Section 144 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872


A witness may give oral evidence of statements made by other persons about the contents of documents if such statements are in themselves relevant facts.

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The question is, whether A assaulted B.

Ñ deposes that he heard A say to D—“B wrote a letter accusing me of theft, and I will be revenged on him.” This statement is relevant as showing A’s motive for the assault, and evidence may be given of it, though no other evidence is given about the letter.


Principle Section 144 is to enable the parties to comply with provisions of Sections 91 and 92 of the Evidence Act as to the exclusion of oral evidence by documentary evidence. When the terms of a contract or grant or disposition of property have been reduced to the form of a document no oral evidence is admissible. In absence of documentary evidence the secondary evidence may be applied in particular case.

An exception is laid down in the explanation appended to the section. Accordingly, a witness may give oral evidence of statements made by other person about the contents of a document if such statements are themselves relevant facts.