The Supreme Court has observed that the witnesses to documents such as Sale Deeds and Wills need not necessarily know what is contained in them.
The plaintiff in the suit had prayed for a declaration that she be declared to be the owner in possession of the suit property and also prayed that the defendants be injuncted from interfering in her possession. It was contended that the two sale-deeds and the Will in favour of defendants are sham and fraudulent documents and not binding upon her. The Trial Court decreed the Suit. However, the High court dismissed the Suit allowing the appeal filed by the defendants.
The contention by the plaintiff in the appeal [Hemkunwar Bai vs. Sumersingh] was that both the witnesses to these documents have stated that they were not aware of the contents of the documents, when they signed as witnesses. Another contention was whether Ratankuwarbai, who was an illiterate lady and suffering from cancer, could not have executed these documents.
The bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose, examining the evidence on record, noted that one of the witnesses had clearly stated that at the time of registration of the sale-deeds and the Will, the sub-Registrar concerned had read out the subject matter of the three documents in short to the deceased. Upholding the High Court judgment, the bench observed:
It has been contended that both these witnesses have stated that they were not aware of the contents of the documents, when they signed as witnesses. The witnesses need not necessarily know what is contained in the documents. Furthermore, when these witnesses state that the sub-Registrar had told the gist of the documents to the deceased then they become aware of the nature of the documents at the time of registration thereon. In fact both Antar Singh and Laxman Singh had deposed with regard to transfer of the consideration.
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