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Report No. 60

3.32. Four processes.-

With reference to some of the processes enumerated above,1 certain observations are in order. So far as the word "matter" denoting the intellectual as mental element, is concerned, nothing further need be said. So far as the manual process of recording the matter is concerned, the present wording is somewhat narrow, inasmuch as it does not cover the act of inscribing.

It is considered that when a matter is inscribed on metal or stone or even on paper, the process can better be called "inscribed" rather than "written" etc., though, perhaps, the word "expressed" might cover it. The illustrations to the definition in the Indian Evidence Act show that such inscriptions are "documents". The word "written" does not occur in the Evidence Act or in the Penal Code; it can, however, be retained here, as useful. The word was added in the General Clauses Act at the Select Committee stage. The definition of "writing" may also be seen.

In addition to the process of writing, describing etc. specifically enumerated, the definition should, in our opinion, be widened to include such new processes as may, or may have already, come into existence for the purpose of recording an idea. These processes could be divided into two classes-(a) processes analogous to writing,2 etc., and (b) processes not analogous to writing etc. We think that all such other processes should be brought within the fold of the definition.

1. Para. 3.31, supra.

2. See definition of "writing."

3.33. We next come to the third element of a "document", namely, the symbols. Here, the present definition is confined (at least on one view) to the specific types of symbols enumerated therein. We are of the view that this part of the definition should be widened so as to include (a) symbols analogous to those which are already mentioned, and (b) methods which are not analogous to symbols, but which can come into existence later or may have come into existence already. No doubt, this last mentioned category is wi matography films and tape-records1 (these are merely examples).

Incidentally, we may mention that both the words "figure" and "marks", used in the present definition, are ambiguous. If only the numerical figures are intended, then paintings would be left out. If, again, only visible marks conveying the idea by themselves (and without further effort) are intended, then mechanical recordings are left out. What the Penal Code describes as "visible representations"2 should be covered,3 as also what may be called acoustic representations. Finally, the substance upon which all these processes take place should, as we have already indicated,4 be the starting point for the definition.

1. As to tape-record, see para. 3.37, infra.

2. Sections 124A, 153A, 499, I.P.C.

3. See also para. 3.38, infra.

4. Para. 1.31, supra.

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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