It is human nature to wish upon stars and swear upon things. When you want to prove that you’re saying the truth, you’ll swear upon your life and will generally take it to close relatives as well. “Swearing on your mother” is probably the highest level or affirmation of truth there is. However, when you go into the court of law to prove the truth and falsity of something, simple a swear won’t suffice. In the eyes of law, a truth is only a truth which the person affirms as the truth. And even this is not limited to oral acceptances. When you say you believe something to be true, and something you know is a fact to the best of your knowledge, you need a document to affirm that. This is an affidavit.
In relatively simple legal terms an affidavit is a statement of facts that are sworn to and signed by the “deponent” who is the person making the affidavit. However, merely writing something as a fact is not enough. One also needs to do this in the proper prescribed legal format in front of an authority who has the power legitimize this oath. It can’t just be your best friend, it has to be a notary officer. It is a sort of written version of the oath you might take in the court by placing your hand on the Bhagwad Gita.
What needs to be remembered is that an affidavit is not just a statement of facts. It is what you believe to be true. It is what you think of as the truth. Thus, lying on these affidavits is a punishable offense. Thus, if you say your name is “A”, while knowing that it in fact is actually “B” it will be taken as lying on oath and you will be fined or imprisoned for this offense. One of the mot basic things to remember is that when you sign an affidavit (o any legal document for that matter) you need to be sure of its content before you sign it. Once a document is signed, it is binding on the parties involved unless in the rare cases where the court allows the appeal of it being fraudulent or signed under false pretenses. However, precaution is better than cure and it is much better to avoid getting into litigation at all in the first place.
The origin of affidavit is from the British Era of distrust where the Crown thought it necessary and prudent to have the colonies back up their word in writing. When you look at it the normal way, it is obvious that we still need affidavits to prove what we say in the eyes of the Government. The mistrust still continues however, in today’s time, it is seen as a necessary evil more than an inconvenience. It may not be absolutely essential as a simple declaration serves the same purpose as well but in law, an affidavit is more sound proof. Most individuals sign affidavits without even really knowing that they are affidavits. A voter enrollment card is a type of affidavit since you should swear that the data you're providing is valid and lying on this document is an offense. Despite the fact that a voter registration card is not verified by a legal official, it is marked by a legal agent or other authority with the power to witness the promise.
It is likewise regular for colleges and universities to require an announcement of residency from students applying for understudies. Students that live in the city or town or area where the college or school is situated are charged lesser educational cost, so they are required to sign an announcement of residency demonstrating that they dwell in that state, which is, basically, an affidavit. While making your passport as well a number of annexures are required for stating different things and these annexures, once signed and notarized, become an affidavit as well. Change of name, proof of age, etc are only a couple of examples one can make an affidavit for. The originals of these affidavits must always be preserved as they hold the highest argumentative value. These are basic documents and their photocopies will not be held in nearly the same regard as the original. Generally, such affidavits are made outside of local magistrate courts where the lawyers have formats ready and one need only provide their personal information to finalize the affidavits. However, now this process is carried out online as well where you may book an agent for yourself who drafts and notarizes the affidavit for you while you only need to provide signatures.
As of today, it may be a system which is slowly going out of practice but it can very well still be around for many more years. The power of oath is what it lies on and till this power is valued, the affidavits will continue to be accepted as a valid mode of truth.