Section 62 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Explanation 1:

Where a document is executed in several parts, each part is primary evidence of the document;

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Where a document is executed in counterpart, each counterpart being executed by one or some of the parties only, each counterpart is primary evidence as against the parties executing it.

Explanation 2:

Where a number of documents are all made by one uniform process, as in the case of printing, lithography, or photography, each is primary evidence of the contents of the rest; but, where they are all copies of a common original, they are not primary evidence of the contents of the original.

Illustration:

A person is shown to have been in possession of a number of placards, all printed at one time from one original. Any one of the placards is primary evidence of the contents of any other, but no one of them is primary evidence of the contents of the original.

Comments:

Section 62 defines primary evidence. The primary evidence means the document itself produced for inspection of the court. It is that piece of evidence which is called best evidence and the law requires it to be given first. The primary evidence or best evidence “affords the greatest certainty of the facts in question; and it is illustrated by being always regarded as the primary or best possible evidence of its existence and contents.” The original document is the best evidence. In certain cases secondary evidence of a particular type is also admissible. But the general rule is that secondary evidence is not admissible until the non-production of primary evidence is satisfactorily proved.

The following evidence are considered as primary evidence;

1. The original document itself produced for inspection of the court;

2. Where a document is executed in several party, each part is a primary evidence (Explanation l).

Example:

Arbitration award was prepared in quadruplicate as there were four parties to the arbitration. All four copies were signed by the arbitrators. Each copy is original.

3. Where a document is executed in counterparts, each counterpart is primary evidence as against parties executing it (Part 2 of Explanation l).

Example:

Patta, Cheque etc.

4. Where a number of documents are prepared by one uniform process each is primary evidence.

Example:

Printing, Lithography or photography. Each copy of newspaper is primary evidence. However, photocopy in the absence of original is not admissible in evidence.