I have seen in many movies, people keep their hands on a book of Bhagavad Gita and assure that they will tell the truth.

  • Is Bhagvat Gita used in court?
  • Why are Ramayana, Vedas, Mahabharata & other scriptures not chosen?
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    This question is about practice of Indian courts which is off-topic. – The Destroyer Dec 27 '17 at 9:58

This may not be answered from scriptures. Because swearing by Gita is not mentioned in any scriptures.

Who to swear in what ways, while giving witnesses before a judge, are clearly laid down in the Manu Smriti as follows:

8.113. Let the (judge) cause a Brahmana to swear by his veracity, a Kshatriya by his chariot or the animal he rides on and by his weapons, a Vaisya by his kine, grain, and gold, and a Sudra by (imprecating on his own head the guilt) of all grievous offences (pataka).

8.114. Or the (judge) may cause the (party) to carry fire or to dive under water, or severally to touch the heads of his wives and children.

8.115. He whom the blazing fire burns not, whom the water forces not to come (quickly) up, who meets with no speedy misfortune, must be held innocent on (the strength of) his oath.

8.116. For formerly when Vatsa was accused by his younger brother, the fire, the spy of the world, burned not even a hair (of his) by reason of his veracity.

So, these are all the methods of swearing prescribed by the scriptures.


"Is Bhagvat Gita really used in the court for oath taking?"

Yes. Also, one can choose other scriptures/gods like Ramayana, Vedas, Quran, Bible, ...

According to Indian court laws, a person is free to take oath on any holy book of his/her liking. Atheists or children are free to not choose any book at all.

Oaths Act-1969, a person can either swear in the name of God or solemnly affirm to state the truth while either deposing in a court or filing an affidavit or any other application before a court. [source]

As per Law commission of India's "Indian Oaths act", Report 28, there was a proposal to make the oaths uniform.


The main purpose of the court for a victim/convict/witness -- is to be "truthful". Let it be reasoned with the God's name, as India is a religious country. (i.e. "Say the truth for the God's sake")
Many people in India believe in lord Krishna and Gita is the most famous work associated with Krishna. Hence, court expects that by remembering almighty, the person due to morality, would not lie.

Some references are taken from here.

Lighter note:

Sometimes there are multiple sides of truth. Gita is not a Dharma-shAstra per se, hence it may create tricky situations for such oath taking.

  • Imagine if a murderer attains yoga state with Brahman, while speaking in the court. He may say that, "I am not the murderer", as per BG 3.27, 5.8, 5.9!

    "'I' certainly don't do anything" is believed by knower of fundamentals (tattva gyAna) - even while seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, dreaming, breathing, talking, discarding, accepting, opening, closing; ...

  • What if the criminal wants to become a Yogi while being presented in court! He may give up all the Sankalpa (thoughts or vows), which includes the vow/oath being taken just then (BG 6.2, 6.4, 6.24)!

    O PAndava, what is said as "SannyAsa", know it to be Yoga; Anyone without retiring from vows (sankalpa), doesn't become Yogi.

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    @Rickross, the question is about Indian courts, hence the reference also has to be relevant. I got the hint from Quora, but the content is not copy pasted from there. It's sourced to another article. To me the Qn is OK. It's a "culture" based Qn and not about whether it's right or wrong. For example, if someone asks: "What was Heinrich Himmler's interpretation of Gita?", then it can't be found in our traditional scriptures, but it will be there in wikipedia & other such articles about that Nazi leader. – iammilind Dec 27 '17 at 9:32
  • If a Q can not be answered other than by citing court laws then obviously it does not belong here. But if we can answer it, at least in the negative, from scriptures then that Q still adds some value to the site.. – Rickross Dec 27 '17 at 9:34
  • The first part of the Q "Is.... for taking oath?" is clearly off-topic. that's why i have not answered it. "Why" is not because we can answer it in the negative. By saying that there is no such scriptural injunctions. Your main answer is for the first part which is off-topic. – Rickross Dec 27 '17 at 9:53

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