The preamble of the Act (Purpose of enacting law)
Preamble of the Oaths Act, 1969 reads “An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to judicial oaths and for certain other purposes.
On 28th May 1965 J.L. Kapur, Chairman, Law Commission of India forwarding to the Union Minister of Law and Justice the Twenty-eight Report of the Law Commission on the Indian Oaths Act, 1873. The Law Commission recommended the re-enactment of the act with certain modifications.
In a judicial proceeding, the witness is liable to speak the truth only after taking an oath.
A person lying under oath can be both a Criminal and Civil offence. The witness will not only be punished with a fine but also and a jail sentence, reckoning on what effect the lie has.
Oaths are employed in many areas of legal practice. They'll appear in both Criminal and Civil Litigation, and also some documents need to swear on oath to verify the reality of the document.
Important Provisions of the Oaths Act, 1969
- Power to administer Oaths
Section 3 of the act Specify that Courts and individuals will have the Power to administer Oaths either (I) by themselves, or (II) subject to the provisions of subsection (2) of Section 6, or (III) by an official empowered by them in this name, oaths and affirmations in the fulfilment of the duties imposed or in the exercise of the powers conferred on them by law.
Section 3 set out Courts and individuals as:
a) All courts and persons having by law or consent of parties, the authority to receive evidence;
(b) The commanding officer of any military, naval, or air force station or ship occupied by the Armed Forces of the Union, provided that the oath or affirmation is administered within the limits of the station.
- Oaths or affirmations to be made by witnesses, interpreters, and jurors
According to Section 4 of the Oath Act, 1969, oaths or affirmations shall be made by the subsequent people, namely: (a) all witnesses (may lawfully be examined or give, or be required to give, evidence by or before any court), (b) interpreters of questions put to, and evidence given by, witnesses; and (c) jurors
Provided that above- mentioned provision does not apply
When the witness is a child under the age of twelve years and
The court or the person authorized to inspect that witness believes that, while the witness understands the duty, to tell the truth, he does not understand the nature of an oath or affirmation.
- Forms of Oaths and affirmations
Section 6 of the Act provides that all Oaths and affirmations made under section 4 of the act shall be administered in one of the forms given in the annexe, as appropriate to the circumstances of the case.
Provided that if a witness in any proceedings wishes to grant evidence:
- In any common manner among the individuals of the class to which he belongs, or under oath or solemn affirmation,
- That he holds them bound, and that he does not repudiate justice or decency, and
that he does not repudiate justice.
Unless it is supposed to affect some third party,
The court may then order it to produce proof of such an oath or affirmation.
FORMS OF OATHS--
- For Witnesses: In the name of God, I swear that everything I say will be the truth, the entire truth, and the solemn affirmation of nothing but the truth.
- For Jurors: I swear in the name of God that, according to the facts, I will well and truly try to render true deliverance between the solemnly affirmed state and the prisoner(s) at the bar, whom I will have in charge and a right verdict.
- For Interpreters: In the name of God, I swear that I will interpret and clarify well and honestly all the questions asked to solemnly affirm and testify by witnesses and correctly and accurately translate all the documents given to me for translation.
- For Affidavits: I swear in the name of God that this is my signature (or mark) and name and that the contents of my affidavit are valid.
- Proceedings and facts not invalidated by the omission of jurisdiction or irregularity
According to section 7 of the act, no omission
- To take an oath or make any affirmation,
- No substitute for any other of them and no substitution for any other of them,
- No irregularity whatsoever in the administration or in the manner in which it is
conducted of any oath or affirmation,
Any proceeding shall be invalidated or any facts inadmissible whatsoever, in or in respect of which any omission, substitute, or irregularity has taken place, or which affects the duty of a witness to state the truth.
- Persons giving evidence bound to state the truth
Section 8 of the Act declares that every person giving evidence on any subject before a court or person hereby authorized to administer oaths and affirmations shall be bound to state the truth on such subject. After taking an oath, the witnesses are sure to state only the reality, nothing but the reality.
Repeal and Saving
The Oath Act, 1969 comes into force after the amendment of the Oath Act, 1873.
When, in any pending procedure at the initiation of this law, the parties have agreed to be bound by any oath or affirmation as laid out in section 8 of said law, then, despite the repeal of said law, the provisions of the Sections 9 to 12 of said law will still apply about the said agreement as if this law had not been approved.
The Penal provision Section 193 of the IPC
According to Section 193 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Whoever
- Whoever intentionally gives false evidence in any stage of a judicial proceeding, or fabricates false evidence to be used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine, and
- Whoever intentionally gives or fabricates false evidence in any other case, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
The practise of taking an oath has been existing in this country since precedent days. Oaths have also been recognized in our Constitution. [Articles 60, 69, 99, 124(6), 148(2), 159, 188 and 209.]
Initially, the practice adopted by judges before the arrival of the British rule required that Muhammadans were to be sworn on the Quran and Hindus on the water of the Ganga. But this practice of taking the oath upon a holy book or upon the water of Ganga was soon discarded by the Britishers, and they thought that there should be a consistent form of oath which should apply to all persons alike. Currently, our judiciary follows the procedure of the oath, which is given in the Oath Act, 1969.