V. Sethuraman, J.
1. This civil revision petition has been filed by the defendants in O.S. No. 2395 of 1972. The petitioners executed a promissory note in favour of the respondents. There is an endorsement in the promissory note on 10th March, 1971, showing payment of Rs. 10. This endorsement is impugned as not genuine and therefore the petitioners wanted the documents to be sent to a handwriting expert. The learned District Munsif relying on the decision in Ramaswamy Konar v. Kamppa Konar 84 L.W. 348 dismissed the application.
2. Subsequently another application was filed for sending the promissory note to Government handwriting expert. This application was also dismissed on 16th February, 1974 on the ground that an earlier application had been dismissed and that the subsequent application was only a ruse to avoid trial. Hence this revision petition.
3. The learned Counsel for the revision-petitioners submitted that the decision relied on by the learned District Munsif would only be applicable if the document is required to be sent to a private expert and if the document is to be examined by the Government handwriting expert, there could be no such bar. He placed before me the relevant decisions.
4. In Narasimhan v. Narayanan Chettiar : (1968)2MLJ48 Ramamurti, J., condemned the practice of sending the original documents in the custody of the Court to handwriting experts as being highly objectionable. It was pointed out by him that under no circumstances should a Court permit or allow the documents to go out of its custody, as such an evil practice is attendant with various risks, and that the proper procedure in such cases would be only to permit the handwriting expert to inspect the documents in the Court prenises itself in the presence of some responsible officer of the Court and also if mecessary to permit the expert to have photographic copies of the documents in the presence of the responsible officer of the Court. Any lapse in taking necessary safeguards in this direction, may, in his view, result in miscarriage of justice, besides creating complications. The learned Judge has also deprecated the practice of making belated and repeated, applications for examination of documents by handwriting experts in order to protract and delay the trial.
5. This judgment was followed by Ramanujam, J. in Ramaswamy Konar v. Karuppa Konar (1971) 84 L.W. 348, where an application was filed to send the promissory note to the fingerprint ex pert at Vellore. The learned Judge held that the proper procedure in such cases would be only to allow the handwriting expert to inspect the documents in the Court premises itself in the presence of some responsible Court official and also, if necessary to permit the expert to have photographic copies of the same.
6. In Nagarathinammal v. K.V. Rangaswamy Chettiar and Ors. (1973) T.N.L.J. C.R.P.2137 of 1972 the same question came up for consideration before Raghavan, J. The learned Judge had to consider the prayer for sending the document to the State Forensic Science Lecturer for opinion. It was held that there was no harm in sending the original document to Government expert for opinion.
7. The question for consideration is whether the document could be parted, with in favour of a finger-print expert, whether a private or a Government one. The decisions of Ramamurti, J., and Ramanujam, J. which have been referred to are clear on the point that it is unsafe to part with the documents in the course of the trial. The learned Judges did not make any distinction between private and Government experts. It is true that Raghavan, J., has permitted the handing over of the documents to Government expert. I do not know the circumstances under which the learned Judge felt it possible to part with the document in favour of the Government expert. The consideration that weighs in not allowing the document to be handled by any other person is only for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the document or prevent its being tempered with. It will have to be considered if there will be no undue risk if the document is parted with in favour of a Government expert. As far as private experts are concerned, the decisions are uniform. As far as Government expert is concerned unless it is not possible for the expert to examine the genuineness or otherwise of the endorsements without taking it from the custody of the Court, it would not be desirable to allow the document to be handled by him outside the Court. I think that in the circumstances it is proper and desirable to have the endorsement I examined by the Government expert, but he will do it in the presence of a Court official in the District Munsif's Court, Salem. If he feels it necessary, he may be permitted to take photographic copies of the document. Subject to the above, the civil revision petition is allowed. There will be no order as to costs.