Section 162 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

The Court, if it sees, fit, may inspect the document, unless it refers to matters of State, or take other evidence to enable it to determine on its admissibility.

Translation of documents If for such a purpose it is necessary to cause any document to be translated, the Court may, if it thinks fit, direct the translator to keep the contents secret, unless the document is to be given in evidence: and, if the interpreter disobeys such direction, he shall be held to have committed an offence under section 166 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

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Comments:

Scope Section 162 lays down that when a witness is summoned by the court to produce any document, notwithstanding any objection, he is bound to produce the same provided the document in question is in his possession or power. The section refers to official as well as private documents.

If any objection is raised by the witness in respect of production of the document, the court shall decide it. For the purpose of determining its admissibility the court may inspect the document except in cases of documents where privilege is claimed by the state under section 123. But the court may, in order to determine claims of the state, take further evidence in this regard.

If the language of the document is not known to the court it may order the document to be translated and direct the translator to keep the contents secret unless the document is ordered to be given in evidence. If the translator fails to obey the order of the court he may be held to be committed offence under section 166 of the Indian Penal Code.

Order 15, Rule 6:

Under Order XV, Rule 6 of the Civil Procedure Code and Section 91 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code the person may be summoned to produce the document without being summoned to give evidence. While calling for production of privileged documents, general public interest must be considered paramount to individual interest of the suitor.

Matter relating to affairs of State:

Where an official is summoned to produce an official document he is bound to produce it, but at the same time he may raise objection as to its production. However, the objection being well founded is to be considered by the court which is not entitled to inspect the document if it refers to the affairs of the state. The court without inspecting the document decides the question by examining the officer.

The question of inspection of state’s document must be determined by the relevant facts and circumstances. If the court comes to the decision that the document is an unpublished record relating to affairs of the state for which privilege may be claimed and the production of it is sole and only discretion of the Head of the Department under section 123, the court will not compel production of the document.