1. We answer the question referred to us in the affirmative. Section 91 of the Evidence Act lays down : 'When the terms of a contract, or of a grant, or of any other disposition of property have been reduced to the form of a document, and in all cases in which any matter is required by law to be reduced to the form of a document, no evidence shall be given in proof of the terms of such contract, grant, or other disposition of property, or of such matter, except the document itself or secondary evidence of its contents in cases in which secondary evidence is admissible under the provisions hereinbefore contained.'
2. In our opinion the words 'any matter required by law to be, reduced to the form of a document' could not have been intended by the Legislature to apply to mere observations of physical facts which under the ordinary law have to be proved by testimony in court. All the instances in which this section has been applied are cases in which the matter required to be reduced to the form of a document consisted of spoken words or other expressions of the human will. We do not, however, express any positive opinion that the application of the words is to be confined to such cases, but we are quite clear that, as laid down in Jivandas Keshavji v. Framji Nanabhai (1870) 7 B.H.C.R. 48, if the narrative of an extrinsic fact, as in this case, has been committed to writing, it may be proved by parol evidence, and this would be so even though such writing is required by law. We need hardly point out that if the provisions of Section 91 were to apply to the case of a search list prepared under Section 103, Criminal Procedure Code, the results would be startling and there would be grave risks of miscarriage of justice in many trials in criminal cases.