67. Requisitions of Appellate Courts to be sent to Deputy Commissioner. Requisitions by Commissioners for original revenue records will be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, who will take measures to transmit such records to the Court calling for them. Such Court will be responsible for the safe custody of the records, and if in any case a record is found to have been damaged in the Court of the Commissioner or Financial Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner will report the fact to the Court concerned and to the Financial Commissioner within twenty-four hours of its being returned.
68. Production by Special Kanungo, or Patwari. Original Revenue records will be produced in Courts of first instance by the Special Kanungo, or Patwari deputed for the purpose in accordance with the instructions contained in Chapter 9, Volume 1, of the High Court Rules and Orders as amended from time to time.
Briefly, the procedure to be followed in such cases is as under: -
I. The Court in which the suit is pending issues a summons to the Special Kanungo, or Patwari deputed for the purpose who, after preparing his excerpt, goes to the Court on the date fixed, taking with him the revenue records from which the excerpt has been complied. He is then placed in the witness box. Counsel thus has the opportunity of comparing the excerpt with the original, and of examining him on any points he chooses.
II. Parties who desire to summon the Special Kanungo or Patwari concerned as a witness with his records must be required to state succinctly and in writing the point on which information is required, and the application must be sent along with the summons to the Special Kanungo or Patwari concerned. The Court must see that the application is in a readily intelligible form before they issue it, and the practice, where it occurs, of sending for the Special Kanungo or Patwari concerned to tell what is required must be discontinued though Courts may also issue written instructions, or supplement or correct the application.
III. Courts must be on their guard against using the Special Kanungo or Patwari concerned for purposes for which he is not intended. e.g., he is not to be required to give opinion, he is not to be used as a local Commissioner, or to be asked to provide instances in support of or to refute an alleged custom. Courts must also see that, if Special Kanungo or Patwari is required, he is summoned for the first hearing after issues are framed and not, as sometimes happens at present, at the end of the case. They must also never fail to ask him on oath whether the excerpt is in accordance with the revenue records.
IV. The excerpt prepared by the Special Kanungo is not evidence unless proved and cannot be used as such. His cannot be allowed to go to outlying Courts because he cannot take the revenue records with him, and without that there would be no check over his excerpt. It is, however, very desirable that outlying Courts should be able to utilize the Special Kanungo, and as the best practicable methods of securing that object, Presiding Officers of outlying Courts may issue either interrogatories for the Special Kanungo or an open Commission to a senior official at headquarters ordinarily and, unless there is some special reason to the contrary, District Revenue Officer or an officer not below the rank of an Extra Assistant Commissioner. This official, who will have other duties and is described in the instructions as the officer-in-charge, will then comply with the directions given, summon the Special Kanungo, record his statement on oath and make the return to the Court. In this connection attention is drawn to Order XXVI, Rule 18 (1), of the Code of Civil Procedure. The issue of a Commission should not become a source of unnecessary delay, and the officer-in-charge should in the absence of very strong reasons proceed in the absence of parties if they do not appear. Parties should be informed that their appearance at headquarters is optional if interrogatories are issued.
69. Duty of Courts in such matters. In every case it is the duty of the Court to insist: -
(a) on the plaintiff filing with the plaint the statement referred to in paragraph 13 supra;
(b) on each party filing certified copies or extracts of all relevant entries on which it relies.
70. Duties of Appellate Courts in calling for revenue records. Appellate Courts should refrain from calling for original records unless it is absolutely necessary for a determination of the case and if the necessity arises from the neglect of the Court of first instance to comply with the instructions here issued, such Court should be severely dealt with by the Appellate Court in the exercise of the functions of administrative control vested in it.
71. Inconvenience resulting from a neglect of the orders pointed out. Where Revenue Courts neglect to make the parties supply proper copies or extracts of relevant entries, inconvenience is caused (1) to the Revenue authorities in being required to produce original records unnecessarily; and (2) to Appellate Courts from the fact that all evidence necessary for a proper decision of the case is not actually on the records, and that references are made to revenue records which must be called for before the appeal can be decided. The revenue records themselves moreover often sustain injury in being sent from Court to Court, while the work of the Revenue Department may be delayed by their records being retained for long periods by Revenue Courts. At the same time, the Revenue authorities of districts should clearly understand that one of the chief objects of the more important standing records-of-rights is to supply reliable evidence for the decision of land suits by Revenue Courts; that the requirements of such Courts must be complied with; and that such records must be freely available to Courts engaged in investigating and deciding questions affecting land or interests in land.
72. Deputy Commissioners to bring to the notice of the Financial Commissioner the case of any officer who systematically fails to comply with the orders on the subject. The Financial Commissioner will be prepared to take proper notice of the action of any Revenue Court which disregards the directions as to the manner in which original revenue records are to be referred to, and Deputy Commissioners as Collectors, should bring to the notice of the Financial Commissioner through the usual channel, the case of any officer who systematically fails to comply with the orders on the subject.