Facts need not be proved
The following two facts need not be proved, viz.,—
1. Facts which the parties or their agents agree to admit at the hearing or which they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings. The Court may, however, require such facts’ also to be proved otherwise than by such admission. (S. 58)
2. Facts of which the Court will take judicial notice. (S. 56)
Judicial notice (S. 57):
The Courts take judicial notice of the following thirteen facts, viz.,—
1. Laws in force in India.
2. Public Acts of Parliament, and local and personal Acts declared by it to be judicially noticed.
3. Articles of War for the Indian Army, Navy or Air force.
4. The course of proceedings of Parliament of the United Kingdom, of the Constituent Assembly of India, of Parliament and of the Legislatures established in a State or in India.
5. The accession and the sign manual of the Sovereign of the U.K. and Ireland.
6. All seals of which English Courts take judicial notice; the seals of all the Courts in India, and of all Courts out of India established by the authority of the Central Government; the seals of Courts of Admiralty and Maritime Jurisdiction, and of Notaries Public, and all seals which any person is authorised to use by the Constitution or by Act of Parliament of the U.K. or an Act or Regulation having the force of law in India.
7. The accession to office, names, titles, functions and signatures of public officers in any State, if their appointment is notified in the Official Gazette.
8. The existence, title and national flag of every State or Sovereign recognised by the Government of India.
9. The divisions of time, geographical divisions of the world and gazetted public festivals, feasts and holidays notified in the Official Gazette.
10. The territories under the dominion of the Government of India.
11. The commencement, continuance and termination of hostilities between the Government of India and any other State or body of persons.
12. The names of (a) the members and officers of the Court, (b) their deputies, subordinates and assistants, (c) officers executing its process, (d) advocates, attorneys, proctors, vakils, pleaders, and (e) other persons legally authorised to appear and act before it.
13. The rule of the road on- land or at sea (as for instance, that vehicles in India must keep to the left of a road, that steamboats in the sea should give way to sailing ships, etc.).
In all these cases, and also on all matters of public history, literature, science or art, the Court may resort for its aid to appropriate books or documents of reference.
If the Court is called upon by any person to take judicial notice of any fact, it may refuse to do so, unless and until such person produces any such book or document as it may consider necessary to enable it to do so.
Taking Judicial Notice:
This expression means recognition without proof of something as existing or as being true. Judicial notice is based upon very obvious reasons of convenience and expediency; the wisdom of dispensing with proof of matters within the common knowledge of everyone has never been questioned.
Judicial notice is the cognisance taken by the Court itself of certain matters which are so notorious or clearly established, that the evidence of their existence is deemed unnecessary. S. 56 provides that no fact of which the Court will take judicial notice need be proved, and S. 57 enumerates the facts of which the Court must take judicial notice.
The Court takes judicial notice of these facts, and in doing so, it may resort for aid to appropriate books or documents of reference. A party calling upon the Court to take judicial notice of any fact must be ready to supply it with any necessary book or document for reference.
“Judicial notice takes the place of proof, and is of equal force. As a means of establishing facts, it is therefore superior to evidence.” (Beardsley v. Irving)
The Supreme Court has held that the Court can take judicial notice of the fact that an all-India strike was imminent on a particular day and that it actually took place from a certain day. (Omkar Nath v. Delhi Adm., A.I.R. 1977 S.C. 1108)
In one interesting English case (Mc Quaker v. Goddard, (1940) 1 K.B. 687), the question was whether the Court ought to take judicial notice that a camel is not a wild animal. The plaintiff in this case was bitten by a camel whilst visiting the zoo belonging to the defendant. If the camel was held to be a wild animal, the plaintiff would be entitled to damages under the Rule in Rylands v. Fletcher, whereas if the Court held that the camel was a domestic animal, the plaintiff would have to show that the defendant had knowledge of its vicious nature.
Ultimately, the Court took judicial notice of the fact that it is not a wild animal. Commenting on this decision, it has been remarked that since an English Court has taken judicial notice of the fact that the camel is a domestic animal, it would now require an Act of the British Parliament to make it a wild animal.
Section Not Exhaustive:
The thirteen matters enumerated in S. 56 do not form an exhaustive list. The section merely provides that the Courts must take judicial notice of the facts enumerated therein; but, it does not prohibit the Courts from taking judicial notice of other facts, not to be found in the list. Thus, in England, the Court takes judicial notice of matters appearing in its own proceedings, and there is no reason why Indian Courts also would not take judicial notice of such proceedings.