EXPERT OPINION AND ITS RELEVANCY
Generally, the term “Expert opinion” talks about a belief or judgment about something provided by an expert on the subject. The opinion of an experienced and skilled person may be occupied when the issue is regarding some technicalities. Normally, the expert does not observe the fact, despite that, the view of an expert becomes admissible because of the circumstances. The law regarding the Expert opinion has been categorized from the Indian Evidence Act and these provisions are given under Section 45 to 51 in chapter II of the act. Moreover, there is a common rule that evidence is to be provided of the facts only which are as per the knowledge of the witness. But, the provisions given in Section 45 to 51 are the exception to the above-mentioned rule. Now the question may come as to who is to be treated as an expert and how the expert view is admissible and relevant as evidence in any case in the court of law?
Who Is an Expert?
Lawson describes an expert as an individual who has special skill and knowledge in the specific work to which inquiry is related. Later, an Expert is also described under Section 45 of the Indian evidence act as an individual who is skilled and has special experience and knowledge in the following area:
Science & Art
Identity of Handwriting
Identity of finger impression
Such special knowledge must be attained by observation and practice. In the case Ramesh Chandra Agarwal v/s Regency Hospital Ltd., Court has vastly handled and interpreted the scenario and established that an expert is an individual who gives his study and time to a special division of learning. But he might have attained such knowledge by observation, practice, or careful study. An expert is one who is skilled in any specific trade, art, or profession being possessed of special knowledge regarding the same
The expert has the obligation to provide an opinion regarding the issue and also transfer the same to the Judge so the Judge may produce his judgment regarding the subject matter. In Sri Sundari v. Ganghram, it was laid down that it is the liability of an expert to fulfill the judges with the essential criteria for testing the certainty of his conclusions, so as to allow the judge to create his own free judgment by enforcement of the criteria to the facts given in evidence.
Qualification Of an Expert
The law needs that there should at least be a profession of peculiar qualification that the role of a person who comes forward to determine matters lying beyond general knowledge.
An ‘Expert’ witness is one who has concerned study and time to a peculiar branch of learning
He must have specific skills and qualifications needed for his profession
The person who has made the subject upon which he speaks a matter of specific practice, study, or observation will be treated as an expert witness
He must be experienced in the concerned field.
Relevancy Of Expert Opinion
The view of experts is also called the opinion of the third person, which is given under Section 45 of the act. In accordance, when the court has to create a view upon a point of foreign law or art or of science or as to recognize the finger impression or handwriting, then the court may ask the view of the skilled person and such view are to be treated as relevant. For example, the conflict is, whether a document was written by X. Another document is brought which is admitted or proved to have been written by X. The opinions of experts on the conflict whether the two documents were written by the same individual or by distant persons are treated as relevant. Section 45 is only restricted to five subjects as mentioned above, but there are some more aspects in which the court at its own judgment may ask for an expert opinion.
According to Sec. 46 of Indian Evidence Act 1872, the facts, not otherwise admissible, are admissible if they back or are inconstant with the views of experts, when such opinions are admissible, which determines any facts which are not so admissible however will be admissible to the view if they backed by the opinions of experts.
Section 47 refers to the relevancy as to handwriting, this provision identifies the opinion of a non- handwriting expert. This determines that whenever the handwriting of an individual is questionable before the court of law, the court might ask for the opinion of a person who is familiarized with the handwriting of that person and the same will be admissible and relevant as evidence in the court. In shankarappa v. Sushilabai it was laid down that the wife can be considered as the person familiarized with the handwriting of her husband.
Section 48 states that when the Court has to create an opinion as to the presence of any common right or custom, the views of the person who is in a position to know about its presence are admissible.
The opinion as to tenants, usages, etc will also be treated as relevant as per Section 49 of the act, in addition, section 50 states that when the Court has to create a view as to the relation of one person to another, the view, expressed by conduct, as to the presence of such relation, or an individual who, as a member of the family or otherwise, has peculiar ways of knowledge on the subject, is an admissible fact. For illustration, the question is, whether C and D were married. The fact that they were generally obtained and considered by their friends as husband and wife are admissible. In the case Sree Ram Sardarmal Didwani v. Gauri Shankar it was laid down that the person whose view is sought to be proved for the reason of proving the presence of relationship must be the individual who either as a member of the family or otherwise has peculiar ways of knowing as to such relation.
Further, Section 51 of the act gives whenever the view of any living individual is admissible, the basis on which such view is based is also admissible. As per this, the reasons are needed to be brought by the expert in creating any opinion in the court.
Admissibility Of Expert Evidence
The admissibility of expert evidence is established at the discretion of the Courts, the expert opinion may be granted or denied by the court as the court is not restricted by the evidence of the experts which is to a vast extent advisory in nature. Further, in the case, Hon’ble Supreme Court has established that just assertion without showing the data or basis in help of his opinion is not evidence, even if it is from an expert. It is relevant only when the expert provides adequate evidence to the court. The Expert should help his findings with purpose since without reasoning expert findings may get denied. In addition, he may also be analysed as a witness and is cross-examined as bare submission of any document is not adequate enough. Further, An Expert opinion can be taken in both criminal as well as Civil courts. Explanation of forensic evidence is utilized in the investigation and prosecution of criminal and civil proceedings. Forensic experts help the court and investigating team to interpret the guilt of the accused.
The evidence provided by experts under section 45 is supportive evidence and not the only grounds for conclusive proof. Section 47 to 50 establish opinion regarding handwriting, the presence of right or custom, tenet, usages, and relations may be given in the court of law. If the court doesn’t seek any expert opinion, then there could be problems in solving the issue, and the same will direct to the suppression of essential evidence in the matter. Hence, Expert opinions support the court in order to attain the conclusion and also assist in discovering the best remedy for any case.
Written by Parul Sharma