How Much of a Statement is to be Proved (Section 39)

Section 39: What evidence to be given when statement forms part of a conversation, document, electronic record, book or series of letters or papers

When any statement of which evidence is given forms part of a longer statement, or of a conversation or part of an isolated document, or is contained in a document which forms part of a book, or is contained in part of electronic record or of a connected series of letters or papers, evidence shall be given of so much and no more of the statement, conversation, document, electronic record, book or series of letters or papers as the Court considers necessary in that particular case to the full understanding of the nature and effect of the statement, and of the circumstances under which it was made.


1. Meaning of ‘Statement’ :

Bhogilal Chunilal Pandya v. State of Bombay, AIR 1959 SC 356 : “The primary meaning of the word ‘statement’ to be found in Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and Webster’s New World Dictionary is ‘something that is stated’. Another meaning that is given in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is ‘written or oral communication’. There is no doubt that a statement may be made to someone in the sense of a communication…………………The word ‘statement’ has been used in a number of sections of the Act in its primary meaning of ‘something that is stated’ and that meaning should be given to it under Section 157 also unless there is something that cuts down that meaning for the purpose of that section. Words are generally used in the same sense throughout in a statute unless there is something repugnant in the context.”



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