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Report No. 185

Section 79

Sections 79 to 90A deal with "Presumptions as to documents". These are the last group of sections in Chapter V. These are presumptions which 'shall' have to be drawn and not presumptions which 'may' be drawn. The presumption is rebut see U.P. State Road Transport Corporation v. Kedar Singh AIR 1991 All 317.

["79: Extract from Sarkar Vol. I, pages 1213-14. The certified copy can be proved incorrect if challenged and the original is shown to have interpolations.]

Certificates can be granted under Section 60 Registration Act, Section 298, 331, 337 of Cr.P.C., Section 90 of the Christian Marriage Act, 1872 etc.

The provision requires only substantial compliance. Thatha v. Paru: AIR 1986 Ker 196.

Section 79 deals with 'Presumption as to genuineness of certified copies'. It reads as follows:

In the 69th Report, after an elaborate discussion, it was recommended (see para 37.27) that the following words in Section 79 be omitted.

"or by any officer in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, who is duly authorized thereto by the Central Government."

This was because the reference became necessary to J&K State when the concept of Part A, Part B and Part C states was there in 1951 and is no longer necessary because now there are no Part B or Part C States.

We agree with the recommendation.

Yet another recommendation (see para 37.9) refers to Parliamentary proceedings. A Committee on Privileges of Lok Sabha (Report F No. 3(1)/55.L.C. Part I, S.No.5) (vide Notes of Ministry of Home Affairs F.No. 22/4/58-Judl) (Ministry of Law, U.O.No.20(1)58-Leg.II, dated 21.7.59) recommended that normally, when documents connected with Parliament are to be produced in a court of law, certified copies should be considered sufficient evidence of such documents, and that, if necessary, the Evidence Act may be amended to that extent.

Under Section 78(2) of the Evidence Act, the proceedings of the legislatures can be proved by journals of the legislatures or published Acts or abstracts, or by copies purporting 'to be printed by the order of the Government concerned'. This is so far proceedings of legislatures which are published. Question remains regarding proceedings of legislatures which are not published. They may (according to para 37.8 of the 69th Report) be classified as follows:

(a) documents which form 'the acts and records of acts' of Parliament, and

(b) documents which do not form the acts or records of acts of Parliament.

(a) The Law Commission in the 69th Report pointed out (para 37-8) that category (a) would fall under 'public document' referred to in Section 74(1)(iii), so that certified copies can be given under Section 76 and such certified copies can, under Section 77, be accepted in evidence without production of the original under Section 77.

(b) In regard to the (b) category, the Law Commission said (see para 37.9) that the only question to be considered was the extension of the beneficial provisions of section 79 (presumption as to the genuineness of certified copies), to certified copies of such documents. The Commission recommended accordingly.

We agree with this recommendation.

Further, whenever, any document relating to the House or any Committee thereof is required to be proved in a Court, the Court has to make a request to the Speaker or Chairman of that House or Committee mentioning the purpose why it is required and the date when it is required. A form has been prescribed (see Shakdher and Kaul, Parliamentary Procedure in India, pages 177 (and Lok Sabha Debates, 13.9.57, p 13760 to 13763).

For the benefit of public and courts, we shall once again extract the said format which is extracted in paras 37.14 (pp 475-476) of the 69th Report. It reads as follows:

"From ......

To ......

The Speaker of the House of the People/The Chairman of the Council of States, Parliament House,

New Delhi.

Dated, the..................19.......

Sub: (Description of the case)

Sir,

In the above proceedings, the plaintiff/defendant/complainant/accused proposed to rely upon the documents, specified in the Annexure, which are in the custody of the House of the People/the Council of States. I have to request you to move the House if you have no objection to grant leave for the production of documents in my court and, if such leave is granted, to arrange to send the documents/certified copies of the documents so as to reach me on or before ...................... by registered post (A.D.) or through an officer in the Secretariat of the House.

In the above proceedings, the plaintiff/defendant/complainant/accused proposes to examine ..................................... an officer in the Secretariat of the House of the People/the Council of States (or any duly informed officer in the Secretariat of the House) as a witness in regard to matters specified in the Annexures. I have to request you to move the House, if you have no objection to grant leave for the examination of the said officer in my court, and, if such leave is granted, to direct the officer to appear in my court at 11.00 a.m. on ...................

Yours faithfully,

Annexure

1 ..........................

2 ..........................

3 ..........................

4 .........................."

(A)We recommend as follows: There must be a provision relating to the presumption in regard to genuiness of certified copies of documents relating to legislatures which are not published. These documents fall under section 78(2A) as proposed.

(B) We recommend that section 79 be amended as follows:

For the words "duly certified by any officer of the Central Government or of a State Government or by any officer in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, who is duly authorized thereto by the Central Government," the following shall be substituted, namely:-

"duly certified by any officer of the Central Government or of a State Government or by the presiding officer of the legislature concerned or of the Chairman or head of the Committee of the legislature concerned."



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