Oath Against Oath

It may not always be safe for a Writ Court to decide issues and facts having great impact on general public or a large part of it only on basis of Oath against Oath.”

– Hon’ble Justice Dipak Misra, Riju Prasad Sharma v. State of Assam, [Civil Appeal Nos. 3276-3278 of 2013].

‘Oath against Oath’ is an interesting phrase. Court will rather believe Plaintiff’s oath than Defendant’s oath, if there is Oath against Oath; because it is supposed, Plaintiff, forced to fly to law, had wrong done to him and Defendant may be supposed to swear falsely to protect himself from justice of law. This is no rule though.

Saw Wah v. Queen, [2014] VSCA 7 held recently: “importance of evidence of good character is sometimes underrated. In a case involving Oath against Oath, such evidence can be of particular significance.

By end of 18th Century evidence of good character was constantly admitted. “A remarkable instance is provided by trial of Arthur O’Connor for high treason in 1798 where Mr. Erskine was one of a large number of distinguished persons who testified to prisoner’s character for loyalty. Erskine, indeed, in course of his evidence, stated, with choice before him of defending Mr. O’Connor or of giving evidence as to his good character, he chose the latter, and Attorney-General, Sir John Scott, told the Jury, in all doubtful cases, character ought to have very considerable weight indeed.”