The Supreme Court has held that signed carbon copy prepared in the same process as the original document is admissible in evidence as the original document as per Section 62 of the Indian Evidence Act.
On this ground, the bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose set aside a judgment passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had refused to accept the signed carbon copy as original document.
"This finding of the High Court is absolutely incorrect and against the provision of Section 62 of the Evidence Act. This carbon copy was prepared in the same process as the original document and once it is signed by both the parties, it assumes the character of the original document," held the Supreme Court while remanding the matter to the High Court for fresh consideration.
The general rule of evidence is that the document itself should be produced in trial for proving it. As per Section 62, primary evidence means the document itself produced for the inspection of the Court.
The Explanation 2 to Section 62 states : "Where a number of documents are all made by one uniform process, as in the case of printing, lithography, or photography, each is primary evidence of the contents of the rest; but, where they are all copies of a common original, they are not primary evidence of the contents of the original."
In this case, the Supreme Court relied on Explanation 2 of Section 62. Since the carbon copy was prepared in the same process as the original document and was signed by the parties, the Court held that it can be treated as primary evidence.
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