Actori Incumbit Onus Probandi

“Actori Incumbit Onus Probandi”

Literal meaning:-

The burden of proof lies on the plaintiff.


The origin of this Maxim can be traced in ancient Roman law.


In simple terms maxim states that the burden of prove is on the person who affirms and not on him who denies.

 Every plaintiff at law or complainant at equity must show a good title or claim before he can prevail in his suit. (Murfrees’s Lessee v. Logan, 2 Tenn.220,224). The claimant bears the burden of proof, which has to prove the aspects of their claim.

Also Read: Exceptio Probat Regulam

In a civil proceeding, the court leads the investigation, but it has to be done by the plaintiff, who is obliged to submit to the court all the proof and evidence he/she has got. Mere filing of a case is not enough to win a case, but it also needed to be supported with strong and enough evidence which would convince the jury.

In criminal proceedings, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecutor. The scope and the subject matter of burden of proof could include the issues related to evidence as well as pleadings.


Kuthalinga Nadar vs. D.D.Murugesan 

In this case, legal maxim Actori incumbit onus probandi is used to render judgement. The second appeal is filed by the original plaintiff according to him the suit second item property (7 cents) forms part of suit first item property. According to the plaintiff, the defendant interfered with the enjoyment of the second suit item (7 cents). The court said that the burden of proof was on the plaintiff to prove that Rama Nadar (Plaintiff’s vendor’s vendor) had owned 27 cents of land, so the second appeal was dismissed by the High Court of Madras.


M/S Ram Lal Bansiwal & Sons vs. Sh. Prem Gupta

Even in cases which are uncontested, the propounder does not get absolved of his duty to establish the relevant facts, which constitute the genesis of his claim, by some credible evidence. The rule of law is ‘actori incumbit onus probandi’ i.e. the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff or the prosecution. Mere absence of the adversary does not ipso­facto means that he or she has acquiesced in the existence of or the truth of the facts pleaded in the plaint. Such absence of defendant does not by itself justify a presumption that the plaintiff’s case is true.

Sh. Kedar Nath Kohli vs Sh. Sardul Singh

The rule of law is ‘actori incumbit onus probandi’ i.e. the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff or the prosecution. The plaintiff’s case has to stand on its own legs and the plaintiff cannot claim his claim to be established on account of the weakness of the defendant’s case.

Also Read: Actus legis nemini facit injuriam

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