What are pre-conditions for leading secondary evidence?
In so far as the question of law formulated by this Court i.e. 'whether under Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, secondary evidence in the form of oral evidence can be led or considered to prove the contents of the document allegedly lost' is concerned, in my view, before allowing production of secondary evidence, it must be established that the original document is lost or destroyed or is being deliberately withheld by the party. Supreme Court in the case of Rakesh Mohindra Vs.Anita Beri and Ors., reported in 2016 ALL SCR 1 has held that the party who seeks to lead secondary evidence has to lay down the factual foundation to establish the right to give secondary evidence where the original document cannot be produced. It is held that neither mere admission of a document in evidence amounts to its proof nor mere making of an exhibit of a document dispenses with its proof, which is otherwise required to be done in accordance with law.
79. It is held by the Supreme Court that the pre-conditions for leading secondary evidence are that such original documents could not be produced by the party relying upon such documents in spite of best efforts, unable to produce the same which is beyond their control. The party who seeks to produce secondary evidence must establish for the non-production of primary evidence. Unless, it is established that the original document is lost or destroyed or is being deliberately withheld by the party in respect of that document sought to be used, secondary evidence in respect of that document cannot be accepted. In the facts of this case, the plaintiffs could not prove before the learned trial Judge that any of the alleged divorce deed was executed and lost and could not have produced and thus they were entitled to lead secondary evidence under Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
In my view, the party who seeks to lead secondary evidence has to establish that such party is not able to produce the primary document which beyond his control or that the same is lost or destroyed or is being deliberately withheld by the party in respect of that document sought to be used. Unless these mandatory conditions of Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 are complied with, such party cannot be allowed to lead secondary evidence. The substantial question of law no.(i) is accordingly answered in negative in the facts of this case.
Bombay High Court
Smt. Kashibai Namdeo Jadhav And ... vs Smt. Yamunabai Namdeo Jadhav And ... on 25 February, 2016
Bench: R.D. Dhanuka
SECOND APPEAL NO.108 OF 1993
Citation:AIR 2016 (NOC)387 Bom
By this second appeal filed under Section 100 of the Code