Privilege in the legal context refers to the exemption from being compelled to answer certain questions or provide specific information, even if one is a competent witness. Sections 121-129 establish the framework for Privileged Communications under Indian Evidence Act.
- PRIVILEGE OF JUDGES AND MAGISTRATES (SECTION 121)
Judges and Magistrates enjoy protection from being compelled to provide evidence regarding:
- Their conduct in relation to a case they presided over.
- Any information acquired in their capacity as a court during a trial. This protection can only be bypassed with a special order from a higher court.
- COMMUNICATION DURING MARRIAGE (SECTION 122)
This section safeguards communications between spouses made during their marriage, regardless of whether the marriage is still intact. Even if a spouse volunteers, they cannot disclose such communications. The law prohibits disclosure, but it doesn’t prevent such communication from being proved through other means, such as conduct.
3.EVIDENCE AS TO AFFAIRS OF THE STATE (SECTION 123)
Individuals are barred from providing evidence derived from Unpublished Official Records concerning state affairs without obtaining permission from the head of the relevant department. Permission can only be withheld on grounds of potential harm to public interest.
- OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION (SECTION 124)
Public officers have the privilege of not disclosing communications made to them in official confidence if they believe that revealing such information would harm the public interest. They can voluntarily waive this privilege, and no objections can be raised against their disclosure.
- INFORMATION AS TO COMMISSION OF OFFENSE (SECTION 125)
Police officers and Magistrates initiating a case are protected from disclosing who provided them with information about the offense being committed. Similarly, revenue officers cannot be questioned about the source of their information.
- PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION (SECTION 126-129)
Legal professionals, including attorneys, vakils, pleaders, and legal advisors, are strictly forbidden from disclosing, without their client’s consent:-
- Any communication made to them during the course of and for the purpose of their employment.
- The contents or conditions of documents that came to their knowledge during their employment.
- Any advice given to their client during the course and for the purpose of their employment.
SECTION 127 extends this privilege to the clerks, interpreters, and servants of these legal professionals.
SECTION 128 clarifies that merely calling a lawyer as a witness doesn’t waive the privilege unless the client themselves questions the lawyer regarding the communication.
In essence, Sections 121-129 are Privileged Communications of the Indian Evidence Act,which are instrumental in safeguarding confidential information within the Indian legal system. These provisions encompass various forms of communication, including those between judges, spouses, government officials, and legal professionals. By upholding confidentiality, they bolster trust and maintain the integrity of sensitive information while promoting the principles of justice.