1. During the proceedings started on a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights filed by Gurcharan Singh against his wife Shrimati Surjit Kaur, an application was made by the wife that a certain letter written by the husband on 11th March, 1971, to her father, be allowed to be produced as additional evidence, as it was material for the just decision of the case.
2. This application was contested by the husband and he claimed privilege on the ground that it had been written during the period when talks of a compromise were going on and, therefore, it should not be brought on the record.
3. The contention of the counsel for the husband prevailed with the learned Judge, who held that the said letter was a privileged document and no evidence could be led to prove the same. The application of the wife was, thus, rejected, and against that order, she has come here in revision.
4. It is common ground that this letter was written on 11th March, 1971, the Learned Judge has found that the parties were trying to effect a compromise during the period 27th February to 20th March, 1971. Since the records of the case had not been sent for, I asked the learned Counsel to read that letter to me. Therein, the husband seems to have confessed that he was guilty for cruelty and was seeking apology from his wife's father. Undoubtedly, if the said letter is produced on the record, it would seriously damage the case of the husband. Reference was made by the Court below to the provisions of Section 23 of the Indian Evidence Act, which read as under:--
'In civil cases no admission is relevant, it is made either upon an express condition that evidence of it is not to be given, or under circumstances from which the court can infer that the parties agreed together that evidence of it should not be given.'
5. A perusal of this section would show that if an admission is made upon an express condition that evidence regarding it would not be given or under circumstances from which the Court could infer that the parties had agreed that the evidence regarding it would not be given, then such an admission would not be relevant. In the present cases, as I have already said, both the parties were trying to effect a compromise and during that interval, the said letter was written by the husband. It may be stated that the husband has frankly admitted that he did write that letter, but he claimed privilege regarding the same on the ground that it was written when the talks of compromise were going on between the parties. It appears from the circumstances of this case that he had written this letter perhaps at the instance of the wife, because she might be ready to go back to the husband, but her father may not be giving her permission to do so, and it is quite possible that he wrote that letter just to prevail upon her father to send her back to him. Equally probable is that the father might have asked the husband to write such a letter, so that he could show it to his daughter and on its basis persuade her to go back after telling her that the husband had admitted his fault and apologised for the same. In any case, this letter, admittedly, was written during the period when the compromise talks were going on. The inference drawn by the learned Judge from all these circumstances was that the letter was written at a time when the parties had agreed that no evidence would be given regarding it. That being so, the case will be covered by the second condition laid down in Section 23, quoted above, and as such, the husband could claim privilege regarding the same. It has been ruled in a Bench decision of the Allahabad High Court in Shibcharan Das v. Firm, Gulabchand Chhotey Lal, AIR 1936 All 157, that where negotiations were being conducted with a view to settlement it should be held that those negotiations were so conducted without prejudice.
6. In view of what I have said above, I would dismiss this petition. As the respondent is not represented before me, there will be no order as to costs.
7. Petition dismissed.