We all have come across the word ‘Affidavit’ at least once in our lifetime but are we aware of what it signifies and how it can be put to use? Well, in this article we shall deal with and cover all the important aspects that are required and are related to the term ‘Affidavit’.
What is an affidavit?
According to its Latin roots the term affidavit translates to “he or she has made a pledge”. Further, the term is a root of ‘affiance’ an archaic English noun meaning “trust, faith, confidence”. In the modern era, an affidavit is a document that certifies the truth of a statement. It is a sworn written declaration or statement made by a person who is signing it. It can be used in many ways as per the needs and requirement in different legal contexts.
An affidavit is made under affirmation or oath before a Magistrate or an authorized officer. It must contain the person’s full name, address and date of birth. This document is considered as essential when an authority needs to verify the accuracy of the information being provided therein. According to the laws of India, an affidavit is also referred as an attestation. It is used to establish the truth of facts stated during or in a legal proceeding. It can also act as evidence in a case or support/oppose a claim/argument being made in court.
Types of affidavits
In India there are three main types of Affidavits:
- Oral affidavit
They are generally used in situations where a dispute or conflict arises among the parties.
- Written affidavit
These are generally used when parties among whom a dispute has taken place needs to present evidence in front of the court or government authority.
- Certified affidavit
They are used in places where the accuracy of documents is considered of most importance.
Essential features of an Affidavit
- First Person
Affidavits are not made on behalf of a person. The Declarations need to be done by the deponent himself/herself.
Facts mentioned in an affidavit should be true to the best knowledge of the deponent. They should not be based on any assumptions.
- Individual Declaration
An affidavit is only created by an individual and not for any artificial person.
- Sworn before Magistrate or Authorized Officer
In order to make the Affidavit valid it must be sworn in under oath and before a magistrate or authorized officer.
Common affidavits used in India
- A self-proving will
It is used as proof of the validity of a will. It is signed by an individual along with two witnesses.
When a person loses or misplaces their birth certificate, this affidavit confirms the information regarding that individual’s birth. This affidavit must be attested by the biological relatives or the attending practitioner. It must also state the relationship between such people and the individual.
It is a declaration stating that he/she is aware of the methods of record keeping with the creditor regarding debts.
This affidavit is used to confirm that the individual is a legal resident of a particular state or country.
This affidavit verifies and confirms the financial information provided by an individual. This includes all the assets, income, liabilities, expenses etc.
In the event a person dies without making a will then such affidavits are made to claim the inheritance of the deceased person’s assets.
- Identity Theft
In case of a person’s identity being stolen this affidavit assists the victim by notifying its creditors, banks, financial institutions and other organizations of the same.
Further, the affidavits can be made for the following:
- Lost a Document,
- Power of attorney,
- Support, Residence,
- For no criminal offence,
- For first born,
- Name change, etc.
What happens when you file a false affidavit?
Making a false affidavit or submitting a fake affidavit as evidence before a court of law is a crime. Swearing a false affidavit can bring over a person a charge of Perjury. The provisions that cover the consequences of filing a false affidavit are found under sections 191,193, 195 and 199 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Important things to remember when writing an affidavit
This contains all the specific details such as name and information regarding the case.
- Identity statement
Talks about an individual’s identity (address and age) and provides as an introduction to the Court.
- Truth statement
This section includes the statement and information provided by the induvial which he/she swears to be correct and true to the best of his/her knowledge.
- Fact Statement
These paragraph(s) contain the facts. Each paragraph should contain only one fact along with its necessary details.
- Final Statement
This is where the individual swears for the second time stating that the above-mentioned information provided is correct.
- Sign and Notarize
The last section contains the signature of the individual along with the witness followed by date and notarization.
An affidavit can be created for any simple purpose. They help save time, money and energy in various legal circumstances. Affidavits are also used by people to solve and resolve issues and stay away and clear from legal snares. For instance, an affidavit may be used when an individual’s presence is required in court or legal proceedings or make a formal statement as a witness in the case.