Legal Thesaurus

Hearsay rule

The Supreme Court has cited with approval in Moksh Builders case, AIR 1977 SC 409 (para 21), the following passage on this point from Wigmore on Evidence, Volume IV, 1048 at p. 3 :

“The theory of the hearsay rule is that as extra judicial assertion is excluded unless there has been sufficient opportunity to test the ground of assertion and the credit of the witness, by cross examination by the party against whom it is offered, 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 cross examination”.

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