Certified Copy Can Be Produced To Prove Original Sale Deed In Trial : Supreme Court
The Supreme Court recently made it clear that certified copy of an original sale deed is admissible in evidence in a trial. This is as per Sections 65, 74, 77 read with Section 79 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 and Section 57(5) of the Registration Act.In this case, the High Court, in second appeal, had held that the certified copy of a registered sale deed produced by the plaintiff in the...
The Supreme Court recently made it clear that certified copy of an original sale deed is admissible in evidence in a trial. This is as per Sections 65, 74, 77 read with Section 79 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 and Section 57(5) of the Registration Act.
In this case, the High Court, in second appeal, had held that the certified copy of a registered sale deed produced by the plaintiff in the title suit cannot be admitted as evidence. The High Court accepted the contention of the defendant that the original sale deed(which dates back to 1928) has to be produced and that its certified copy cannot be admitted as evidence.
In further appeal, the Supreme Court disapproved of the High Court's reasoning.
Firstly, the Supreme Court referred to Section 65(e) of the Evidence Act, which says that secondary evidence can be given when the original is a public document within the meaning of section 74. Then the Court referred to Section 74 to ascertain if a sale deed can be a "public document". As per this Section 74(2), public records kept of private documents are "public documents". The Court held that in terms of Section 74(2) of the Evidence Act, the original deed falls within the definition of public document .
Section 77 provides for the production of certified copy of a public document as secondary evidence in proof of contents of its original. Section 79 is the provision for presumption as to the genuineness of certified copies provided the existence of a law declaring certified copy of a document of such nature to be admissible as evidence
In view of the provisions of the Evidence Act, the Court held that such a certified copy is admissible as secondary evidence in law, in regard to the existence, condition or contents of an original document. “As per Section 77 of the Evidence Act such certified copies may be produced in proof of the contents of the public document concerned,” the court added.
Section 57(5) of the Registration Act states that all copies given under this section shall be signed and sealed by the registering officer, and shall be admissible for the purpose of proving the contents of the original documents.
The cumulative effect of these provisions was explained by the Court as follows :
"In this context it is to be noted that certified copy issued thereunder is not a copy of the original document, but is a copy of the registration entry which is itself a copy of the original and is a public document under Section 74(2) of the Evidence Act and Sub-section (5) of 57 of the Registration Act thereof, makes it admissible in evidence for proving the contents of its original. There is no case that foundation for letting in secondary evidence was not laid and as noted earlier, both the trial Court and the First Appellate Court found it admissible in evidence. Thus, the cumulative effect of the aforementioned sections of the Evidence Act and Section 57(5) of the Registration Act would make the certified copy of the sale deed No. 1209/1928 dated 27.08.1928 of SRO Andipatti, produced as Ext.A1 admissible in evidence...", the Court observed (Paras 28, 29 of the judgment).
Second appeal can be entertained only if it involves a 'substantial question of law'
The Court also reiterated that a second appeal can be entertained by the High Court under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) only if the case involves a ‘substantial question of law’.
The bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and C.T. Ravikumar was dealing with an appeal filed against the Madras High Court’s order who had set aside the decree granted by the Trial Court in favour of the plaintiff in the suit for title and possession filed by it. The High Court, in second appeal, had confined the plaintiff’s entitlement to only 96 cents out of the entire property.
The bench observed that after the Trial court and the First Appellate Court had found the registered copy of the sale deed with respect to the suit property, as genuine and as legally admissible for the purpose of proving the contents of the original sale deed, in the absence of any proven document conferring a better title to the defendant, the High Court could not reverse the concurrent findings of the lower courts in a second appeal under Section 100 of CPC.
“The High Court in exercise of the power under Section 100 CPC, ought not have interfered with the findings of the trial Court judgment and decree of the trial Court which were confirmed by the First Appellate Court. Accordingly, the impugned judgment of the High Court invites interference,” the court said.
The Supreme Court thus allowed the appeal and restored the decree granted by the Trial Court.
Case Title: Appaiya vs Andimuthu@ Thangapandi & Ors.
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 811
Counsel for the Appellant: Mr. S. Mahendran, AOR
Counsel for the Respondent: Mr. M.P. Parthiban, Adv. Mr. T.R.B. Sivakumar, Adv.