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Smt. Lachcho Vs. Dwari Mal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 2645 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1986All303
ActsEvidence Act, 1872 - Sections 63
AppellantSmt. Lachcho
RespondentDwari Mal
Appellant AdvocateV.K. Barman, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateKrishan Saxena and ;A.K. Banerji, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....scope of section 63 is very wide - extended meaning can be given to words 'means' and 'include' - notice drafted previously for making final copy having same contents is admissible in secondary evidence. - - section 63 may, therefore, be extracted here to clearly understand the submission made by the counsel: 8. reading now section 63 in the light of the above, and applying the principles to the facts of the present case, we find that there is nothing in the section which may cover a situation like the present one therein. of state for india in council air 1922 mad 334. however, in that case, there is no discussion at all on the question and the learned judges constituting the division bench felt satisfied merely by mentioning that the term 'means and includes' in section 63 of the..........was prepared, it must be deemed that it was so done which automatically compared it with the draft notice. it is true that there are some cuttings in the draft but it is quite natural. when the final notice must have been prepared according to the said draft, the portions cut down or scored out must have been omitted while preparing the final notice.9. the learned counsel has submitted that when the expression 'mean and include' is used, it must be given the ordinary and precise meaning and should be treated as exhaustive. he has cited some cases in support of this submission but, as noticed above, this expression need not necessarily be given such a rigid construction or taken as strictly defining what the meaning of the words must be under all circumstances. rather they should be.....
Judgment:

N.N. Mithal, J.

1. In this Second Appeal by the defendant in a suit for ejectment, only one point has been urged in support of the appeal. The appellant urges that on the evidence on the record, the copy of the notice has not been proved in accordance with Section 63 of the Evidence Act since it is not the compared copy of the original and as such should not have been taken into consideration while decreeing the plaintiff's suit

2. The appellant has admitted that a notice had been sent by the plaintiff and it was duly replied to by her and her original reply is also on the record as also the draft of the notice prepared by the plaintiff's counsel The learned counsel has submitted that before a document can be tendered as secondary evidence, it must be established that the requirements of one of the five clauses of Section 63 had been complied with. Section 3 of the Evidence Act defines 'evidence' which means oral and documentary evidence. Oral evidence is dealt with in Chapter IV while documentary evidence has been dealt with in Chapter V of the Act and deals primarily with the proof of contents of documents. Documentary evidence itself is divided into two parts -- primary and secondary and after defining what is primary evidence and secondary evidence, Section 64 lays down that proof of document must always be by primary evidence except in those cases which are dealt with in subsequent Sections. Section 63 may, therefore, be extracted here to clearly understand the submission made by the counsel:

'63. Secondary evidence-Secondary evidence means and includes--

(1) certified copies given under the provisions hereinafter contained :

(2) Copies made from the original by mechanical processes which in themselves ensure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies;

(3) copies made from or compared with the original;

(4) counterparts of documents as against the parties who did not execute them;

(5) oral accounts of the contents of a document given by some person who has himself seen it.'

3-4. The opening words of the section are that secondary evidence 'means and includes' and thereafter five kinds of secondary evidence have been enumerated. According to the counsel Sub-clauses (1), (2), (4) and (5) of the section are not attracted in the instant case and the nearest clause is Sub-clause (3) thereof according to which the secondary evidence must be a copy made from or compared with the original. What has been stressed is that according to the plaintiff's evidence, there is nothing to indicate that the secondary evidence of the notice i.e. paper No. 54-Ka was a copy made from or compared with the original. It may be stated that according to the plaintiff's statement, his counsel had drafted the notice Paper No. 54-Ka and thereafter it was faired and that faired document was sent to the defendant. It is on this basis that it is urged that Paper No. 54-Ka is only a draft and it was never compared with the original faired copy which was actually dispatched to the defendant. Obviously 54-Ka is not a copy made from the fair notice which was sent to the defendant.

5. The argument of the learned counsel, in my opinion, is based on a very narrow and technical approach to the meaning of this section. The argument also ignores the import of the words 'means and includes' in the beginning of the section. According to the ordinary rules of interpretation of statutes where in the definition of any term, the legislature intends to include certain things within the meaning of the term defined the phrase 'include' is usually employed and from this must be inferred a legislative intent to give an enlarged meaning to that word. The word 'include' therefore, is normally a term for extension of scope of definition and not used in any way to restrict the meaning. In such a case the definition has to be read as enlarging its meaning and when so construed, it should be deemed to be comprehending all that it may signify according to its natural import and would include all that is specifically intended to be included within the meaning of the term according to the definition given in the Act.

6. On the other hand, where any term or thing in the Act is defined as 'meaning' some thing this must ordinarily be interpreted to mean only that which is defined therein notwithstanding what its natural or normal import may be. Thus for the purposes of the Act, the word or phrase as defined must always be understood to mean only that and in such a case it must be deemed that the legislature intended to give it a hard and fast definition, which must be interpreted in that light.

7. In some statutes, however, the phrase 'mean and include' is used to define the import of a particular expression, word or phrase. From the word 'mean', what one understands is to have in mind and is some times, if rarely, treated as synonymous with the word 'includes'. As seen above, the word 'includes' is a term of enlargement and very seldom restrictive in operation. Thus the terms 'means' and 'includes' are not the same in their import and denote two different aspects. While one is restrictive, the other is expansive. Where, therefore, the legislature chooses to employ both these words together in order to define or explain something, it cannot be said to be impurposive. This is one of the legislative modes of defining a certain thing. When using the word 'mean' the legislature only intends to restrict the meaning of the term to a great extent, but where its intention is not to be too rigid in this matter, the other term of enlargement i.e. 'includes' is also used simultaneously. Thus where both these terms are used to define some thing, it should only be taken to mean that primarily the intention of the legislature is to supply restricted meaning to the term and ordinarily should be taken into account in that spirit. The extended meaning can be given to the thing defined only to the extent that it does no violence to the definition given in the Act and to that extent, the term 'includes' can be taken help of. In this view of the matter, permissive inclusion or enlargement of a term intended to be given a restricted meaning in some rare cases may be given a slightly enlarged meaning also where sticking to the restrictive definition too rigidly may result in causing injustice.

8. Reading now Section 63 in the light of the above, and applying the principles to the facts of the present case, we find that there is nothing in the section which may cover a situation like the present one therein. According to sub-el. (3), a document sought to be introduced as secondary evidence ought to be either a copy made from the original or compared with the original. In this case, a draft was prepared first and the final copy was prepared with its aid. Now the draft which is Paper No. 54-Ka is not a copy made from the original because at that time there was no original in existence. The draft was copied out in fair by the counsel and was sent. Again the final faired notice cannot be said to be a copy being the original notice which was sent to the defendant. It also cannot be said to be a copy compared with the original. Therefore, the present case may not fall in any of the five categories enumerated in Section 63. Can, therefore, in these circumstances; the meaning of the term 'secondary evidence' as enumerated in any of the five clauses of Section 63, be enlarged so as to include a fair copy prepared from a draft of a notice also as being admissible in evidence as secondary evidence. In my opinion, this can be done and there should not be any restriction in doing so. As I understand the evidence, the fair copy of the notice was prepared by the counsel in his own handwriting (it is in evidence that the original was not got typed but was scribed by the counsel himself) and, therefore, comparison with the draft is inherently involved in the process. When a draft is copied to prepare the fair copies, it is usually the faithful reproduction of the draft which is finally given shape of the document, i.e. the notice in the present case which was sent to the defendant. Thus even though there may not be direct evidence of the fact that the counsel had compared the draft with the final notice, yet from the very process by which the final notice was prepared, it must be deemed that it was so done which automatically compared it with the draft notice. It is true that there are some cuttings in the draft but it is quite natural. When the final notice must have been prepared according to the said draft, the portions cut down or scored out must have been omitted while preparing the final notice.

9. The learned counsel has submitted that when the expression 'mean and include' is used, it must be given the ordinary and precise meaning and should be treated as exhaustive. He has cited some cases in support of this submission but, as noticed above, this expression need not necessarily be given such a rigid construction or taken as strictly defining what the meaning of the words must be under all circumstances. Rather they should be regarded as only declaring and should be comprehended within the particular expression where the circumstances require that they should.

10. The first case cited by the appellant is Jagannatha Naidu v. Secry. of State for India in Council AIR 1922 Mad 334. However, in that case, there is no discussion at all on the question and the learned Judges constituting the Division Bench felt satisfied merely by mentioning that the term 'means and includes' in Section 63 of the Evidence Act is exhaustive of secondary evidence of five kinds enumerated therein. The other case to which reference in this connection is made is that of Girdhar Prasad v. Ambika Prasad Thakur : AIR1969Pat218 and there also Section 63 of the Act was held to be exhaustive of all kinds of secondary evidence. However, the facts of that case would reveal that there a draft of an award by the arbitrator signed only by one of the arbitrators was sought to be introduced as secondary evidence of the award. In para 17 of the Report, the learned Judges observed in this connection as under: --

'Here the drafts can be admitted in evidence only if it is shown by the evidence on the record that they were compared with the original and the contents are the same. Such evidence is wanting in this particular case.'

10A. The evidence in that case did not indicate that the final award prepared from the (draft) award was actually reproduction of the draft. For these reasons, the learned Judges did not accept the evidence as secondary evidence of the contents of the draft within the meaning of Section 63 of the Act. I respectfully disagree with this line of reasoning. The learned Judges of the Patna High Court have felt that Section 63 is exhaustive of all kinds of secondary evidence that count be led.

11. The learned counsel also placed reliance on a single Judge decision of the Lucknow Bench of this Court in Deputy Commr. of Pratabgarh v. Universal Film Co. (India) Ltd : AIR1950All696 . In that case, the estate of a director of a company had been taken over by the Court of Wards and under the law it was necessary for the Company to notify its claim to the Deputy Commissioner. The Company relied upon a document purporting to be the office copy of a claim made before the Deputy Commissioner and which appeared to be signed by one Bhairon Prasad. The only evidence led in the case was of two persons who identified the signatures of Bhairon Prasad who was predecessor in office. No evidence, however, was given about the contents of the letter sent to the Deputy Commissioner. It was under these circumstances that it was held that the mere proof of signature of Bhairon Prasad did not amount to proof of the contents of the original. There was nothing to show that Ext. 25 (the office copy in question) was the result of a uniform process, namely, typing with the aid of a carbon paper and there is certainly no evidence to show that it was compared with the original. In order to show that it was an exact copy of the original, it was necessary to prove that either it was prepared by a uniform process or it was compared with the original by some witnesses who can give evidence to that effect.

12. It is this part of the decision on which the maximum reliance has been placed by the learned counsel. However, in this case, the contents of the notice had not been proved at all. On the other hand, in the case in hand, it has come in evidence that from the draft notice 54-Ka, a fair notice was prepared by the counsel and was dispatched to the plaintiff. The instant case is, therefore, clearly distinguishable from the facts of the decision relied upon.

13. For the reasons I have already given earlier, I am of the opinion that the scope of Section 63 is not restricted to its five clauses but leaves enough scope for those cases which do not strictly fall within any of those enumerated therein. The term 'includes' leaves some scope for a case like the present one. The Court must, however, be satisfied that the document sought to be introduced as secondary evidence is a faithful and accurate reproduction or draft of the final document whose copy it purports to be.

14. The two Courts below have considered this aspect of the matter and have come to the conclusion that it was a true and faithful reproduction of the final notice sent and for this the Court below has also taken aid from the reply admittedly sent by the defendant in response to the plaintiff's notice. In my opinion, therefore, the document 54-Ka was rightly taken as secondary evidence of the contents of the notice and cannot be rejected on the technical ground that Section 63 will bar its admission.

15. The matter may be considered from another angle also. The fact that a notice was sent is admitted and it was also replied to by the appellant. Only the validity of the notice was challenged. In such circumstances, it was for the defendant to produce the original to show what kind of invalidity the notice suffers from. I am supported in my view by a decision of a learned single Judge of this Court in Mast Ram Ram Charan v. Deputy Commr. Bahraich : AIR1968All321 . In that case a notice under Section 80, C.P.C. was admitted to have been received by the administration but its validity was challenged. It was in that connection that the learned Judge has observed as under: --

'Original notice was with defendant and it was for him to produce it before the Court. What were the contents of the notice could not be proved by oral evidence in view of Section 92 of the Evidence Act. The onus being on the defendant No. 1 to prove that the notice was defective..........'.

16. In view of what I have said above, I cannot agree with the submissions so vehemently made by the appellant. In my opinion, the notice was properly proved. No other point was pressed. The cross objection also has no force and must fail.

17. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed. However in view of only legal points being involved in the appeal, I think it proper that parties should be left to bear their own costs of this appeal. The cross objection is also dismissed with costs easy.


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