he heard it;
if it refers to a fact which could be perceived by any other sense or in any other manner, it must be the evidence of a witness who says he perceived it by that sense or in that manner;
if it refers to an opinion or to the grounds on which that opinion is held, it must be the evidence of the person who holds that opinion on those grounds:
Provided that the opinions of experts expressed in any treatise commonly offered for sale, and the grounds on which such opinions are held, may be proved by the production of such treatises if the author is dead or cannot be found; or has become incapable of giving evidence, or cannot be called as a witness without an amount of delay or expense which the Court regards as unreasonable:
Provided also that, if oral evidence refers to the existence or condition of any material thing other than a document, the Court may, if it thinks fit, require the production of such material thing for its inspection.
Title: Proof of contents of documents
The contents of documents may be proved either by primary or by secondary evidence.
Title: Primary evidence
Primary evidence means the document itself produced for the inspection of the Court.
Explanation 1. --Where a document is executed in several parts, each part is primary evidence of the document.
Where a document is executed in counterpart, each counterpart being executed by one or some of the parties only, each counterpart is primary evidence as against the parties executing it.
Explanation 2. -- Where a number of documents are all made by one uniform process, as in the case of printing, lithography or photography, each is primary evidence of the contents of the rest; but, where they are all copies of a common original, they are not primary evidence of the contents of the original.
A person is shown to have been in possession of a number of placards, all printed at one time from one original. Any one of the placards is primary evidence of the contents of any other, but no one of them is primary evidence of the contents of the original.
Title: Secondary evidence
Secondary evidence means and includes --
(1) certified copies given under the provisions hereinafter contained;
(2) copies made from the original by mechanical processes which in themselves insure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies;
(3) copies made from or compared with the original;
(4) counterparts of documents as against the parties who did not execute them;
(5) oral accounts of the contents of a document given by some person who has himself seen it.
(a) A photograph of an original is secondary evidence of its contents, though the two have not been compared, if it is proved that the thing photographed was the original.
(b) A copy compared with a copy of a letter made by a copying machine is secondary evidence of the contents of the letter, if it is shown that the copy made by the copying machine was made from the original.
(c) A copy transcribed from a copy, but afterwards compared with the original, is secondary evidence; but the copy not so compared is not secondary evidence of the original, although the copy from which it was transcribed was compared with the original.
(d) Neither an oral account of a copy compared with the original, nor an oral account of a photograph or machine-copy of the original, is secondary evidence of the original.