Section 78 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

(1) Acts, orders or notifications of the Central Government in any of its departments, or of the Crown Representative or of any State Government or any department of any State Government,—

By the records of the departments, certified by the head of those departments respectively;

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Or by any document purporting to be printed by order of any such Government or, as the case may be, of the Crown Representative;

(2) The proceedings of the Legislatures,—

By the journals of those bodies respectively, or by published Acts or abstracts, or by copies purporting to be printed by order of the Government concerned;

(3) Proclamations, orders or regulations issued by Her Majesty or by the Privy Council, or by any department of Her Majesty’s Government,—

By copies or extracts contained in the London Gazette, or purporting to be printed by the Queen’s printer;

(4) The acts of the Executive or the proceedings of the Legislature of a foreign country,—

By journals published by their authority, or commonly received in that country as such, or by a copy certified under

The seal of the country or sovereign, 0Ã by a recognition thereof in some Central Act;

(5) The proceedings of a municipal body in a State,

By a copy of such proceedings, certified by the legal keeper thereof, or by a printed book purporting to be published by the authority of such body;

(6) Public documents of any other class in a foreign country,—

by the original, or by a copy certified by the legal keeper thereof, with a certificate under the seal of a Notary Public, or of an Indian Consul or diplomatic agent, that the copy is duly certified by the officer having the legal custody of the original, and upon proof of the character of the document according to the law of the foreign country.

78A. Copies of Public documents, to be as good as original documents in certain cases:

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, where any public documents concerning any areas within West Bengal have been kept in Pakistan, then copies of such public documents shall, on being authenticated in such manner as may be prescribed from time to time by the State Government by notification in the Official Gazette, be deemed to have taken the place of and to be, the original documents from which such copies were made and all references to the original documents shall be construed as including references to such copies.

[Vide West Bengal Act 29 of 1955, Section 3 (w.e.f. 6.10.1955) as amended by West Bengal Act 20 of 1960, Sec. 3 (w.e.f. 5-1-1961)].

Comments:

Section 78 provides various methods of proving contents of certain official documents. These are mentioned as under:

(1) Acts, orders or notifications of the Central or State Government or their departments may be proved by the records of the department as certified by the head of the department concerned or by any document purporting to be printed by the order of the department. A newspaper and cyclostyled copy of rules are not documents.

(2) The proceeding of the Legislature may be proved by the Journal of the Legislators, or by published Acts, or by their abstracts, or by copies purporting to be printed by order of the concerning Government.

(3) Proclamations, orders or regulations issued by Her Majesty or by the Privy Council or by any department of Her Majesty’s Government may be proved by copies or extracts contained in the London Gazette or purporting to be printed by the Queen’s printer.

(4) The Acts of the Executive or the proceedings of the Legislature of a foreign country can be proved by journals published by their authority or by a copy certified under the seal of the country concerned or by any recognition of the same in any Central Act.

(5) The proceedings of a municipal body in the state may be proved by a copy of such proceeding which is certified by the legal keeper of the proceedings or by a printed book purporting to be printed by the authority of such body.

(6) Public documents of any other class in a foreign country may be proved by the original or by a certified copy issued by the legal keeper of the document with a certificate under the seal of a notary public, or of an Indian Counsel or diplomatic agent, that the copy is duly certified by the officer having the custody of the original, and upon proof of the character of the document according to the law of the foreign country.

Presumptions as to Documents:

Sections 79 to 90A deal with presumptions as to documents. But of these Sections 79 to 85C and 89 are compulsory in nature, that is, the court is bound to presume, whereas Sections 86 to 88A, 90 and 90A are discretionary and the court may presume.