Burden of Proof

June 8, 2024

The burden of proof in the Indian legal system refers to the obligation of a party to prove the assertions or allegations made in a court of law. It is a fundamental principle in both civil and criminal proceedings. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, primarily governs the rules relating to the burden of proof. In criminal cases, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution, which must establish the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This ensures the protection of the accused’s rights, adhering to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” In civil cases, the burden of proof typically lies on the plaintiff, who must prove their case by a preponderance of evidence, meaning that their version of facts is more likely than not to be true. Shifting of the burden of proof can occur in specific situations, such as in cases of defamation or negligence, where initial evidence provided by one party may require the other party to refute it. The concept of the burden of proof is crucial for maintaining fairness and justice in legal proceedings, ensuring that claims and defences are substantiated by adequate and credible evidence.

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