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The Oaths Act, 1969

The Oaths Act, 1969 (Act No. 44 of 1969) dated 26th December, 1969, being the Act of Parliament was enacted to provide for consolidation and amendment of the law relating to ‘Judicial oaths’ and for other relevant purposes. The said Act was intended to extend over all India but should not be extended over State Of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act was further, intended to enact on 20th year of Republic of India. Prior to this enactment, there was an earlier enactment dealing with same subject, namely, The Indian Oaths Act, 1873, however, the 28th report of Law Commission on Indian Oaths Act, 1873 dated 28th May, 1965 provides for a detailed analysis on the provisions of Act of 1873 and suggested many recommendations as to amendment and even provided a simple draft bill of new Act. Consequently, the Act of 1969 was enacted taking those recommendations.

Section 2 of the Act deals with certain oaths, declarations and affirmations or any proceedings before Courts Martial, prescribed by the Central Government in respect to the members of Armed Forces of Union, should not be affected by the giving effect to the provisions of this Act.

Section 3 is important so far as it is relating to the provisions as to administering oaths. The powers as to administering oaths is given to every Courts and persons vested with authority either by law or by the consent of the parties to receive evidence, the commanding officer of any military, naval or air force station or ship occupied by Armed Forces of Union vested with authority to administered the oaths or affirmations within their limits of station. Similarly, any Court, Judge or Magistrate or even a person can administer the oaths and affirmations for affidavit purposes, if those were empowered by High Court or State Government for judicial or other affidavits.

Similarly, such Oaths and affirmations are required to be made by every witnesses, while giving evidences before the Court, by person came before the Court as interpreters of questions or of evidences given before such Court, by Jurors. However, the provisions of Section 5 of this Act should not be applicable to the witnesses, being child under the age of 12 years and Court or person examining them if is of opinion that the witnesses though can understand duty of speaking truth, but not the nature of oath or affirmation, however, the truth spoken by them should not be treated as inadmissible in evidence. Similarly, the oath or affirmation to the accused person, in the Criminal Proceedings, should not be treated lawful unless he is examined as a witness for defence, or otherwise. Similarly, Section 5 says that the witnesses or interpreters or even juror who can make affirmation though they can make oath.

Similarly, section 6 of the Act states that, every such oaths and affirmations should always be administered under the forms given or provided under Schedule annexed with the Act. There are several Forms of oaths and affirmations given under aforesaid Schedule, and out of such forms, the one which suits to the circumstances of the case should be taken and oaths or affirmation should be administered in that form. However, if a witness under judicial proceedings wishes to administered oath or solemn affirmations in common form or even if such form is considered binding by persons of class to which such deponent belongs and such form is not against justice, etc., then such form can be allowed to administered oaths or affirmations by that person being deponent. Such oaths and affirmations made in the forms as aforesaid should be administered by presiding officer of the Court.

If there is any omission to take any oath or as to making of any affirmation or there is irregularity in taking oath or making affirmations or even in the form, in which the oath or affirmation is required to make, then the proceedings or evidence should not be invalidate or considered inadmissible, as provided under Section 7.

The Section 8 is very important so as to consider the significant of the oath or affirmation, as whenever any person administered oath or make any affirmation then such person is required as his bounden duty to state the truth only, relating to the matter on which he is administrating or making oath or affirmation.

Section 9 of the Act deals with repealing and saving provisions provided under the Act, wherein, the most important enactment of early years relating to oaths was taken to repeal i.e. The Indian Oaths Act, 1873 (Act No. 1873). However, if any person or party to the proceedings agreed to be bound under such oath or affirmation specified under Section 8 of the Act, then such repeal provision should not be applied to such case and Section 9 to 12 of the Act of 1873 should continue to be applied in such cases.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.