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Report No. 69

Chapter 29

Secondary Evidence

Section 63

I. Introduction

29.1. Five categories.-

Section 63 enumerates the various species of secondary evidence. There are five categories of secondary evidence mentioned in the section. The first category i.- "Certified copies given under the provisions hereinafter contained". This clause of section 63 should be read with sections 65(f) 74, 77 and 86.

29.2. The second category mentioned in section 63 is-"Copies made from the original by mechanical processes which in themselves insure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies".

29.3. Illustration (a) to the section, referring to a photograph of an original, illustrates this clause; and the illustration makes it clear that such photographs are secondary evidence even though the photograph and the original have not been compared. This, in fact, constitutes an important point of difference between the second category and the third category.

Illustration (b) is also to be read with this clause.

29.4. The third category is-"Copies made from or compared with the original". It is obvious that the fact that the copy was so made or compared, will have to be proved. This clause might be particularly useful in case of uncertified copies1, provided they are proved to have been made from or compared with the original.

1. As to certified copies, see section 74.

29.5. This clause is illustrated by illustration (c). Copies falling under this category, in fact, furnish the most usual illustration of secondary evidence sought to be made admissible. This is apparent from the mass of case law relating to this clause, out of which a few reported cases are mentioned in the foot-note1.

1. (a) Surendra Nath v. Kawakhra, AIR 1930 PC 45 (53), reversing AIR 1928 Pat 286;

(b) Hindustan Construction Co. v. Union of India, AIR 1967 SC 526;

(c) Deputy Commissioner v. Universal Films, AIR 1950 All 696;

(d) Narasimham v. Babu Rao, AIR 1939 Mad 40 (Printed Record prepared from typed record);

(e) State v. Harish Chandra, AIR 1966 Ori 189;

(f) N.C. De, 45 CWN 654.

29.6. Meaning of copy.-

The word "copy" is not defined in the Act. But we get an idea of what a copy is from the provisions of the section. Secondary evidence means and includes-(i) certified copies as provided in section 76 of the Evidence Act, (ii) copies made from the original by mechanical processes which in themselves insure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies, and (iii) copies made from or compared with the original. Obviously, therefore, a copy means a document prepared from the original which is an accurate or true copy of the original1. In Webster's New World Dictionary2, the word "copy" is stated to mean "a thing made just like another; full reproduction or transcription".

The fourth and fifth categories relate to counter parts and oral accounts of documents.

Illustration (d) to the section tells us what is excluded from secondary evidence.

1. Hindustan Construction Co. v. Union of India, AIR 1967 SC 526 (527).

2. Webster's New World Dictionary, cited in Hindustan Construction Co. v. Union of India, AIR 1967 SC 526 (527).

29.7. Governing principle.-

It would be seen that throughout section 63 runs the governing principle that, as far as possible, proof must be immediate. It is on this principle that the section, in effect, requires that in the absence of special circumstances, the copies must be tantamount to the original-clause (4.-or must be immediately derived from the original. The connection between the original and the copy offered as evidence should not be remote. It is for this reason, for example, that oral accounts of a copy are not admissible-see illustration (d)-and it is, again, on this principle that a copy of a copy, except in certain cases, is not evidence-see illustration (c).



Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back




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