A sworn statement of fact written voluntarily by a deponent or an affiant under an affirmation or oath administered by an authorized person by following the law is called an Affidavit. This statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the deponent’s signature by a taker of the oaths, like the commissioner of the oaths or the notary club. Affidavit is derived from the Medieval Latin word which means ‘a person declared upon oath’. It is a verified statement that has a verification meaning that is under the penalty of perjury and is used as evidence of its authenticity. It is used for the preceding in the Court. It is written in the first person or third person form in a stamp paper. A notarized affidavit includes a caption, along with the title and venue in reference to the court proceeding. An introductory clause is called a preamble is included in which the deponent will appear before the authenticating officials.
In India, according to Section 3 under the Evidence Act, an affidavit is considered as proof, but the court has no jurisdiction to accept affidavit as evidence. Then, the Supreme Court said that an affidavit can be considered as evidence only with the orders of sufficient reasons.
Any misguiding information written in the affidavit can lead to the perjury charges or penalty against the deponent, but if they have missed or forgot to include some of the information, then they are not penalized. If any statement mentioned by the deponent in the affidavit does not have any evidence or if it has no established fact, then the affiant has to mention it as their opinion in the statement.
Features of an Affidavit
- The affidavit should be a written document because it is used in the Court as a record. Thus the affiant who made the document is sworn to the contents stated in the affidavit.
- The declaration of the affidavit must be made only by an individual; it cannot be created by a group of individuals or associations or any other companies.
- Statement of facts mentioned in the document should not be based on mere assumptions or interferences, it must relate to the exact facts.
- The statement of facts stated in the affidavit must be sworn in the presence of a magistrate or an officer who has the authority to administer the oaths.
- The statement of facts is divided into paragraphs and is numbered accordingly and is confined to a certain portion of the subject and it is attested by the respective authority.
- Except the defendant or plaintiff in the suit, every other person must be mentioned in the affidavit. This includes the details such as, name of the person, their father’s name, their profession and residence.
- If a person wants to write about the facts within their knowledge, they have to add the words ‘I make oath any say’ or ‘I affirm’ in their affidavit.
- If the fact included in the affidavit is not under the affiant’s knowledge, but is stated from the facts mentioned by others, they have to use ‘I am informed’ expression and also must include the statement ‘and verily believe it to be true’ or they can also add the source from which they acquired the details.
- If the information stated in the affidavit is procured from the court or any other source, they have to mention about the source of the information.
- It should not contain any vague beliefs or assumptions, but the Interlocutory Applications that are submitted in the civil proceedings can depend on the belief of the affiant.
An individual who is able to understand the nature of the content and has attained majority can create an affidavit. They should be capable of knowing the facts mentioned in the document and should not be insane.
Need for an affidavit
When there is a reason to swear an oath the affidavit is needed, some of the examples are property disputes, divorce proceedings, debt cases and for passport requirements. One can make use of the affidavit in the cases like changing their names, loss of original documents or certificates and so on. And also in the Courts it can be used as a proof or evidence.
Affidavits in India
There are some affidavits used in India, like
- Name and Address affidavits
- General name change affidavit
- Change of name after marriage affidavit
- Change of name of minor affidavit
- Address proof affidavit
- One and the same person affidavit
- Change of signature affidavit
- Proof of Date of birth affidavit
- Change of name of minor
- Personal Affidavits
- Income proof affidavit
- Marriage registration
- Joint affidavit for registration of marriage
- Affidavit for claim settlement in bank
- Affidavit for duplicate license
- Domicile Affidavit
- Affidavit for Declaration of Non-criminal record
- Student Affidavit
- Common College Affidavit
- Affidavit for education loan
- Affidavit for anti ragging
- Affidavit for duplicate mark list
- Affidavit for gap in education
- Other Affidavit
- Passport affidavit (annexure A to M)
- Authority letter for passport
- Gas Affidavit
- Gap in employment
- Custom Affidavit
- PF cum Indemnity bond
- An affidavit must have the following components.
- It must be in first person and the deponent should affirm the contents mentioned in the document are true.
- If the law allows, the person can either declare or affirm instead of swearing.
- It mustbe signed before an authorized official who administers the oaths.
- If the affiant is unacquainted with the language or illiterate or blind, a certificate must be submitted by the person who is receiving the affidavit in which they must mention that the document was explained, read or translated in the presence of the affiant and their signature or mark will appear at the bottom of the affidavit which signifies that they understood the matter stated in it.
- The end of the affidavit document should contain the full name of the affiant and signature, a statement that indicates that it is sworn or not, date and place where it is authorized and the full name and designation of the attesting officer.
The affiant can attach documents along with the affidavit because they refer to other documents for support and it is called as exhibits to the annexure or affidavit. If the content has more than one or more pages in the document, all the pages must be numbered and must contain a statement signed by the authorized personal.
Points to remember
- The affidavit must be notarized and while writing the name in the affidavit, the affiant must mention their full name by writing their last name first. The last name should be in uppercase.
- Apart from writing the dates in the affidavit, they have to write in words to avoid confusion because of the date format followed in different countries.
- Beneficiary is the person, whose event is proven while affiant is the person who is affirming the event and signing the affidavit.
- The stamp pare in which the affidavit is stated must be a Rs.20 stamp paper, it can be even higher than Rs.20 but not lesser than that.