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Report No. 88

3.4. Ministerial advice.-

The expression "affairs of State" would also cover advice given by a Minister. Thus, in a Rajasthan case1, the plaintiff brought an action for the recovery of Rs. 1,19,000 against the State of Rajasthan, on account of a refund of a part of the excise duty paid on the stocks of matches produced by the plaintiff for consumption in the State territory. This was in pursuance of an agreement with the State Government. There was a document which embodied the minutes of the discussion and indicated the advice given by the Minister. The State claimed privilege in respect of this document under section 123.

The claim of privilege was upheld by the trial court, as well as by the High Court. The High Court held that the document which embodied the minutes of discussion and which indicated the advice given by the Minister was certainly protected under section 123, and the Court could not compel the State to produce it. On the other hand, documents and letters relating to a contract with the Government for the supply of goods do not relate to affairs of State.2

1. Kotah Match Factory, Kotah v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1970 Raj 118.

2. G.G.-in-Council v. Peer Md., AIR 1950 Punj 228.

Governmental Privilege in Evidence - Sections 123, 124 and 162 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Articles 74 and 163 of the Constitution Back

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