Section 42 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Illustration:

A sues  for trespass on his land.  alleges the existence of a public right of way over the land, which A denies.

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The existence of a decree in favour of the defendant, in a suit by A against Ñ for a trespass on the same land in which Ñ alleged the existence of the same right of way, is relevant, but it is not conclusive proof that the right of way exists.

Comments:

Under section 42 judgments, orders or decrees other than those mentioned in Section 41 are relevant if they relate to the matters of public nature whether between the same parties or not. For example, customs, tolls on public highway, tolls on ferry etc. This section is also an exception to the general rule that no one should be affected by a judgment to which he is not a party.

Scope and application:

Judgments neither inter-parties nor judgment-in-rem is relevant under this section if they relate to matters of public nature under inquiry. According to Section 42 the matters of public nature means matters affecting entire population or at least a large section of the population. “It should be remembered that judgments relating to matters of public nature relevant under section 42 neither work as res judicata nor they are conclusive as judgment-in-rem.” They can be used as corroborating evidences. Such evidence may not be between the same parties, but they are related only to the matters of public nature relevant to the inquiry. The judgment of the Privy Council did not bind the plaintiff on the principle of res judicata, it was definitely a relevant circumstance to be taken note of because of what has been stated in Section 42 of the Act.