14 May 2020

When secondary evidence can be permitted to be adduced

In what situation secondary evidence can be permitted to be adduced? Does such permission amounts to proof of that document?

   Sec.65 and 66 of Evidence Act - Proof by leading secondary evidence - Original will deposited to revenue officers for registration - notice issued to revenue officers for production of original will - they failed - court rejected permission to allow secondary evidence observing that the pre-requisite condition of existence of Will is not proved, hence Will cannot be permitted to be proved by allowing the secondary evidence - Witness deposed “I have seen the Will dated 24.01.1989 which bears my signature as scribe and as well as witness.”

   The factual foundation to establish the right to give secondary evidence was laid down by the appellants and thus the High Court ought to have given them an opportunity to lead secondary evidence. The High Court committed grave error of law without properly evaluating the evidence and holding that the pre-requisite condition i.e., existence of Will remained unestablished on record and thereby denied an opportunity to the appellants to produce secondary evidence.[Para No.16]

When-secondary-evidence-can-be-permitted-to-be-adduced   Merely the admission in evidence and making exhibit of a document does not prove it automatically unless the same has been proved in accordance with the law.[Para No.17]

   The appellants would be entitled to lead secondary evidence in respect of the Will in question. It is, however, clarified that such admission of secondary evidence automatically does not attest to its authenticity, truthfulness or genuineness which will have to be established during the course of trial in accordance with law.[Para No.19]

Supreme Court of India

Jagmail Singh
Karamjit Singh

Decided on 13/05/2020

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