Section 67 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

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When any document written or signed is produced before the court it calls for authentication of the writing. Section 67 requires proof of signature and handwriting of the person alleged to have signed or written the document produced. Mere production of written document is not enough unless the signature and writing are proved. Mere production of paper stating that it was signed by him would not amount to compliance with, when the proof of agreement to sale of goods was in question in this case.

This section lays down that when a document is alleged to be executed, signed or written by certain person it is duty of the person who makes the allegation to prove the fact. But, in Section 67 no particular kind of proof is necessary for the purpose of establishing the fact of execution. In usual modes the handwriting may be proved by circumstantial evidence. The Rule is that the party who exhibits a document, must also prove it that the Document was signed and written by concerned person. In an eviction suit the rent receipts were produced by the tenant having signature of the landlord at the back and the landlord also admitted the fact of his signature.

Where a document is written by one person and signed by another, the handwriting of the former and the signature of the latter have to the proved under section 67 of the Act. If the document is written and signed by the same person (executants) he has to prove his own writing and signature. When there is non-examination of executants of receipt, admissibility of receipts is not proper. In a suit for money on account of sale of goods, the ledgers, challans and corresponding bills have to be forwarded to be in the writing of the person who has written them.

Where a document is purported to have been executed by thumb impression of illiterate person, the person relying upon it has to prove that the document was read over and explained to the executants. The ordinary mode of proving execution is by calling someone who saw the executants write or who knows his handwriting or by comparison of his signature with the signature on other documents written by him. Mere marking of exhibit on a document does not dispense with its proof which is required to be done in accordance with law.

If alienation is made under 1951 Act, original sale certificate is kept in original record of competent officer and certified copy is issued in favour of transferee. The public document or certified copy produced is itself proof of transaction mentioned therein presumption of official act having been done as per Section 114 is that no further evidence is required for purpose of format proof of sale certificate.

Methods of proving signature and handwriting:

According to decisions of the Supreme Court and various High Court the signature and handwriting may be proved by any one of the following methods:

1. By calling the person who signed and wrote the document;

2. By calling person who was present when the document was written and signed;

3. By means of handwriting expert;

4. By proof of an admission of the person who is alleged to have signed and written the document;

5. By means of comparison of disputed signature and handwriting with some admitted signature or writing by the court;

6. By circumstantial evidence;

7. By evidence of a person acquainted with the handwriting of the writer.

Execution of document:

The execution of document means the last act for completion of series of act requiring completion of document. It does not mean merely signing it. It should be accompanied by the intention to give effect to the document in question Mere proof of registration is not the proof of due execution.

“Section 67 of the Act mandates that the signature and handwriting of a person on a written document can be proved only by examining the person concerned. When the person of very much available and alive, attempt to prove signature of handwriting by examining third person as a witness, would have its own drawback. An inference as provided for in clause (g) of Section 114 would come into play.”

In a suit for eviction on rent receipts produced by tenant, the signature of landlord on back portion of receipt was admitted and the mark exhibit was put on back portion. Rent receipts as a whole can be treated to have been exhibited as admitted documents.

67A. Proof as to digital signature:

Except in the case of a secure digital signature, if the digital signature of any subscriber is alleged to have been affixed to an electronic record the fact that such digital signature is the digital signature of the subscriber must be proved.