Document though admissible has to be proved

Settlement Deed – Agreement Deed – rectification Deed – burden of proof – undue influence

It is crystal clear that even though the document may be admissible, still its contents have to be proved

Excerpt from : Joseph John Peter Sandy. Vs. Veronica Thomas Rajkumar And Anr.’ [Dated: March 12, 2013] [Court:Supreme]

Para 2: B. It is alleged by the appellant that the father of the parties had only at a later point of time realised that the House No. 23 which was given to the daughter, ought to have been given to him and House No. 22 to the daughter. Thus, the parties to give effect to the real intention of their father decided to exchange the properties given to them, and in furtherance thereof, executed a Agreement Deed to exchange the same

Para 14: A document may be admissible and yet may not carry any conviction and weight of its probative value may be nil….

Para 15: that a document may be admissible, but as to whether the entry contained therein has any probative value may still be required to be examined in the facts and circumstances of a particular case.

WHO HAS TO PROVE ? – ONUS OF PROOF

para 16. In Thiruvengada Pillai Vs. Navaneethammal and Anr. ‘, AIR 2008 SC 1541, this Court held that when the execution of an unregistered document put forth by the plaintiff was denied by the defendants, the ruling that it was for the defendants to establish that the document was forged or concocted is not a sound proposition. The first appellate Court proceeded on the basis that it is for the party who asserts something to prove that thing; and as the defendants alleged that the agreement was forged, it was for them to prove it. But the first appellate Court lost sight of the fact that the party who propounds the document will have to prove it. It was the plaintiff who had come to Court alleging that the first defendant had executed an agreement of sale in his favour. The defendant having denied it, the burden was on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant had executed the agreement and not on the defendant to prove the negative.

Para 26. in the instant case, as the appellant did not examine either the attesting witnesses of the document, nor proved its contents, no fault can be found with the judgment impugned before us. Section 26 of the Act, provides for rectification of a document if the parties feel that they have committed any mistake. Also, it was only, the father of the parties who could have sought rectification of the deed. Mere rectification by parties herein does not take the case within the ambit of Section 26 of the Act. Taking note of the statutory provisions of Section 16 of the Contract Act and the parameters laid down by this Court for application of doctrine on undue influence, the High Court has reached a correct conclusion.

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