Login : Advocate | Client
Home Post Your Case My Account Law College Law Library

Report No. 69

VII. Other Published Writings-Section 36

14.21. Introductory.-

While section 35 was concerned with statements in public records and reports, the next three sections are devoted to certain other documentary materials. These materials are of various speices, but they all share one feature in common,--the feature of publicity and of official authority.

14.22. The subject of relevancy of statements in maps, charts and plans is dealt with by section 36, in these terms-

"36. Statements of facts in issue or relevant facts, made in published maps or charts generally offered for public sale, or in maps or plans made under the authority of the Central Government or any State Government, as to matters usually represented or stated in such maps, charts or plans, are themselves relevant facts."

14.23. Maps comparable to statements.-

Maps are really statements. In Dwijesh :handra Roy v. Naresh Chandra Gupta, AIR 1945 Cal 492 (Biswas & S.R. Das, JJ) it was observed by S.R. Das, J.-

"A map by itself is nothing but statement made by the maker by means of lines and pictorial representations instead of by word of mouth as to the state or configuration of a particular site and the objects standing thereon. To admit in evidence a map without calling the maker thereof is the same as admitting in evidence statements made by a third party who is not called as a witness. In other words, it amounts to admitting hearsay."

14.24. Classes of maps.-

The section deals with two classes of documents : (a) published maps or charts generally offered for public sale; and (b) maps or plans made under the authority of Government. The admissibility of the first class of documents is justified on the ground that the publication being accessible to the whole community and open to the criticism of all, the probabilities are in favour of any inaccuracy being challenged and exposed. These are similar to dictionaries etc. to which the court may refer under another provision.1

The admissibility of the second class of documents depends on the ground that, being made and published under the authority of Government, they must be taken to have been made by and to be the result of, the study or inquiries of competent persons: and further (in the case of surveys and the like), they contain or concern matters in which the public are interested.

1. Section 57, penultimate para.

14.25. Section 83 and presumption of accuracy.-

It may be noted that under section 83,1 there is a statutory presumption of the accuracy, authority and authenticity in favour of the maps or plans purported to be made under the authority of the Central Government or the State Government, unless they are made for a particular cause.

1. Charts are left out by section 83.

14.26. Maps charts and plans-No need to make a distinction.-

We shall now deal with a few points on which an amendment may be required. Section 36, in its first half, does not mention "charts". We have not been able to understand why there should be a distinction in this respect between maps, charts and plans. No doubt, one can make a distinction, for other purposes, amongst the three; but the principle on which their relevance is justified, under section 36, namely, that they are published and generally offered for public sale (the first half) or that they are made under the authority of the Government (the second half), should .apply equally whether the document is a map or a chart or a plan. Dealing more particularly with "chart", we may state that a chart is of various kinds. Originally, this expression was used more frequently in marine navigation, to denote navigational charts which were used for guiding marines.

14.27. Such a chart was in issue in In re S. S. Drachenfels, 1900 ILR 27 Cal 860 (867, 871) Ameer Ali, J.) a case relating to a chart issued under the authority of the Government. The chart was of the river Hooghly, and the court said that the notes thereon may be referred to as authoritative". In this case, the note which was material relating to the dangers to be avoided by vessels awaiting orders at the "Sandheads", between the months of April and December, both inclusive.

14.28. The nautical chart, essential to marine navigation, informs the mariner of the nature and form of the sea bottom, and gives the location of channels, aids to navigation, reefs and shoals and sand bars1. It affords an accurate graphical guide to hidden dangers and safe channels-knowledge which is necessary for efficient and safe ship navigation. The nautical chart is usually supplemented by official publications called coast pilots or by other types of sailing directions which provide pertinent descriptive details that cannot be shown conveniently on the chart itself.

1. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5, p. 329.

14.29. Much more recent than the nautical chart is the aeronautical chart,1 which is essential to air navigation. Whereas a nautical chart is a graphic representation of an area consisting chiefly of water, the aeronautical chart, like a map, most often represents an area that is predominantly land.

1. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5, p. 329.

14.30. Marine charts mainly indicated under-water conditions, and were similar to what are known as weather charts. Later usage, however, has given a wide meaning to the expression "chart". The expression now indicates many representations, for example, (a) aeronautical charts,1 (b) a record by curves etc. of fluctuations in temperature etc. (one of the meanings referred to in some of the dictionaries)2, and, in fact (c) any tabulated information3.

1. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5, p. 329.

2. See, for example, Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

3. These are mere illustrations.

14.31. If the important requirement of publicity or authority, indicated by the first, or second half of the section (whichever is applicable), and also the further important requirement that the statement should have been made as to matters usually represented or stated in such maps, charts or plans, are both satisfied, we do not see any reason why, for the purposes of section 36, it should matter whether the document is a map or a chart or a plan-and, if it is a chart, whether it is a marine navigation chart or aerial navigation chart or a weather chart or other tabulated information.

14.32. Recommendation to amend section 36 to cover charts and plans.-

We therefore, recommend that in both the parts of section 36, there should be an amendment so as to ensure that all these three clauses of documents are covered. This aspect will also require consideration under sections 83 and 87, which deal with maps, etc.1

1. To be considered under sections 83 and 87 also.

14.33. Matters usually represented-Change recommended.-

An important condition is indicated by the words "as to matters usually represented or stated in such maps, charts or plans". This condition appears to be applicable whether the documents falls under the first half of the section, or whether it falls under the second half of the section. In our view, it is desirable to bring this aspect out more clearly, by a splitting up of the section, and we recommend a suitable amendment.

14.34. Then, there is a verbal change needed to bring out more clearly the connection between the opening words "statements" and the words "as to matters etc.". The principal object in inserting the requirement expressed by "as to matters usually represented", etc., is to indicate that a statement made gratuitously by the draftsman of the map etc. as to a matter which does not normally or ordinarily fall to be dealt with while preparing the map etc. in question, should not be admitted by virtue of section 36. This should be brought out.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

Client Area | Advocate Area | Blogs | About Us | User Agreement | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Media Coverage | Contact Us | Site Map
powered and driven by neosys