1. This is a revision petition preferred by the petitioner-plaintiff against the order of the learned Munsiff of Dodballapur on I. A. No. II in Original Suit No. 108 of 1953, rejecting some uncertified copies of depositions as inadmissible in evidence.
2. The facts that have given rise to this petition are briefly as follows :
3. The suit in O.S. 108/53 referred to above is one for redemption of a mortgage effected by plaintiff's father in favour of 1st defendant's father under a registered mortgage deed of date 25-2-1886. The suit was filed if 4-4-1953, i.e. more than 60 years from the date of the mortgage deed. For purposes of limitation plaintiff relied on an admission alleged to have been made on 25-2-1897 by 1st defendant's father with respect to the suit mortgage in his deposition in C. C. 33 of 1896-97, on the file of the learned Amildar-Magistrate, Dodballapur.
In support of it he produced a copy of his aforesaid deposition granted to him on 22-7-1897. The defendants look objection to the admission of the said copy on the ground that it was not a certified copy, and the learned Munsiff upheld that contention and disallowed the copies of deposition. As against that order, this revision petition is filed.
4. The point for consideration is whether the order of the learned Munsiff rejecting the copies of depositions as inadmissible on the score that they are not certified copies, is correct. . It appears to me that the finding of the learned Munsiff cannot be sustained. Section 65 of the Evidence Act mentions instances or eases in which secondary evidence relating to documents may be given. One of such instances is where' the original has been destroyed or lost or is not available. The case on hand is one of such instances.
Plaintiff's contention is that the original depositions have been destroyed and are not available in the Court of the learned Amildar Magistrate of Dodballapur and that, therefore, he is entitled to produce the copies that have been issued to him. There is no dispute, nor can there be any, with respect to this allegation in view of the endorsement issued to the plaintiff in that behalf and which is to be found in the records.
Section 65 of the Evidence Act further provides that in cases where the originals have been destroyed or lost, the party may adduce any secondary evidence of the contents of the document. The words 'any secondary evidence of the contents of the document is admissible' are very significant and clear enough to exclude any other construction to be placed on them. The word 'any' indicates that the party can adduce any kind of secondary evidence.
5. What are public documents is described in Section 74 of the Evidence Act. There cannot be any dispute on the point that the depositions, copies of which the plaintiff has produced, are public documents within the meaning of this section. The definition of 'certified copies' is to be found in Section 76 of the Evidence Act.
That section provides that any public officer having custody of a public document which any person has a right to inspect, shall give that person, on demand, a copy of it on payment of the legal fees prescribed therefor together with a certificate written at the foot of such copy that it is a true copy of such document or part thereof as the case may he, and that such certificate shall be dated and subscribed by such officer with his name and official title and shall be sealed whenever/ such officer is authorized by law to make use of a seal and that such copies so certified shall bo called as 'certified copies'.
It is, no doubt, true that the copies produced by the plaintiff do not hear the seal of the Court from which they were issued.. It is on that ground and on the ground that the depositions do not bear the name or designation of the person under whose authority they have been issued that the learned Munsiff has rejected these documents though they satisfy some of the conditions laid down in Section 76.
Assuming that the copies of depositions produced by the plaintiff are not 'certified copies', even then, it appears to mo that the learned Munsiff was not justified in rejecting these copies as inadmissible.
6. That clause 'of Section 65 of the Evidence Act which provides that 'in case of (e) or (f) a certified copy of the document but no other kind of secondary evidence is admissible' seems to 'apply to a case in which a public document is still in existence on the public records, and that provision appears to have been intended to protect the originals of public records from the danger to which they would be subject by constant production of such documents in Courts in 'evidence, and the said, clause does not interfere with the general rule of evidence given in Clause (c) i.e., in cases where the original is destroyed or lost.
This is the view taken by the Madras High Court reported in -- 'Kalandan v. Kunhunni', 6 Mad 80 (A). In that case, the original plaint was found to be destroyed and an uncertified copy of it was produced, and has been held to be admissible. In -- Hurish Chunder Mullick v. Prosanno Coomar Banerjee', 22 Suth WR 303 (B), it has been held that even oral evidence with respect to an original document which is lost or destroyed is admissible if the Court is satisfied that the original has been lost, and that in such cases Court's need not insist on the production of a certified copy. Under these circumstances, I am of opinion that the order of the learned Munsiff cannot be supported.
7. In the result, the order of the learned Munsiff is set aside and this revision petition is allowed. I make no order as to costs of this petition. The learned Munsiff is directed to receive in evidence the copies of depositions produced by the plaintiff, for whatever they are worth, and dispose of the case according to law.
8. Revision allowed.