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Evidence Act 1950 [Act 56]

120 Parties to civil suits and wives and husbands

(1) In all civil proceedings the parties to the suit, and the husband or wife of any party to the suit, shall be competent witnesses.

(2) In criminal proceedings against any person the husband or wife of that person respectively shall be a competent witness.

(3) In criminal proceedings the accused shall be a competent witness in his own behalf, and may give evidence in the same manner and with the like effect and consequences as any other witness:

Provided that, so far as the cross-examination relates to the credit of the accused, the court may limit the cross-examination to such extent as it thinks proper, although the proposed cross-examination might be permissible in the case of any other witness.

121 Judges, Sessions Court Judges and Magistrates

No Judge and, except upon the special order of the High Court, no Sessions Court Judge or Magistrate shall be compelled to answer any questions as to his own conduct in court as Judge, Sessions Court Judge or Magistrate or as to anything which came to his knowledge in court as a Judge, Sessions Court Judge or Magistrate; but he may be examined as to other matters which occurred in his presence whilst he was so acting.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) A, on his trial before the High Court, says that a deposition was improperly taken by B, the committing Magistrate. B cannot be compelled to answer questions as to this except upon the special order of the High Court.

(b) A is accused before a Sessions Court of having given false evidence before B, a Sessions Court Judge. B cannot be compelled to say what A said except upon the special order of the High Court.

(c) A is accused of attempting to murder a police officer whilst on his trial before B, a Judge of the High Court. B may be examined as to what occurred.

122 Communications during marriage

No person who is or has been married shall be compelled to disclose any communication made to him during marriage by any person to whom he is or has been married; nor shall he be permitted to disclose any such communication unless the person who made it or his representative in interest consents, except in suits between married persons or proceedings in which one married person is prosecuted for any crime committed against the other.

123 Evidence as to affairs of State

No one shall be permitted to produce any unpublished official records relating to affairs of State, or to give any evidence derived therefrom, except with the permission of the officer at the head of the department concerned, who shall give or withold permission as he thinks fit, subject, however, to the control of a Minister in the case of a department of the Government of Malaysia, and of the Chief Minister in the case of a department of a State Government.

124 Official communications

No public officer shall be compelled to disclose communications made to him in official confidence when he considers that the public interest would suffer by the disclosure:

Provided that the court may require the head of the department of the officer to certify in writing whether or not such disclosure would be detrimental to the public interest and, if the head of the department certifies that such disclosure would not be prejudicial to the public interest, then the officer shall disclose the communications.

125 Information as to commission of offences

No Sessions Court Judge, Magistrate or police officer shall be compelled to say whence he got any information as to the commission of any offence, and no revenue officer shall be compelled to say whence he got any information as to the commission of any offence against the public revenue or the excise laws.

Explanation-"revenue officer" in this section means any officer employed in or about the business of any branch of the public revenue.

126 Professional communications

(1) No advocate shall at any time be permitted, unless with his client's express consent, to disclose any communication made to him in the course and for the purpose of his employment as such advocate by or on behalf of his client, or to state the contents or condition of any document with which he has become acquainted in the course and for the purpose of his professional employment, or to disclose any advice given by him to his client in the course and for the purpose of such employment:

Provided that nothing in this section shall protect from disclosure-

(a) any such communication made in furtherance of any illegal purpose;

(b) any fact observed by any advocate in the course of his employment as such showing that any crime or fraud has been committed since the commencement of his employment.


(2) It is immaterial whether the attention of the advocate was or was not directed to the fact by or on behalf of his client.

Explanation-The obligation stated in this section continues after the employment has ceased.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) A, a client, says to B, an advocate: "I have committed forgery and I wish you to defend me."

As the defence of a man known to be guilty is not a criminal purpose this communication is protected from disclosure.

(b) A, a client, says to B, an advocate: "I wish to obtain possession of property by the use of a forged deed on which I request you to sue."

This communication being made in furtherance of a criminal purpose is not protected from disclosure.

(c) A, being charged with embezzlement, retains B, an advocate, to defend him. In the course of the proceedings B observes that an entry has been made in A's account book, charging A with the sum said to have been embezzled, which entry was not in the book at the commencement of his employment.

This being a fact observed by B in the course of his employment, showing that a fraud has been committed since the commencement of the proceedings, it is not protected from disclosure.

127 Section 126 to apply to interpreters, etc.

Section 126 shall apply to interpreters and the clerks or servants of advocates.

128 Privilege not waived by volunteering evidence

If any party to a suit gives evidence therein at his own instance or otherwise, he shall not be deemed to have consented thereby to such disclosure as is mentioned in section 126; and if any party to a suit or proceeding calls any such advocate as a witness, he shall be deemed to have consented to the disclosure, only if he questions the advocate on matters which but for such question he would not be at liberty to disclose.

129 Confidential communications with legal advisers

No one shall be compelled to disclose to the court any confidential communication which has taken place between him and his legal professional adviser unless he offers himself as a witness, in which case he may be compelled to disclose any such communications as may appear to the court necessary to be known in order to explain any evidence which he has given, but no others.


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