A signed carbon copy of a document prepared in the same process as the original is admissible as a primary evidence, the Supreme Court (SC) has held in a recent order.
A Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose clarified the law while setting aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court decision of January 15 that a carbon copy signed by parties in a dispute cannot be treated as a primary evidence under Section 62 of the Indian Evidence Act.
Section 62 of the Indian Evidence Act- Primary evidence means the document itself produced for the inspection of the Court.
The SC has applied the second explanation in Section 62 in this case.
The Section in second explanation states that “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.”
The High Court had dismissed the case, saying there was no substantial question of law involved.
The High Court held that a carbon copy of a document which is signed by both the parties cannot be termed as original document under Section 62 of the Indian Evidence Act.
The SC held that “This finding is absolutely incorrect and against the provision of Section 62. This carbon copy was prepared in the same process as the original document and once it is signed by both the parties, it assumes the character of the original document.”
The SC allowed the appeal and disposed of the case, which is a civil appeal between two private parties, and remitted it back to the High Court and said it would not express any opinion on the merits of the dispute.
“It is for the High Court to decide whether any substantial questions of law arise and the appellant before us is entitled to any relief or not. With these observations, the civil appeal is disposed of,” the SC ordered.
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