1. During the course or the trial of O. S.No. 195 of 1950 on the file of the District Munsifof Karur, the plaintiffs attempted to adduce inevidence a certified copy of a registered partitiondeed entered into on 22-5-188C among various individuals. Before this was done, the plaintiffs hadasked defendants 3 and 4 to produce the originalpartition deed but the same had not been complied with. A registration copy was thereforesought to be let in. Defendants 1 and 2 contendedthat since the registration copy was not thirtyyears old it should be proved strictly like theoriginal and the presumption under Section 90 ofthe Indian Evidence Act could not be drawn inthis case.
2. The executants and the attestors of the original partition deed are dead and it was not possible to prove the same by direct oral evidence. The learned District Munsif relied upon a decision in - 'Venkataratnam v. Sitaramayya' : AIR1950Mad634 where a Bench of this Court held that in view of the decision of the Privy Council in -- 'Basant Singh v. Brijraj Saran Singh' , the view expressed in the Full Bench in -- 'Subrahmanya Somayajulu v. Seeth-ayya', AIR 1923 Mad 1 (C) that the presumption under Section 90 of the Evidence Act with regard to documents thirty years old arises in the case of copies as well as originals, and that if a copy is found to be a true copy, a presumption may be of the genuineness of the original itself is no longer good law, and that the party relying onsuch a copy must prove the execution of the original in some way known to law at least by approved circumstantial evidence. The learned District Munsif also extracted a passage from the judgment of the Privy Council and held that where a copy of a document purported to be thirty years old is produced it can be admitted inevidence only if the proof of the execution of the original is shown in some way known to law at least by approved circumstantial evidence. The trial Court had also held that the three unregistered lease deeds which were sought to be admitted were also inadmissible.
3. In revision the question of the admissibilityof the unregistered lease deeds is not seriouslypressed, and therefore it remains to consider onlythe validity of the lower Court's order upholdingthe objection by the defendants that a certifiedcopy of the partition deed is not admissible inevidence.
4. Section 57 of the Indian Registration Act deals, among other things, with the grant of certified copies, and sub-section (5) lays down that all copies given under that section shall be signed and sealed by the registration officer and shall be admissible for the purpose of proving the contents of the original documents. But the law is that a certified copy of what has been copied in the books of registration is admissible to prove the contents of the original document only when a case is made out for introduction of secondary evidence, i.e., by proof of the loss of the original or where a original is withheld by a party in whose possession it is or is presumed to be. In this case the plaintiffs have done all they could by giving notice to defendants 3 and 4 to produce the original which notice has not been complied with. Therefore, the requisite essentials for the adducing of secondary evidence have been properly complied with. When once the case for the introduction of secondary evidence is made out, certified copy got from the Registrar's office can be admitted under Section 57, Sub-section (5) of the Indian Registration Act without other proof than the Registrar's certificate of the correctness of the copy and shall be taken as a true copy.
It seems to me that the plaintiffs have satisfied the Court that the necessary pre-requisites for the introduction of secondary evidence as contemplated under Sections 65 and 66 of the Evidence Act have been made out. When once it is proved that the party is entitled to adduce secondary evidence, then the question arises, 'What is the mode of proof of the certified copy?' As stated already under Section 57(5) of the Indian Registration Act, a certified copy obtained from a Registrar's office shall be admissible for the purpose of proving the contents of the original documents. That means that the mere production of a certified copy without any further oral evidence to support it would be enough to show what the original document contained. That a registration copy is the copy of a public document contemplated under Section 74, Sub-section (2) of the Indian Evidence Act is indisputable and the copy of such a document is a certified copy of a public document under Section 76 of the Indian Evidence Act.
5. The decisions to which my attention has been invited, viz. : AIR1950Mad634 and and other cases deal with registration copies of Wills which are said to be more than thirty years old. But the requirements of proof regarding Wills are somewhat different from those of Partition deeds. The decision in -- 'Sangam Lal v. Gangadin' : AIR1946All389 on which reliance has been placed by the learned counsel for the respondents cannot be applicable to the present case. It Is doubtful, as can be seen from the observations In page 391 of the report in : AIR1946All389 whether the alleged certified copy proved there was really a registration copy. In the case of copies granted under Sub-section (5) of Section 57 of the Indian Registration Act, they can be admitted for the purpose of proving the contents of the original document i.e., in such cases it would be as if the original itself has been produced. The ruling in : AIR1950Mad634 has not considered the effect of Sub-section (5) of Section 57 of the Indian Registration Act, for in the case of registration copies, what is applicable is not Section 80 of the Indian Evidence Act but Sub-section (5) of Section 57 of the Indian Registration Act. I am therefore inclined to hold that the registration copy of the partition deed sought to be let in does not require any further proof and is therefore admissible in evidence. The order of the learned District Munsif rejecting the registration copy of the partition deed alone is set aside and his order rejecting the unregistered lease deeds is confirmed. Each party will bear his or their own costs in this revision petition.