indian evidence act notes
LEGAL PROVISIONS AS PER THE INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT, 1872 AND RELEVANT CASE LAWS:-
The indian evidence act notes have been provided in this article for you to study. The relevant provisions of the Evidence Act are stated in brief hereunder for convenience:
In Section 3 a fact is said to be proved when after considering the matters before it, the Court either believed it to exist or considers its existence so probable that a prudent matter ought, under the circumstance of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists. Similarly, Disproved and Not proved are also defined thereunder.
Section 61, under the heading “Of Documentary Evidence” states that the contents of document may be proved either by primary or secondary evidence.
Section 62 states that primary evidence means the document itself produced for the inspection of the Court.
Section 63 relates to secondary evidence and states that secondary evidence includes, inter alia, certified, photocopy, and oral accounts of the contents of a document given by some person who has himself seen it.
Section 64 requires that documents must be proved by primary evidence except in the cases thereinafter mentioned.
Section 65 narrates those cases where secondary evidence may be of the existence, condition or contents of a document.
But it must be noted that the Courts in plethora of cases have held that the mere production of a document or marking it as Exhibit will not be sufficient and it’s genuineness will have to be proved in the manner laid down in the Evidence Act.
The Supreme Court in the case of Narbada Devi Gupta vs Birendra Kumar Jaiswal (2003) 8 SCC 745 has held:
“The legal position is not in dispute that mere production and marking of a document as exhibit by the court cannot be held, to be a due proof of its contents. Its execution has to be proved by admissible evidence that is by the ‘evidence of those persons who can vouchsafe for the truth of the facts in issue’. The situation is, however, different where the documents are produced, they are admitted by the opposite party, signatures on them are also admitted and they are marked thereafter as exhibits by the court. We find no force in the argument advanced on behalf of the appellant that as the mark of exhibits has been put on the back portions of the rent receipts near the place where the admitted signatures of the plaintiff appear, the rent receipts as a whole cannot be treated to have been exhibited as an admitted documents.”
The Court went on to hold that once a document is admitted by a party the onus of disproving the same will shift to the other party.
In the case of Sait Tarajee Khimchand and Ors. Vs. Yelamarti Satyam alias Satteyya and Ors. (1972)4SCC562 the SC has held that the mere marking of an exhibit does not dispense with the proof of documents.
In the case of Gujarat Heavy Chemicals vs Diwan Mundhra Bros (2012 IXAD (Delhi) 185) it was held that reliance cannot be placed on such documents whose receipts are admitted by the opposite party but the contents were denied.
In the Om Prakash Berlia & anr vs Unit Trust of India (AIR 1983 Bom 1) the Hon’ble Bombay High Court considered the scheme of the Evidence Act with regards to the proof of the documents and its contents. It concluded that the Act requires first and foremost the production of the original documents and if not available then other secondary evidence may be given. The Court held the contents of the documents cannot be proved merely by producing the documents. To prove the truth of the contents the evidence has to be led in the same manner as a relevant fact would be proved generally by calling the author of the documents, proving the signature or handwriting in the said document, proof by attesting witness to the document etc.
In the case of Sudhir Engineering vs Nitco Roadways Ltd. 1995 (34) DRJ 86, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has held that the mere fact that the Documents have been admitted into evidence does not amount to the proof of such documents or the truth of the contents of the documents. The document has to be proved, disproved or not proved by forming its judicial opinion by looking at the document, statement of the witnesses, taking into consideration the other circumstantial evidence of the entire case. The relevant part of the judgment is quoted as under:
“Any document filed by either party passes through three stages before it is held proved or disproved. These are : First stage : when the documents are Filed by either party in the Court; these documents though on file, do not become part of the judicial record; Second stage: when the documents are tendered or produced m evidence by a party and the Court admits the documents in evidence. A .document admitted in evidence becomes a part of the judicial record of the case and constitutes evidence .Third stage: the documents which are held ‘proved, not proved or disproved’ when the Court is called upon to apply its judicial mind by reference to Section 3 of the Evidence Act. Usually this stage arrives 31 the final hearing of the suit or proceeding.
When the Court is called upon to examine the admissibility of a document it concentrates only on the document. When called upon to form a judicial opinion whether a document has been proved, disproved or not proved the Court would look not at the document alone or only at the statement of the witness standing in the box; it would take into consideration probabilities of the case as emerging from the whole record.”
Documents such as Will, Agreement to Sell, Registered Lease Deed, Adoption Deed etc (all Private Documents) need to proved before the Court.
But it must be noted that certain documents which are termed as Public Documents (Section. 74, 78) need not be proved before Court. The Court “may presume” or “shall presume” its validity. (Section 79-90A)
CONCLUSION ( indian evidence act notes )
To summarize it can be stated that:
- A document if available in original must be so produced and if not the Secondary Evidence must be produced being the photocopy, certified copy etc.
- The Document then has to undergo the stage of Admission Denial of Documents. If the Document is admitted by the other party its evidentiary value increases. But the admission of merely the document itself but a denial of its contents is not a complete Admission.
- The truth of the contents of the documents has to be proved by the party relying on the document and merely its being exhibited in Evidence is not sufficient. The contents may be proved generally by calling the author of the documents, proving the signature or handwriting in the said document, handwriting expert opinion, proof by attesting witness to the document etc.
- The Court will appreciate all the Evidence in the case i.e the various contrary documents exhibited by the parties, the surrounding circumstances of the case to judge the veracity of a particular document before him.