Major Articles of Qanun-e-Shahadat: Significance and Applications
Qanun-e-Shahadat, also known as the Law of Evidence, stands as a foundational legal document in Pakistan, governing the principles and rules of evidence in both criminal and civil cases. To comprehensively represent clients and uphold the ideals of justice, lawyers and advocates must grasp the significance and practical applications of several of its key articles. Article 5 — Confidentiality in Marital Communication Article 5 underscores the paramount importance of confidentiality and trust in marital relationships. It establishes that individuals cannot be compelled to reveal their spouse's secrets. This safeguards the privacy and sanctity of marriage by preventing one spouse from being coerced into testifying against the other in legal proceedings. Article 38 — Protecting Against Coerced Confessions In the realm of criminal cases, Article 38 is a linchpin. It declares that confessions made to police officers are inadmissible as evidence. This rule is in place to protect individuals from potential police coercion or intimidation, ensuring that confessions are voluntary and untainted. Article 44 — The Crucial Role of Cross-Examination Article 44 underscores the principle of cross-examination in legal proceedings, allowing the opposing party or their legal representative to question an accused person. This adversarial legal system practice enables the defence to scrutinize the credibility and reliability of witnesses. Article 59 — Expert Opinions Article 59 acknowledges the value of expert opinions in legal matters. It permits courts to seek the advice of experts in technical or specialized fields to understand complex evidence. This is particularly relevant in cases involving scientific, medical, or technical evidence, where the court may rely on experts to provide their insights. Article 67 — The Relevance of Previous Good Character in Criminal Cases In criminal cases, an accused person's previous good character becomes relevant when establishing credibility. If the accused has a history of good character, this can be presented as evidence to support their innocence. Article 67 ensures a fair consideration of the accused's background when determining guilt or innocence. Article 71 — The Need for Direct Oral Evidence Article 71 emphasizes the necessity for oral evidence to be straightforward and direct, discouraging vague or hearsay testimony. It mandates that witnesses present facts they have personally observed or experienced, which is crucial for maintaining the reliability and authenticity of the evidence. Article 73 — The Primacy of Primary Evidence Article 73 deals with the use of primary evidence, involving the presentation of original documents in court. Primary evidence is the most reliable form of proof, ensuring that the court considers the actual, unaltered documents in question. Article 85 — Public vs. Private Documents Article 85 distinguishes between public documents and private documents. Public documents, maintained by government offices, land revenue authorities, police records, and court files, hold special status as easily verifiable and reliable sources of evidence. In contrast, private documents, such as contracts and agreements, have a different level of reliability and must have their authenticity proven in court. Article 114 — The Doctrine of Estoppel Article 114 introduces the legal doctrine of estoppel, which prevents individuals from asserting something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement. This ensures that individuals cannot backtrack on their words or actions if it would be unjust or unfair to do so. Article 117 — Clarifying the Burden of Proof Article 117 clarifies the burden of proof in legal proceedings. It asserts that the party making an assertion is responsible for proving it. In criminal cases, the prosecution must establish the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, while in civil cases, the burden shifts depending on the issue at hand. Article 136 — The Role of Leading Questions Article 136 recognizes leading questions, which suggest the desired answer, often used in cross-examination to challenge witness credibility. Article 138 — When Leading Questions May Be Asked Article 138 outlines the timing and circumstances under which leading questions may be posed, primarily during cross-examination to scrutinize witness testimony and reveal inconsistencies or biases. In conclusion, Qanun-e-Shahadat is a critical legal framework that shapes the practice of law in Pakistan. The selected articles highlighted here represent some of the most essential principles and rules within the code. A profound understanding of their implications is indispensable for lawyers and advocates in their pursuit of justice and the protection of individual rights.