Difference Between Primary Evidence and Secondary Evidence

Evidence refers to proof/evidence of data or actual statistics that displays the validity or authenticity of a notion or proposition. Anything legally presented in court that establishes the truth of the matter.

Primary evidences are the primary sources of finding proofs or evidences while secondary evidences are duplicate or copy. These sources are of Secondary type.

The submission of primary evidence is the rule, and the submission of secondary evidence is an exception to the rule.

Primary Evidence vs Secondary Evidence

The difference between Primary Evidence and Secondary Evidence is that Primary evidence is at the the highest value from a legal point of view. On the other hand, secondary evidence is an alternative evidence that is used at the place of primary evidence”

Primary evidence refers to documents in genuine or standardized form that are presented to the court to verify validity and submitted for inspection.

It relies on the concept of best evidence. Documents must be presented to the court in original. Otherwise, the document is unreliable. It is considered the most authoritative copy as it has no alterations, additions or omissions.

Secondary evidence is inherently less important. These are presented when primary evidence is not available or cannot be presented in court under certain circumstances. This means that secondary evidence is evidence presented in lieu of primary evidence as provided for in Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Comparison Table between Primary Evidence and Secondary Evidence

Parameters of ComparisonPrimary EvidenceSecondary Evidence
SignificancePrimary evidence is the first valid copy of a document submitted to the court for examination.Secondary evidence is a less important copy of a document made in the absence of primary evidence.
Defined inSection 62 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872             Section 63 Indian Evidence Act, 1872
Source of natureThis is the main documentary evidence.This is an alternative source of evidence.
General rulePrimary Evidence is best evidence. The principle is to show primary evidence.It is evidence of a secondary nature and is admissible under Section 65 in exceptional circumstances. Providing Secondary Evidence Is an Exception to the General Rule
Value of evidencePrimary Evidence/proof has the highest value.The value of secondary evidence is not as high as the value of primary evidence.

What is Primary Evidence?

The primary evidence is the document itself submitted for inspection by the court.

According to Section 62, primary evidence is the highest class of evidence. Such evidence is the original to be submitted to the court for examination. It is allowed without notice. Such evidence should be presented to the court before secondary evidence.

Primary evidence more commonly known as the best evidence. It is the easiest to confirm the existence of an object because it is authentic. This is in contrast to secondary evidence, which is a duplicate or substitute for the original. If a party has access to primary evidence that person must present it as evidence.

These primary sources/evidences give us unique insights into the past. We can better understand how events affected people’s emotions and how people were feeling about them at the time.

What is Secondary Evidence?

As stated in Section 63, secondary evidence is considered a substandard type of evidence. It suggests that primary evidence should be provided to fill gaps even after secondary evidence has been produced. Such evidence may be submitted in the absence of primary evidence. In any event if secondary evidence is accepted without objection within a reasonable time, no party reserves the right to claim that facts were established with the aid of secondary evidence rather than primary evidence.

Secondary evidence is evidence that has been reproduced from the original document or that has replaced the original item. For example, copies of documents and photographs are considered secondary evidence. Another example is exact replicas of engine parts that were included in automobiles. If the engine parts are not the same engine parts that were inside the vehicle involved in the incident, this is secondary evidence.

Main Differences Between Primary Evidence and Secondary Evidence

Key pints of Primary Evidence

1. 62 define primary evidence.

2. The primary evidence is the document itself presented for examination by the court.

3. Primary evidence is admissible in court.

4. The opponent has no such right at the time the primary evidence is presented.

5. Primary evidence is the best evidence.

Key points of Secondary Evidence

1. 63 define secondary evidence or certification.

2. Secondary Evidence:

(a) Certified copy.

(b) A copy made exactly from the original by mechanical means.

(c) Copies made from or compared to the original.

(d) Document Counterpart.

(e) Oral presentation of the contents of a document given by a person.

3. Under the provisions of section 63 and 65 If someone don’t have primary evidence , only at that point secondary evidence is allowed or justifiable.

4. Upon presentation of secondary evidence, the opposing party has the right to object.

5. Secondary evidence is inferior and less important to primary evidence.


Evidence is a basic proof of every case, irrespective of whether or not it’s criminal or a civil case it approves a fact. The records may be applied in proof for selecting simply as proving the disputed records. Primary evidence is the first valid copy of a document submitted to the court for inspection. Secondary evidence is an alternative but less important copy of a document that is made when primary evidence is unavailable.

The evidence itself is admissible in court. In this way, extraordinary varieties of proof may be applied for proving and disproving records. Besides, proof allows in checking down the time committed to a selected case. In this manner, it has a tendency to be presumed that the proof is for judicial behavior just like the reasoning for logic. Proof is a reality that demonstrates something to be actual or true. Evidence is facts that could lead one to agree with something to be actual or true.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744165X12000273
  2. https://www.bmj.com/content/325/7372/1082.1.short
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