An admission is a statement which can be either in oral, documentary or in electronic from which reflects the guilt of the party or which concedes to the fact that the evidence provided by the opposite party is accurate.[1] Admission unlike confession does not directly point towards the guilt of the accused, rather is a weaker form of evidence which the Court may reject if other evidence are proved to be untrue.[2] It is a well settled principle that the effect of an admission depend on the circumstances surrounding the admission.[3] An admission can broadly be divided into two categories: (a) judicial admissions, and (b) extra-judicial admissions. Admissions that are made by a party during the proceedings in the case are referred to as Judicial admissions. Admissions that are informal in nature and do not appear on the records of the case are referred to as Extra-judicial. Unlike Judicial admissions which are binding upon the parties, Extra- judicial admissions are only partly binding. The exception to this principle is found in cases where they operate as or have the effect of estoppel.[4] Section 17 of the Indian Evidence Act, makes no distinction between an admission made by a party in his pleading and other forms of admissions.

Principles of Admission:

An admission can only be examined as a whole and cannot be divided into parts.[5] Admission can only be read in its entirety and no statements can be taken out of context to form an admission of a fact.[6] An admission binds the maker to the facts of the case, however not in so far it relates to the question of law.[7] Admissibility of plea of guilt can be determined only if the plea is recorded in the words used by the accused.[8] For an admission to have a substantive evidence effect it should be voluntary in nature, any admission made in ignorance of rights or under duress cannot be considered an admission.[9] Admissions are limited to being only prima facie proof and do not carry a conclusive value.[10] Admission which are clear, in the words of the accused and true are best proof of facts submitted.[11]

Section 18,19&20

Section 18 and 19 refers to the persons by whom an admission can be made. Section 18 lays down five classes of people who can make an admission-

1) Party to the proceedings

2) Agent authorized by such party

3) Party suing or sued in a representative character making admissions while holding such a character

4) Person who has any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject matter of the proceeding during the continuance of such interest

5) Person from whom the parties to the suit have derived their interest in the subject-matter of the suit during the continuance of such interest.[12] What is admitted by a party to be true must be true unless proven otherwise.[13]

A statement cannot be evidence in a subsequent proceeding, made by a party in a pleading before a Court of law unless it amounts to an admission.[14] In the case of Kashmira Singh v State of MP, since the interest of all the plaintiffs were the same any statement made by one plaintiff will be binding on others.[15] However, any admission made by one defendant would not be relevant against a co-defendant.[16]The admissions made by an agent are admissible as the principle is bound by the acts of the agent done in the course of business and within the scope of his authority. Admission made by a pleader in the conduct of a suit on his client’s behalf are binding on the client.[17] Admission made by one co-owner against that of other co-owners can be relied upon.[18] Admission of a Guardian ad litem or next friend, do not bind the minor. A person who sues or is sued in the capacity of representative character, any statement in their character of persons so interested will amount to admission.[19] When persons are jointly interested in the subject matter of a suit, admission made by one will be binding upon the other parties.[20] In the case of Shri Chand Gupta,[21] an admission made by tenant’s bother was not considered an admission, as he had no pecuniary or proprietary interest in the matter of tenancy. Further, an admission made by party who has already parted with his interest in the property, this would not amount to an admission.[22] Statements that are made by either parties interested or by persons by whom parties to the suit have derived their interest are admission only if they are made in continuance of their interest.[23]

Section 19 of the Act,[24] refers to the statements against his own interest by a third person when it affects his position or liability and when that position or liability has to be proved as against a party to the suit, and is relevant against the party. However ordinary statements made by strangers to a proceeding would not amount to an admission. This principle forms a general exception to the rules of statements made by third parties holds no relevance in a proceeding.[25] If the liability of a person depends upon the liability of a stranger to the suit, then an admission by a stranger in respect to his liability amounts to admission.[26]

Section 20 of the Act,[27] This section brings forth another exception to the general principle of admissions made by strangers to the suit. Admissions made by a third party are considered relevant when a party referred another to him for information in regard to uncertain or disrupted manner.[28]

Illustration: Whether the car sold by A to B is functional. A replied to B- Go ask E as he knows all about it. Thus, a statement made by E would amount to admission.

Section 21

This section brings forth general principles of admission that admissions made are relevant and may be proved against the person who makes the admission and his representative in interest. Admission should be clear if they are used against the person making them. What a party himself admits to be true may reasonably be presumed be to so and until that presumption is rebutted the fact admitted should be taken to be established.[29]The person against whom admission is proved is at liberty to show it was untrue.[30]Any self serving statement made under this section would be considered irrelevant unless it falls under the ambit of general exception as provided. An admission made by a party that is signed and verified may be used against him in different suits.[31] An admission can be proved without confronting the maker with his earlier statements[32]

Exceptions: Three exceptions to the general rule that admission cannot be used by a person or his representative-in-interest. Admission cannot be proved by or on the behalf of, the person who makes them, because a person will always naturally make statements that are favorable to him.

The first exception states that when a statement is made to a third person by a person who is no more alive. Thus, the statement made by him to a third person would be relevant under Section 32 of the Act. This exception permits a person to prove his own statement even though he is dead. [33]

The second exception states that the state of a man’s mind and body is relevant under section 14 of the Act and statements narrating such facts indication the state of mind or body may be proved on behalf of a person narrating them.

The third exception states that facts which are relevant under section 6 to 13 cannot be rendered inadmissible simply because they can be proved on behalf of the persons making them. Certain other relevant statements can also be proved by the party making it, such as, when the statement is itself a fact in issue or if it is a part of res gestae.

Section 22 & 22A: 

The content of the document which is capable of being produced must be proved by the document itself however oral admissions as to content of a document are excluded under this section.  Section 22, 22A and 65 were inspired by the Information Technology Act, 2000.[34] The purpose of this insertion is to provide for circumstances in which oral admission could be proved as to the contents of an electronic record. This section disallows the evidence of oral admission as to the contents of an electronic record.[35]

Section 23:  

This section lays down that in civil cases an admission would not relevant if 1) upon an express condition that evidence of it is not to be given, or 2) under circumstances from which Court can infer that the parties agreed together that evidence of it should not be given.[36] This section gives effect to the maxim, interst rei publivse ut sit finis litium (it is for the interest of the state that there should be end of litigation). In civil cases, when an admission is made ‘without prejudice’, it will not be considered relevant which implies that both parties have agreed upon the admission and it does not require evidence.

Frequently Answered Question

1. How is admission different from confession?

Admission is admissible in the Court if made to a police officer while confession is not. A confessionary statement cannot be broken into admissions and has to be taken as a whole. Further, a confession is an admittance of the offence while an admission does not conclusively establish the guilt, however connects the accused to the circumstances of the offence.

2. What is the exception to admission under Section 21 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1873?

Admission cannot be proved by or on the behalf of the person who makes them, because a person will make statements that are favourable to him

3. What are the implications of the term “without prejudice” under Section 22 of the Act.

The Court has observed in Somatra Ltd v. Sinclair Roche, that it would be unfair to allow one party to rely on without prejudice material which connected the merits of the case without also allowing the other party to use that material in the trial. Further, use of without prejudice documents in subsequent proceedings with the same subject matter has been restrained.

Edited by Shuvneek Hayer
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1] The Indian Evidence Act, 1892, § 17 (India).

[2] Abdul Shakur Khan v. R.D Tyagi,1999 Cr Lj 1524 (Bom).

[3] E.C.T Farming Society, 1986 2 QB 260.

[4] Ajodhya Prasad м. Bhawani Shanker, A.I.R. 1957 All. 1 F.B.

[5] Mohammad Koya v. Muthuboya, A.I.R 1997 Kant 347.

[6] Dharmavati Bai v. Shiv Singh, A.I.R 1991 MP 18.

[7] Banarshi Das v. Kanchi Ram, A.I.R 1963 SC 1165.

[8] Sashidhara Kurup v. Union of India, 1994 Cr Lj 374 (Gau).

[9] Shre Krishan v. Kurukshetra University, A.I.R 1976 SC 376.

[10] Chikham Koteswara Rao v C Subbarao, A.I.R 1981 SC 1542.

[11] Nagindas Ramdas v Dalpatram Ichharam, 1974 1 SCC 242.

[12] The Indian Evidence Act, 1892, § 18 (India).

[13] Nagubai v. Shama Rao, A.I.R 1956 SC 593.

[14] Raj Kumar v. Gopi Nath, A.I.R 1971 All 273.

[15] Kashmira Singh v State of MP, A.I.R 1952 SC 159

[16] Aumirtilall Bose v. Rajoneerkant Mitter, 1874-75 2 AI 113.

[17] Mahadev v. Sundrabai, 1901 3 Bom LR 467.

[18] Raj Kumar v. Official Receiver, M/s. Chiranji Lal Ram Chand, A.I.R 1996 SC 941.

[19] Ratanlal& Dhirajlal, The Law of Evidence, 146-157, (21st Edition, 2009), LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur

[20] Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Law of Evidence, 146-157, (21st Edition, 2009), LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur

[21] Sri Chand Gupta v. Gulzar Singh, A.I.R 1992 SC 123.

[22] Chrinjilal v. Khatoon Bi, A.I.R 1995 MP 238.

[23] Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Law of Evidence, 146-157, (21st Edition, 2009), LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur

[24] The Indian Evidence Act, 1892, § 19 (India).

[25] Apparu Chettiar v. Nanjappa Goundan, 1913 24 MLJ 329.

[26] Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Law of Evidence, 146-157, (21st Edition, 2009), LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur

[27] The Indian Evidence Act, 1892, § 20 (India).

[28] Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Law of Evidence, 146-157, (21st Edition, 2009), LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur

[29] Bharat Singh v. Bhagirathi, A.I.R 1966 SC 405.

[30] Mahendra v. Sushila, A.I.R 1965 SC 364.

[31] Basant Singh v. Janki Singh, A.I.R 1967 SC 341.

[32] Biswanth Pd. v. Dwarka Pd., A.I.R 1974 SC 117.

[33] Mariam v. State of Kerala, A.I.R 1980 Ker 176.

[34]  The Indian Evidence Act, 1892, § 22& 22A (India).

[35] Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Law of Evidence, 146-157, (21st Edition, 2009), LexisNexis Butterworths Wadhwa, Nagpur

[36] The Indian Evidence Act, 1892, § 23 (India).

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I am Anushka from O.P Jindal Global University, Sonipat, pursuing BA.LLB (2016). My major interest lies in Arbitration Law, International Law, Criminal Law, Intellectual Property Law and Corporate Law. Apart from legal interest, I am a dedicated social worker and President of Legal Aid based Ngo- Sarthak Disha Foundation. We focus primarily on women related issues and human rights issues. I am an ardent reader, my preference ranges from fiction to non fictional content. I dedicate majority of my time towards mooting, negotiation competitions and attending seminars on socio-political as well as environmental issues.