Country: India

I know that there is the statute of limitation for getting legal remedy in a case. But what if there is a recent case but the evidence for it belongs to a previous time? e.g., let us assume that A's action against B in recent times can be only explained by old evidences that prove that A's action was actually an act of revenge against B (e.g. old letters, emails, records of dispute in the employer's files etc). Is the evidence submissible ? Or is there any time bar against the evidence too, as the evidence might be old and A might be using delatory tactics so that the evidence gets old and he can take his venegeance

2 Answers 2


I'm not familiar with Indian law. However, as a general principle which should apply in most, if not all, jurisdictions, limitation periods apply to date by which you must bring your case to court. They do not relate to evidence.

With that said, courts attach weight to evidence. Depending on the context, older evidence may be given more or less weight. For example, witness testimony based on events from years ago may be seen as less credible as it relies on memory. On the other hand, written evidence which is contemporaneous (from the same time as the facts it evidences) may be more valuable than more recent evidence for the same reason - it is more likely to be accurate.

"A might be using delatory tactics so that the evidence gets old and he can take his venegeance"

Rules of court may punish such behaviour. For example, in , paragraph 4 of the practice direction for pre-action conduct states:

A pre-action protocol or this Practice Direction must not be used by a party as a tactical device to secure an unfair advantage over another party. Only reasonable and proportionate steps should be taken by the parties to identify, narrow and resolve the legal, factual or expert issues.

Breaching such a rule shouldn't affect the outcome of your case, but it can have cost implications.

  • Thanks for your response, the thing is, I did a minor whistleblowing against that colleague and informed the authorities about some of his bad actions. As he had the power to terminate me at that time, he threatened to do so, but he didn't do that as that would imply that he accepts the allegations made against him to be true. However, the institute authorities didn't take any action against him inspite of my whistleblowing, neither did he terminate me at that time. But now I have got a termination letter due to a completely different reason but have been given the option to reappeal Sep 7, 2021 at 14:10
  • But I need his recommendation in the reappeal and I think he might not cooperate because of that early clash with him. Also I don't know if my whistleblowing case can be proceeded legaly anymore or not as the statutory limit of that colleague's action is over but the case is still pending under the institute authorities. Therefore I cannot take legal action about what the colleague has done in the past Sep 7, 2021 at 14:14

Is the evidence submissible?

Evidence is almost certainly not inadmissible simply because it is old.

For example, in issues of disputed real estate title and charitable foundations, very old evidence is routinely considered.

As a practical matter, the more time passes, the harder it is to secure admissible evidence. Witnesses die. Witnesses memories of what happened become unreliable. Documents are lost or destroyed. Old photos and documents are degraded over time because they are not acid free. Old electronically stored evidence becomes harder to access due to the relevant hardware and software become outdated and unavailable. It becomes harder to authenticate old physical evidence.

But, in principle, there is no specific deadline equivalent to a statute of limitations that forbids the admission of old evidence or evidence of things that happened long ago.

For some claims, the equitable doctrine of laches can bar claims where lack of diligence by the person bringing the claim has made it difficult or impossible to secure evidence to defend against the claim that would have been available if the suit were brought sooner, even if it is not otherwise barred by a statute of limitations. See, e.g., this example of laches in trademark law in India. See also here (in the context of actions related to Article 32 of the Constitution of India).

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