The Supreme Court has held that merely because the signatures in some of the documents were not legible and visible that cannot be a ground to reject the secondary evidence. Apex Court bench of Justices M.Y. Eqbal and C. Nagappan allowed the appeal by setting aside the High Court order.
In this case, Trial court had admitted a photocopy of document, saying that the applicant has been able to comply with the provision of Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act as it has come in evidence that the original was handed over by the applicant to DEO Ambala and hence it could be admitted. The High Court had set aside this order by Trial Court which was challenged in this appeal before the Apex court.
The court observed that pre-conditions for leading secondary evidence are that such original documents could not be produced by the party relied upon such documents in spite of best efforts, unable to produce the same which is beyond their control. “The party sought to produce secondary evidence must establish for the non-production of primary evidence. Unless, it is established that the original documents is lost or destroyed or is being deliberately withheld by the party inrespect of that document sought to be used, secondary evidence in respect of that document cannot accepted.”, the court said. The court also said that if a party wishes to lead secondary evidence, the Court is obliged to examine the probative value of the document produced in the Court or their contents and decide the question of admissibility of a document in secondary evidence.
In this case, the Court observed that all efforts have been taken for the purpose of leading secondary evidence and the court has noticed that the photocopy of the Exhibit DW-2/B came from the custody of DEO Ambala and the witness, who brought the record, has been examined as witness.Merely because the signatures in some of the documents were not legible and visible that cannot be a ground to reject the secondary evidence, the bench held. However, the court added that mere admission of secondary evidence, does not amount to its proof. The genuineness, correctness and existence of the document shall have to be established during the trial and the trial court shall record the reasons before relying on those secondary evidences, the bench clarified.
Read the Judgment here.