1. The petitioners have challenged the order of the trial court refusing permission to take xerox copies of the documents in the custody of the Court.
2. The petitioners (original plaintiffs) have filed a suit for a declaration that ail the ventures undertaken by the plaintiff and contesting defendants were joint ventures carried on behalf of the joint -members in which all the family members have interest, and such business ventures; properties and assets were more particularly described in the schedule to the plaint and it was contended that the plaintiffs side had 1/3 share therein and a prayer was made for accounts, partition etc. In the suit, by a notice of motion, several interim prayers were made, such as injunction regarding alienation of property, appointment of receiver, appointment of Commissioner to make inventory and to take possession of books of accounts and papers etc. One of the prayers was to take possession of the arbitration agreement and proceedings and documents from the arbitrator's defendants Nos. 9 to 11. Ilea learned Trial Judge granted ex party order appointing a Commissioner to make inventory in respect of the point referred to in Para (d) in the prayer clause of the notice of motion. Accordingly, the Commissioner made the inventory. The Commissioner also took possession of the documents from the arbitrator and brought to the court and the same were ordered to be kept in safe custody. By an application Ex. 43, the petitioner plaintiffs applied for the inspection of documents produced by Commissioner. The request was objected to by the defendants. However, the learned Trial Judge granted inspection by his order dt. Sept. 1, 1961. Similarly, defendants also applied for inspection by Ex. 44 which was also granted. Notice of motion was heard and the arguments were advanced before the trial court. During the course of hearing, certain of these documents were sought to be referred to by the learned Counsel for the petitioners even though they were not referred to in any of the pleadings or affidavit. Same was objected to by the defendants.
3. An application was given by the plaintiffs at Ex. 100 praying that the documents collected by the Commissioner are required to be made part of the record and required to be exhibited in the suit. That application was rejected and the revision application against that order being CRA No. 708/82 is dismissed by me today and I have confirmed the order of the trial court directing the parties to file proper affidavit in respect, of the documents relied on.
4. After the above order below Ex. 100, the petitioners gave another application for inspection of the record collected by the Commissioner and the same was granted. However, when the inspection was being taken, it appears that there was some trouble between the parties and some heat was generated. Thereafter, the petitioners-plaintiffs submitted an application Ex. 104 in continuation of the application Ex. 102 stating that to give complete justice to the parties and to see that controversies and litigations are avoided, the court may permit the plaintiffs to have Xerox copies of all the documents taken possession of by the defendants at their own costs. That application has been rejected by the impugned order on the ground that the record of the arbitration proceedings has yet not become part of the record of the suit and unless it becomes part of the R. & P. of this case, the question of obtaining permission for Xerox copies did not arise.
5. This reason given by the learned Trial Judge is not correct and is too technical. If the inspection of the documents could be granted by the court, there is no reason why the persons who were permitted to take inspection cannot take Xerox copy of the same. The purpose of the inspection is to know and study the documents. The person who takes inspection can also take notes and even make copies of the same. In view of very large number of documents, the petitioners wanted that they might be permitted to take Xerox copies of the same. Their say is ~hat instead of taking inspection and looking at the documents by their own-eyes, they would like to have their view from the camera eye. The request for xerox copies at their own cost is reasonable.
Once the court' has granted inspection, this request is merely to make that inspection more effective. By allowing the plaintiffs to take Xerox copies, the court is neither verifying nor certifying them true, and correct copies. The plaintiffs will be taking copies for their own purpose in order that they can make effective and detailed study and have proper consultation with their lawyers. That would not only serve the cause of the petitioners, but will also enable the Counsel to render proper assistance to the court. Since the court is pot verifying or certifying the correctness of the copies, there is no need of the documents to have become part of the record. Since the documents happen to be in the custody of the court, the parties cannot take Xerox copies of the same without permission of the court. However, that does not mean that the court c and refuse such permission only on the ground that they have not become part of the record. The reason given is fundamentally erroneous and merely technical.
6. If the Xerox copies are not permitted to be taken, the purpose of the inspection will become ineffective and would be frustrated. No harm or prejudice can occur to the other side if the Xerox copies are permitted to be taken. However, only care is required to be taken to see that while the Xerox copies are being taken, an officer of the Court appointed by the trial court remains present and retains the custody of the documents and the representative of the other side is also allowed to remain present so that no allegation is made in future. The cost and remuneration of the court officer appointed for that purpose will have to be borne by the petitioners and the amount will have to be deposited by them as may be quantified by the trial court. The defendants would also be entitled to have the same facility subject to the similar conditions.
7. In the result, the revision application succeeds and the impugned order dt. 26th March 83 below Ex. 104 is reversed and it is directed that the petitioners plaintiffs shall be entitled to take Xerox copies of the documents in question in the presence and under the supervision of Court Officer appointed by the trial Court who will return the custody of the documents and a representative of the other side will be entitled to remain present during the course of taking Xerox copies. The cost and remuneration of the Commissioner shall be borne and deposited by the petitioners as may be fixed by the trial Court. Rule made absolute accordingly with no order as to costs.
8. Rule made absolute.