Section 61 provides that the contents of document can be proved either.— (i) by primary evidence, i.e. by producing the document itself (Section 62) or (ii) by secondary evidence (Section 63). When primary evidence is not available secondary evidence may be permitted by the court to prove the contents of document. There is no other method of proving the contents of document. “The truth or otherwise of the facts or contents so stated would have to be proved by admissible evidence i.e. by the evidence of those persons who can vouchsafe for the truth of the facts in issue. The contents of document without formal proof cannot be taken as evidence.
Admissibility of document:
Admission of documents amounts to admission of contents or but not its truth. A man may lie but a document will never lie. The question of admissibility of documents in evidence is to be decided promptly and when raised such objections would be disposed of before the date is fixed for the hearing of final arguments. Where admissions were made in a written statement by the plaintiff’s predecessors-in-interest which was filed in several judicial proceedings regarding the rights in the suit property, a certified copy of the written statement was held to be admissible in proof of the accused rights to the property.
A document which is proved to be genuine and satisfies the requirements of law should be relied upon. In a suit for declaration of title and possession, the title of the plaintiff required to be established by production of documentary evidence. The said evidence can be adduced by the party or by his Power of Attorney Holder.
Admissibility of document is founded on the principle that the best evidence of which the subject is capable ought to be produced. The Privy Council observed that “in dealing with the documentary evidence, the substantial principles on which the authenticity and value of evidence rest ought to be produced. A document can always be created falsely by obtaining signatures of law persons but the said document when produced in evidence must be able to stand the test of genuineness.
Mere marking Exhibits on document is not the proof of its content unless reliance is placed by the party. Its execution has to be proved by admissible evidence and the document produced by the party must be brought on record. Unregistered family settlement deed is admissible strictly for collateral purpose.
Irregularity in admission:
Objection as to mode of proof of document has to be raised at appropriate stage which enables party leading evidence to meet such objection or can resort to better mode of proof. When such document was exhibited but raised at later stage, the rejection of document is proper. Consent decree creating rights for the first time unless registered could not be taken to have confined any right on farm of transferee. Mere newspaper reports cannot be read in evidence. However when identities of newspaper reporters were located and they supported newspaper reports, their versions are admissible.